We ask the question, why does America experience these shootings and violence when other countries do not? What is the cause and what is the right answer?
America ranks at #12 in the world for Gun Violence only led by El Salvador, Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Columbia, Brazil, Bahamas, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago. However, we are the only developed country that experiences this level of Gun Violence.
But can we boil the answer down to one solution?
Our problems with gun violence extend far beyond gun regulations and mental health (although both are needed). Adding more security everywhere we go creates more violence. We simply resort to becoming a police state in the Land of the Free and sadly, the good guy with the gun died on March 22nd, 2021 in Boulder Colorado.
So what are the answers? It has been 22 years since the Columbine Shooting and we are still debating it.
That is because it is a cultural issue and there is not just one solution.
• Gun regulations are going to need to be part of it. It would be great if the 2A folks could step back from their emotions and review it from a more logical place. We are neither anti-gun or pro-gun at YS. Some of our staff own guns. None of us can find a logical reason, (not philosophical, but logical), for citizens to own automatic weapons (used in the broad sense for our 2A folks) or not be registered, or not have background checks. But gun regulations alone won’t fix the issue.
• Mental Health is part of it. There are NO beds for people who need help. There is NO mental health care that is easy to get for those without funding. But mental health care alone wont fix the issue.
• Equity and a Living Wage need to be a serious part of it. In America, our social outlook is to value humans on Net Worth. If you have no net-worth, you have no value. As a community, we come together and value supporting one another, but as a society, we view people through the lens of their checkbook. Wealth Disparity is going to need to be seriously looked at.
Suicide, addiction, depression, and mass shootings are up in America. Humans need to feel value and in a social construct that values human life on net-worth, this is a problem.
• Better corporate regulations certainly need to be a part of it. It is their influence on legislation (and greed) that has set the stage for an inequitable society.
• Finally, we need to get really, really honest about our own Violence as a society. How we, as a nation, treat the homeless, the addicted, the depressed, those who have made mistakes, and our planet is brutal. Our judicial system is Violent, our police are often violent, our treatment of those without homes is violent. Our treatment of POC is violent. Our treatment of our planet is violent. From top-down America is violent.
To make these changes, it means those who are absolute in their views on guns – whether that is for or against – need to be able to talk.
Corporations need to be out of influencing public policy. We need to value human life beyond what is in the bank account and there needs to be normalcy to mental health care.
We need to ask ourselves what are the values of American life and does our society reflect that?
Today, it is quite apparent those values are agitating violence, not decreasing it.
So America, are we ready to talk about a variety of answers, or will we spend another 22 years debating how to solve America’s gun violence problem?
It requires ALL of us to come to the table and be willing to examine our beliefs and values.
‘The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.’
Speaking at the Boulder Vigil