(Promoted from the comments on our post about gun laws and angry people. DJ discusses the growing and nasty divides in this country which threaten our unity, compounded and made worse by the already unhinged becoming violent. Is societal rage becoming the norm?)
That societal rage is exactly the issue. Outlawing fertilizer (yeah, you can’t buy potassium nitrate at the feed store in town anymore) didn’t stop bombings. The gun restrictions proposed won’t stop mass shootings, much less murders as a whole. Only 4% of gun crimes are committed with rifles of any variety, and a smaller subset (sources differ) are committed with assault weapons. So we already know going in that banning assault weapons will have a miniscule impact. Will it stop mass shootings? Hardly. Anyone remember Virginia Tech? A backpack full of America’s favorite weapon (9 mm handgun) will do the job.
Bob is spot-on – it’s the rage. Drive the freeway in LA and you’ll find it’s not limited to lone gunmen – they are just the ones who boil over.
Why are we enraged? How about this: of all the industrialized countries, we are the one with the most promise and the least delivered. Dismal health care, plummeting education, inadequate retirement, and all this despite a combined tax burden that can exceed 60%. Our dollar s being inflated away by the folks in Washington. Our jobs are going overseas. We’re not trained to start our own businesses. And we can’t vote for change, because both parties like things the way they are.
But it’s not just that. Our electronic society has driven us away from each other, not closer together. We spend more time online than with real people. And we’re fed a steady diet of divisive speech by the media. “They” are the problem. Left or right, take your pick. It’s the gun nuts. It’s the gun control nuts. And we, as individuals, are nurtured not in democracy, but in blame.
There is a solution, but the federal government can’t enact it, because it is part of the poisoned system that made it this way. Change comes only at the community level, one person talking to another, building bridges, and replacing blame with participation. That’s a tough road, but it can be done – I’ve seen it in one of the most divided countries in the world. If they can do it in Sri Lanka, we can do it here. (But then, Sri Lanka has national health care, too, and we still can’t pull that one off.)