Today’s post is a little different from my usual posts. I woke up planning to write another product review, but it seems insignificant. Today, I’m exercising my right to write whatever I want. I don’t veer off-topic often, but I’m doing it today. It just feels…necessary.
I’m sick and tired of waking up every day only to hear than another person has been killed by one of their fellow humans. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m scared. And I want us to be better. There are three main reasons why I believe this has been happening, and I’m going to run through my beliefs on each.
In the past week I’ve heard about a father accidentally killing his own son at a gun range in Florida, two people killed by police officers (one in Louisiana and one in Minnesota) during incidents which have sparked national outrage, and snipers killing or wounding a dozen police officers in Texas. Not in the past year. Not in the past month. In the past week.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I believe in this country. I believe in our Constitution. I believe in the Second Amendment. But I also believe that the Second Amendment protects gun ownership for the purpose of a state militia, not for sport, not for self or home defense, not for hunting, and not even for the police. Of course, the Second Amendment doesn’t ban any of those either, but I believe there has to be some balance. The Second Amendment was designed to protect against a military-led coup or takeover, a tyrannical government, or some form of re-colonization. That was in 1787. There were no AR-15s, no M1 Abrams tanks, no Air Force, no nuclear weapons. What are you really going to do when an army rolls into your neighborhood? We all have delusions of grandeur of spray painting “Wolverines!” on the side of a building while leading a revolt, but it’s not going to happen.
Perhaps the weapons police carry should be limited too. Perhaps only specific, specially trained teams should be armed with guns. I think it would be a good idea to require police officers to use their pepper spray first, then their taser, and THEN their gun. Have you ever been in a room where someone’s pepper spray key chain was accidentally used? I have. It’s debilitating. Look, I get that police officers are risking their lives every day. Every new encounter with must be initially terrifying, not knowing what you’re walking into. But maybe there are better options than a fully armed populace.
When I say drugs, I don’t just mean black tar heroin. The internet can be a drug. Video games can be a drug. Food can be a drug. Pornography can be a drug. The key is how it’s being used. Anything used to hide feelings, to isolate, to avoid interaction with your fellow human beings can be a drug. We’ve lost the necessity to communicate. Sure, we still interact, but we don’t have to if we don’t want to. I can shop online, order food online, chat online, date online. And we’ve certainly lost it on a meaningful level. When was the last time you opened up to one of your friends about something that really scared you? When was the last time you were completely vulnerable with someone? By vulnerable, I mean sharing something with someone, opening up yourself to criticism and ridicule, and trusting that person to accept and support you. The next time you want to hide you fear, shame, anger, grief, etc., open up about it instead. Have a deep, meaningful interaction.
I’ve personally struggled with depression and addiction at points in my life. Over the past three and a half years, I’ve made a concerted effort to address my problems through therapy and medication, with the goal that I will eventually not need either. Possibly more importantly, I’ve relied on meditation and exercise to bring balance to my life. Somedays are really hard. But over the course of the past several years, my life and my emotional outlook has vastly improved. Therapy and medication can be expensive. Who’s going to pay for it for everyone? The government? Probably not. But running is free. Meditation is free (you don’t NEED an app). Pushups, planks and squats are free. Journaling is free. Twelve-step groups are free. The mental health issue is not restricted to those severely troubled individuals. It’s about all of us, being happy with who we are, accepting life on life’s terms, controlling what we can, accepting what we can’t, and knowing the difference.
This post is very important to me. If this article moved you, inspired you, angered you, disturbed you, share it and comment. Let’s talk about some of the elephants in the rooms.