I digressed for a moment in 2013 for the change in hegemony is a central theme of my musing over the past couple of years. Yet, our nation’s decision to ensure that another world war would not occur does feed our gun violence as a root cause. Back to my gun control soapbox….most of the 300 million guns in this nation were not purchased to protect us from tyranny but as insurance against the alarming level of violence in our country. Yet, with some notable exceptions, fears of gun violence is not the driver of our incredibly high murder rate in America.
The Western World is conducting simultaneous experiments in social engineering to combat violent crime and reduce murder. Europe and Australia are confiscating guns and locking up only those that commit dangerous crimes while America is arming its citizens and locking up anyone who moves criminally. Which way is better if either?
America has more murders but we have always had more in our troubled history. Our gun slinging society also has only about 25% of other violence perpetrated in other countries pursuing the alternative track. Our would-be attackers do shy away from potential gun toting victims, more so than in Europe and Australia, but those that do attack are desperate enough to successfully kill their targets.
I have suggested that attacking root causes should be America’s aim much more than waging a war on guns that will be even less successful than our war on drugs. I mentioned that an overwhelming majority of gun violence is committed by inner city male youth tied to drugs and that root causes correlate to broken homes, physical and sexual abuse, parental involvement and academic failure. Should we now painfully follow this one vein of several root causes deeper into the social deficit mine?
Why are drugs such an emotional salve in our country and why are they such an economic motivator of inner city youth? Why is unemployment of inner city minorities so high? Why are our schools failing everywhere but especially in our cities? Why is there such an ethnic disparity of crime perpetrators and victims? Why are 91% of youth gangs comprised of minorities and why is a similar percentage in America’s prisons? Why do we fatalistically accept the generational transfer of criminal activity? Why do we accept such an income and opportunity disparity between races?
We should openly acknowledge that the past 50 years of social change have still only begun to heal centuries of a hateful economic engine of bondage. We should also agree that issues such as gun control, drug wars, gang violence, failing schools, and social safety nets we are merely sideline symptoms that we debate to avoid the societal cesspools resulting from our neglecting to create equitable change that will allow our nation to heal.
Obama has another four years to quietly go about initiating an infrastructure of equitable change while a disgruntled nation confusingly and begrudgingly accepts his handiwork amidst a nation dislodged by a devastated economy. Yet his God given opportunity can only act as a tediously slow catalyst to effect decades more of change that must occur before our nation’s legal and economic frameworks can finally clean up the poisons lingering from our history.
In the short timeline of our 150 year healing process since the Civil War, our nation’s wounds have scabbed, and the underlaying dermis of our scars have formed, yet violence continues to erupt at the wound causing us to debate how to protect ourselves in the healing process rather than how to speed the healing work at hand. We must not tolerate violent episodes of gun massacres while we heal. But thinking that confiscating guns will slow the violence erupting from our root causes has no historical precedence. And avoiding discussions of how to heal while focusing merely on symptoms has little future benefit.