IF YOU ASK ME . . .
We have a national crisis which we seem to be doing nothing about. We’re not even spinning our wheels. We’re sitting here feeling helpless and frustrated. Why is this so? Gun violence in our country with mass shootings in elementary schools, high schools, night clubs, theaters, churches, and outdoor concerts are part of a multifaceted problem that needs multifaceted solutions and needs to be addressed NOW.
Every single time another multiple shooting occurs we have prayers being said, lots of prayers, that’s all well and good, but those prayers aren’t solving this terrible and huge problem. “Too soon,” lawmakers say.
We have cries for gun control, but that doesn’t seem to be a solution our current NRA-beholden congress will even debate since they are pushing to expand guns rights not decrease them. If you believe we need stricter gun laws, as I do, vote for candidates who believe as you.
Some say the cause of this mass violence is mental illness, which is likely accurate, but no one really addresses it with common sense solutions. After all, it amounts to spending money, lots of money pouring into mental health care and passing legislation to make it easier for families to receive help. I heard one television commentator blame the shooter’s family. Premature, in my opinion. How do we know the family history and what they have done to try to address this young man’s problems. I don’t think we as a society do an adequate job with helping families of troubled children get the help they need.
It’s social media’s fault some say, close down those gun/bomb Youtube websites. The Internet is one of the best and worst things that’s happened to communication and the gathering and dissemination of information. And it’s one element to the problem. But the folks who seek out these sites are not going to notify law enforcement if they suspect someone is going to become a mass shooter. Law enforcement tries to monitor social media sights, but the problem is immense. Yes, we all need to be aware and report if we see or hear anything untoward.
Some say it’s being bullied that pushes young men into taking an assault rifle into a crowd of his peers, of little children, and spraying bullets. Maybe so. But it’s more than that. Educators have been implementing anti-bullying campaigns in the schools for years. Is it working? Think about what our children are witnessing? Learning from us? Entertainment via video games, television, films are embroiled in violent scenes. Our country is massively polarized and it isn’t going to get better anytime soon. In my lifetime, I’ve never witnessed right here in the United States more disrespect and hatred for people of a different ethnicity, race, religion, and political party. In the last several years, the only time I felt the nation united was immediately after 9/11. A huge national tragedy brought us together in grief . . . temporarily. If we don’t find a way to come together, we are going to destroy our own nation from within.
But the first step is to have a real conversations on the local, state, and national levels. Contact your state and federal representatives in congress. Demand they DO SOMETHING!
Observing human behavior is not only essential for a writer, it’s also absolutely fascinating. Humans are many things including territorial. The first thing I noticed about my aerobics class for seniors was that people have their “spots.” If you, as a newbie, try to stand in their spot, you will be notified in one way or another you have committed an egregious act. For example, the offended person may come and stand right next to you. There’s no way you can exercise that closely, or you’d be smacking each other, so you’d best move. I go into the gym early to get a “spot” in the fourth row where I have a clear view of the instructor because I like to move in the right direction and use the correct arms and legs. Not all folks can copy the instructor’s movements, (or care if they are moving opposite the rest of the folks in the room), and if they are standing up front, it can be sorta distracting especially if they block my view of the instructor. One day, quite at the last minute, two women I didn’t recognize tried to fit into one space to my left. One turned to me and demanded I move over. No please. No smile. Now I understand their desire to stand next to each other, but really?
Humans are diverse in their views of appropriateness. The locker room is a place where some women meet and chat before or after classes. Friendly women, pleasant women. There is one old plump woman who has a different view of modesty than I do being raised in a Catholic family where modesty was a virtue. She bends and stretches in the nude. I can’t watch even a millisecond of it. One day she was standing completely nude chatting with two or three others who were either dressed or in the processing of getting dressed. I couldn’t help but wonder if any of them wanted to tell her to get dressed for godsake. Maybe the nude old lady will have to end up in one of my novels.
MY WISHLIST FOR THE NEXT PRESIDENT
Since potential presidential candidates are already building their coffers and assembling their team of vermin to plot how to destroy potential opponents, it’s time to think about what qualifications and characteristics we want and need in our next POTUS. Here’s my wishlist.
- Knowledge of the constitution of the United States. (Could there be a test candidates volunteer to take to prove they know what they’re doing?)
- Knowledge of the American and world history. (Another test.)
- Knowledge of the government: how laws are made and congress works. (Test!)
- Works to unify the country and encourages congress to cooperate to pass bills for the good of the people. I know. I know. Big controversy on what that is with Democrats and Republicans, but I’m thinking middle ground and compromise like it’s supposed to work, so congress can get something done. (Play nicely and work together people!)
- Keeps abreast of current world/country events.
- Listens to others’ points of view, especially advisors who may know more than the pres. (Think intelligence agencies and scientists)
- Conducts his/her adult life with decorum and sense of morality.
- Knows the difference between fact and opinion.
- Has diplomatic skills (Doesn’t feel a need to insult opponents and leaders of other nations, or anyone who has a contrary view or opinion.)
- Understands every single solitary word he/she utters (or writes) is going to be scrutinized by the entire world and cares how those words and actions affects the United States of America.
- Views allies as allies and treats them with respect.
- Strong understanding of ethics with a track record of ethical behavior.
- Respectful, thoughtful, introspective.
- Views and treats all law-abiding Americans with respect and dignity no matter what their race, religion, economic status, or political affiliations. (Knows Nazis, neo-nazis and white supremacists are bad.)
- Understands a free press is VITAL to a democratic society.
- Has a thick skin and a sense of humor.
- Brave, but rational. (Think nuclear codes) Perhaps this one should be bumped up to the top of the list, although these qualifications are not necessarily in order of importance.)
We can learn from our mistakes, right? Well, one can hope.