When answers continue to elude us, shouldn’t we ask different questions?

Another horrific mass murder at a school.

I hate to put the word “another” in that sentence. When we read a headline that starts with “another” it can lead to apathy and the emotionless comment “oh, it happened again; that is so sad.”

But it did happen again.

And it is so incredibly sad.

But we continue to have the same discussions and arguments following this tragedy as we have following all the others.

How’s that been working for us?

Not so hot.

checkThe last statistic I heard was that 10,000 people a year die from gun violence in the United States. As horrific as the school and theater shootings are, that is only a minute portion of the total.


About 70% of registered gun owners are fine with background checks, and most agree that the laws are already on the books for adequate screening.

checkIn rural America, where the vast majority of registered gun owners live, the relatively few deaths that do occur via guns are most often horrible accidents and not people shooting one another in anger.

checkIn urban America, where arguably the vast majority of NON-registered gun owners live, the lion’s share of violent gun deaths are occurring at catastrophic rates on the streets, with little outrage from the populous.

checkSuburban America has been painted as the breeding ground for those mentally ill responsible for these mass murders occurring in what should be safe public places.

checkA presidential candidate recently described those who commit these mass killings as “crazies.”

checkGun sales have dramatically increased since President Obama took office in anticipation of stricter gun laws; laws which, incidentally, have no realistic prospect of passing .

checkThe United States far outnumbers other nations in the total of gun-related deaths, although I’m not aware of statistics on overall murders via all weapons.

The argument seems to have been whittled down to the rights of gun owners vs. the rights of people to be protected from the mentally ill who may have access to a gun.

A bit simplistic, don’t you think?

check2I don’t believe that all gun owners are going to shoot someone, nor do I believe that simply removing the gun from someone’s hand will always stop them from killing someone. A determined individual will quickly adapt and improvise.

check2I don’t believe that it infringes on 2nd amendment rights to have a more extensive background check when purchasing a gun; but at the same time I don’t believe that regulating legal gun purchases will have much effect on all of the violence committed with illegal guns. Regulation will not make a difference on all of the illegal guns already out there.

check2I don’t believe that people with mental health issues should have access to firearms; but I also do not believe that only the mentally ill are responsible for mass shootings. Just because someone has lost touch with reality doesn’t necessarily make them “crazy”; sin and evil can also have the same effect.

check2I don’t believe that being bullied, or abused, or ignored necessarily results in mental illness; and I speak from personal experience that all mentally ill don’t suffer from emotional problems. It is a bit presumptive to lump people with emotional problems together with those with clinical mental illness. They really are two different things.

This problem isn’t just about guns and the mentally ill, nor is it about finding someone to blame and punish after the fact to somehow “make sense” of a senseless situation.

It may make some people feel like they are doing something, but it will not prevent the next mass shooting.

As with just about every other problem we face, this problem is about one individual who became lost.

There are many ways to become lost: anger, loneliness, apathy, abuse, fear, hopelessness, emotional instability, deprived education, broken families, poor health, and of course mental illness and extreme yearnings toward weapon use and killing.

Blanket legislation won’t make people think and feel and act differently; only one-on-one personal intervention has that potential.

It seems kind of obvious to me, but I think we can agree that rounding up and putting away all the “crazies” won’t stop future killings, nor would banning every sale of guns from this point forward somehow wave a wand and make all of the illegal guns already existing out there disappear.

question markSo, rather than continue to debate issues that may or may not help, why don’t we discuss how we can come together from all sides and help find those who are lost?

question markAnd then ask ourselves: What are we going to DO about it?


question markAsking different questions may just produce different results, don’t you think?



One thought on “When answers continue to elude us, shouldn’t we ask different questions?”

  1. Very timely topic with thoughtful comments and questions. Here is one more question. Would these people, who seem to largely choose “gun free” school zones to unleash their resentment/anger/frustration on totally defenseless innocents, be deterred if they thought at least some of the teachers/staff were closely screened well trained and adept weapons carriers?

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