We Need a Massive Change to Stop the Shootings.
It’s happened again and again there is outrage.
An 18-year-old son, student, and friend is shot and killed in the classroom just days before his high school graduation.
This outrage temporarily reignites the gun control issue, but nothing changes. There is the usual barrage of anti-gun sentiment and then it goes away. Until the next time. And it seems there always is.
It’s easier to buy a gun in some states than it is to buy marijuana, but the government has figured out a system to protect its money.
You can get away with murder, but money talks. Just ask the National Rifle Association (NRA.)
Mass shootings have become common occurrences. It’s like waiting for the sun to rise or set. All you have to do is wait and give it time.
Hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since Columbine.
We praise the heroes, mourn the dead, and punish the guilty, but a solution to gun violence is as illusive as ever.
It has become a human rights issues and is the number one cause of premature death in the United States.
It is a public health problem.
AND it is preventable.
Step #1 Control the Guns, Decrease the Shootings
Controlling guns will decrease gun violence.
The gun industry should be held accountable and ensure oversight over the marketing and sales of guns and ammunition. They should consult responsible gun dealers and owners for solutions; insist on training and licensing for gun owners and require safe and secure gun storage.
Should is the operative word here. They are not being held accountable. Our politicians see to this by pandering to the desires of gun lobbyists such as the NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Safari Club International. Yes, I already said this, but they contribute a lot of money.
Five percent of gun dealers sell 90% of guns used in crimes. According to data collected by the FBI, firearms are the weapons of choice in 68% of the murders committed.
Availability and weak gun laws help maintain a steady flow of firearms.
We put legislators in power, and we need to let them know they’re where they are because of us. The trouble is, it’ going to take time. And with the frequency of mass shootings, we don’t have it.
There will always be guns. It’s a matter of who is allowed to have one and who isn’t.
Before we get the powers to be to get their shit together, let’s try a different approach.
Step #2 Power in Numbers
First, let’s get together.
The massive change I’m talking about is all of us putting our differences aside to work for a common cause: the safety of our children. There is nothing quite as precious.
We have the brains. We have the tools. And we are united in this cause.
As long as we remain divided, they have us beat. I mean our so called leaders, lobbyists, gun dealers and their customers.
Let’s talk about the things that are most important to us. The things we can agree upon and change now. We can agree that gun control is one strong point we have in common. And we can agree that we have the power to create positive change.
There’s also power in positivity and working together. It’s called community.
We know that guns don’t shoot by themselves and maybe that’s where we can make some progress until stronger gun laws are enacted.
Step #3 Power in Community
Let’s make a strategy.
Perpetrators are desperate for revenge and the desperate always find a way. So, let’s address the demand, the human element here.
What do we need to do stop the desire and the need for guns?
What do we need to do so that violence is not the normal response?
Enter The Prevention Institute and community based grass roots tools to get us going.
Community Safety Plans
The Cure Violence model and The Peacemaker Fellowship Model™, the core of the Advance Peace program, are two examples of programs that address the health and well being of those affected by gun violence.
Follow the links and see if this is something you can implement in your community.
Trauma, Connection, and Services
Provide support and services to those who are disconnected and education for mental illness to reduce the stigma associated with it.
Recognize violence as a health issue and address it as such.
Heal community trauma through strategies that rebuild social relationships and networks in a community.
Healthy Norms about Masculinity
Explore the connection between gun violence and harmful norms related to men and gun violence. The majority of mass shooters over decades have been men.
Explore link between anger and gun violence through a public health approach to understanding who is at greater risk for committing violence.
And last but not least:
Gun Violence Research
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), the nation’s public health agency, is restricted from conducting research that will support solution to gun violence and reduction of it.
Why? It’s called the Dickey Amendment. Click on the link and knock yourself out. Hint, hint, Congress is involved.
Over an 11 day span, there were three mass shootings and four deaths.
- April 27th: Chabad of Poway Temple, a synagogue outside San Diego. Victim: Lori Gilbert-Kaye.
- April 30th: University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Victims: Riley Howell and Ellis “Reed” Parker.
- May 7th: Highlands Ranch STEM School. Victim: Kendrick Castillo.
Before it happens, talk to your friends, neighbors and community leaders to see if you can implement any of the strategies above. It begins with you.
It’s all about supply and demand, so let’s make the demand for guns go away.
The alternative will be more shootings.
Maybe someone you know.