The United States of America has a “gun problem” – but not the one most people (around the world) seem to think and talk about.
That Americans and the rest of the world seems focused on school shootings and semi-automatic rifles seems particularly odd since there are far more dangerous weapons than guns; that most gun violence is with handguns; and that the greatest threats and harm done in U.S. schools (and society in general) has nothing to do with any kind of firearm. NO gun is even needed if someone wishes to harm (many, quickly, badly).
Far more Americans are also killed and harmed by MANY other causes that ALL gun-related incidents combined. Yet, it is almost ONLY guns that anyone seems to focus on. Calls for regulation and control and confiscation and banning are always and only directed at responsible LAW-ABIDING citizens and companies. NO law will have ANY effect on those who disregard and/or do not comply with laws – which often seems to include those who make laws and those who selectively enforce them.
What is the true purpose of our schools – and the desired role of teachers? What kind of culture and inevitable outcomes are we creating – now and in future – from the choices we make? ARE they likely to be those we DESIRE – or to even more likely result in the OPPOSITE? What roles and responsibilities do students, parents, government, and the society as a whole have?
Arming school teachers and security guards and/or pretending to stop, screen, and search everyone is NOT likely to make ANY place “safer” – for or from anyone.
Has ANYONE considered that arming teachers makes guns available to those seeking to use them to harm others who might not otherwise be able to get them into areas where they are used? Or that that it puts “good guys with guns” at risk of being shot and killed by police (who typically only respond AFTER rather than ever PREVENT potential problems before they become problems)?
Police in the United States shoot, kill, and wound far more people, often unarmed and almost always WITHOUT NEEDING TO, than have ALL of the mass murders in the “media”.
Most police in the United States (at federal, state, county, and municipal levels) have stopped being PEACE officers and problem-solvers and have become heavily-armed Law EnFORCEment officers and revenue collectors – who often seem far less able to NOT shoot people who are NOT a threat than thousands of U.S. Marines and soldiers have for many years proven is possible in far more stressful and dangerous urban combat situations than most police officers will EVER encounter.
MORE than any other aspect of society itself, there NEEDS to be FIRST be a change in the expectations, training, equipping, and Rules of Engagement for POLICE (who TOO often seem to be the MOST fearful members of society – and the MOST likely to use one or more of the many weapons they typically carry. A less violent society is probably NOT possible as long as the POLICE are armed and quick to use force – and our “justice system” is based on revenge, retaliation, and retribution rather than restitution, reparation, restoration, and reconciliation.
Our “legal system” has almost NO role NOR concern for victims, offenders, or “justice”. Crimes are determined by, and considered against, the State – and adversarial prosecution and defense is exclusively by lawyers. Judges and juries far outnumber mediators and arbitrators – and individuals and groups are almost never ALLOWED (any way) to resolve disputes, death, destruction, damage, displacement, disability, or discrimination on their own. The emphasis on payment to and punishment by government almost never helps victims heal, changes offenders’ lives, or makes communities safer for anyone – and often makes them more dangerous.
Harsher sentencing does NOT deter or reduce crime or violence NOR result in greater safety, peace, and harmony! MORE people are locked up behind bars in the United States than anywhere else in the world – including countries with far larger populations and more repressive governments! Incarceration of offenders seldom results in anyone’s responsibility or rehabilitation – just likelihood of recidivism – nor does it usually in any way compensate, benefit, or heal victims, survivors, or society as a whole. So many people work in the “criminal justice system” in the United States that if those 2.3 million were all put together in a city, it would be the fourth largest in the country by population! How many police, lawyers, judges, prison, probation officers, social workers, etc. would feel safe and happy with no crime or social problems living exclusively with each other?
The MAIN societal problem in the United States, and much of the world today, is NOT guns, or drugs, or mental illness, or crime, or sexual harassment, or bullying, or suicide, or (institutional) racism, or illegal immigration, or income inequality, or unemployment, or (increasing and chronic) homelessness, or fake news, or political corruption, or corporate irresponsibility, or any of the many other SYMPTOMS being blamed and focused on. Almost all these and many other problems and issues have at their root the same simple source (seeking solution): More and more people in every part of society do NOT feel nor believe nor are told and shown that who and how they are and what they think and say and do MATTERS; that they are IMPORTANT, and NEEDED, and DESIRED; that they BELONG, AFFECT and have a RESPONSIBILITY both to and from OTHERS – or that they have a DESIRABLE SHARED FUTURE to LOOK FORWARD and CONTRIBUTE TO.
The role of computers, robots, and Artificial Intelligence is increasingly expanding beyond simply automated labor to COMPANIONSHIP. Why? Because growing numbers of humans feel forgotten, excluded, isolated, alone, alienated, unwanted, unloved, unaccepted, unappreciated, unneeded, and unable, uninterested, and/or unwilling to connect with other humans (physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, sexually, etc.).
Society is less about its organization, structure, and services than its RELATIONSHIPS, HOPE, and TRUST. And THAT is what needs to be addressed – along with the values and traditions and institutions that support them.
Feeling like we have the power to make a difference makes us more likely to help others.
That’s MY perspective. What’s YOURS?
Help me help you help others.
What suggestions do YOU have to include, involve, inspire, edify, encourage, and empower others – to make things right or at least better (now and/or in the future)?
Sometimes conflicts can actually create opportunities for us to make the world a better place.
What is YOUR vision, mission, and role – for how to build peace and understanding between people and to live most compatibly together?
© 2018, Oren Pardes. All rights reserved.