Like so many people over the last few days I have watched the reactions to the shootings in America. I say shootings, because there are so many of them. Each of them is tragic, no matter how old or young, it’s a life cut short.
Knee jerk reactions
In countries like Canada we have gun control, and we have fewer accidental deaths and mass shootings. The war cry for gun control goes out as though it is just waiting for the opportunity. To be honest, I don’t like guns. They have no use other than to maim or kill. Yes, they don’t kill people, people do, but they don’t do anything else.
The problem I see with applying gun control as a solution is that guns don’t kill people. This is a complex societal woe that won’t stop simply by taking away the easiest tool.
Society and the killer
The US has a very specific ethic. I’m alright Jack, I don’t really care about you. This means you are on your own unless you can function in the world as defined by the successful. Yes, I know individuals have many different ethic, but the country presents itself this way.
The idea of success is defined by the event. Making money regardless of the costs to people and the environment is successful until the repercussions start. Using the ER as your healthcare works until someone dies in the waiting room. Enforcing democracy on the world is successful until your party loses an election.
No system is perfect. Some are just more cutthroat than others.
The control trifecta
Gun control will make it difficult to act on impulse, but it won’t have any affect on the other two aspects.
Impulse control. People with mental health problems like these killers have no impulse control. The post going around the internet from the Anarchist Soccer Mom talks about her person experiences with her son. She fears that one day he will act on the threats he makes. Her son has a mental illness and she is told to press charges so he can be put in jail. Is that a solution?
Emotional control. Even the most high maintenance person I know has enough emotional control to avoid taking a life. I don’t know anyone with a mental illness – or at least I don’t know anyone with an illness that would make them unmanageable.
Weapon control. I think of this as a better name for gun control. Weapon control can be used on guns, sarin gas, and nuclear bombs. Because some people equate access to weapons with freedom, we will always have access to weapons. It wouldn’t matter so much if we could deal with the lack of the other two control issues.
If we choose to take care of each other, can we imagine a world where people with mental illnesses are helped rather than punished? A world where bullies wouldn’t exist because the bully would be helped as much as the victim. A world where children could go to school without fear of anything more than a pop quiz. I like to think humanity will get there one day, I despair of it happening in my lifetime.
I hope it goes without saying that my heart goes out to all the victims of these tragedies. The relatives of those who died, the relatives of those who killed, and the killers themselves. I hope we never hear of the Anarchist Soccer Mom’s son in headlines like we’ve seen in the last few days.