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Stop talking about politics. Stop talking about politicians. Stop blaming one side.
Should Beto have interrupted that conference? Should Abbot go to the NRA conference? Stop. Full stop. All hands on deck. Do all the things. Piece it all together. Act like serious adults—leaders.
We know these politicians cannot solve the problem. Each year it gets worse, nonetheless, when tragedy strikes, we look to these disproven “leaders” who are not able to solve the biggest, most horrific, shameful problem facing this country. And what we know even more is that our media and news sources—by bait clicking us through conflict, political drama, and horror—guide us down the same path over and over and we fall for it.
One side wants gun control. One side yells about the second amendment. We parade around Marco Rubio and parents of prior shootings to what? Get a sound-bite from each side? Again? Full stop. Stop the cycle now. Do not repeat how we talk about a mass shooting one more time. It stops now.
There are too many weapons of mass carnage in this country. We can’t put the canary back in the cage; there are guns everywhere. We’re not going to be able to take every gun out of circulation, and most of us don’t want to do that. Let’s do all of the other things on the table—all of them. And stop talking about whose idea it is, left and right, who’s running for office, political stunts, and charades.
Start with the basic gun regulations—background checks, waiting periods, no more 18-year-olds. An 18-year-old should not buy high-capacity magazines two days after his birthday or 375 rounds of ammunition—we all know that. So let’s do it. Regulate it.
And here’s a news flash/hot take: if it doesn’t work, undo it. We’ve had weapon bans before that had expiration dates; we could do it again. If laws don’t work, our representatives are supposed to go back to the table and try again. We owe it to the future of this country to give it a try. Now.
Doors. Ted Cruz wants to keep the back doors locked. Well, yes. He’s right. We can’t have entries to schools unattended to. My kids’ small elementary school only has one entry that has been accessible for a few years. Do it right now. Fund some act or congressional package and get some expert in there to do that at every school. Now. Have it done when our kids go back in August. This is emergency funding.
More guards. Sure. Let’s go.
Mental health. We all think mental health is a component. Every last one of us. Stop talking about it. Let’s go. Let’s get to work. Right now. Put together a panel or a committee of the best. People have spent decades researching this mounting, growing crisis. Round them up. Have a conference. But lock those people in there until there is a consensus, an agreement. And again, you have until August to have sweeping mental health reform before we send our kids back to school.
Think it can’t be done? Is that too much to ask? Bullsh*t. The rest of us who have jobs and careers wherein we live on deadlines and crises when things have to be done. Figure it out. Do the goddamn work.
Personally, I worry about the gun culture. Let’s stop worshipping the things that are killing elementary school children. Don’t post pictures or videos that are weapon centric. You, yourself, may be a healthy adult sharing that photo with your friends and family. But it’s being looked at by the young men shooting up schools, movie theaters, and churches.
Yes, weapons are your right, your tradition, your family—we know. I’m from small-town Nebraska and I swear to God, I understand. But the more we normalize and celebrate men using weapons, the more mass shootings and active shooters we have. We’ve watched this phenomenon together. As social media has allowed the men I grew up with to share their photos with guns—who I know are good, solid, and safe to embrace this culture and celebrate it—a parallel culture of violence among troubled young men has developed alongside it. It’s not your fault, it’s theirs.
I’m not a sociologist, but culturally, something has happened with young men. Can we not all acknowledge this? And acknowledge it respectfully? I’m begging men to stop glorifying weapons. No more politicians with Christmas cards holding guns in front of their Christmas trees. Ease back. Imagine the parents of one of these children whose bodies were mutilated and unrecognizable after being shot by a similar rifle viewing your Instagram post or political ad. Unhealthy people are watching us celebrate and encourage gun ownership. Let’s cool it with the imagery, together. Respectfully. For our future.
Full exam and scrutiny of gun manufacturers and their marketing tactics. Knock it off. It’s killing children. We see you. We know what you’re doing. And in the end, someone is coming for you. Stop it now. Your day is coming.
It’s not an either-or. Do all the things. Is the risk we do too much? Really? That’s what some politician wants you to believe or the narrative our whacked-out, money-hungry corporate media talking heads want us to believe.
Why is there an either-or? We either pass gun reform or address mental health? Why? We either do it the way of the “left” or the way of the enemy, the “right?” Because our media needs us to believe we cannot compromise and come together. If we do, there is no left or right. There is no conflict to report on. There is no drama and angry sound-bite for them to relish in and bait us.
Screw them and prove them wrong. We can do this. “They” will tell you it cannot be done because we are too far apart, but poll after poll shows otherwise. They cannot survive in their business without keeping us fighting. They are the obstacle. We have common goals that they have a financial incentive to keep us from realizing and acting on. Turn them all off.
Put someone in charge of this movement toward broad sweeping changes by August we all can live with. Not a current politician. They have proven themselves incapable—all of them. That’s why we’re in a situation that is paralyzed by inaction, sound-bites, and absurdity. The entire lot. I pick Matthew McConaughey. What about the Rock? Does everyone still like Tim McGraw? Is there a retired politician we all like (I doubt it)?
Who you all got? We need someone to spearhead and move. Now. And be a spokesperson to communicate progress—not to formulate plans or get lost in the details, but to be a leader or a manager who keeps the people who are experts on task, makes politicians answer to us for their lack of action, and outlines the results of this communal effort to the American people. Seriously, just a face for reform. That’s what we need. Someone who does not fit into our media’s formulated left and right “boxes.”
And you know what we’re all going to have to do? Every single one of us? Compromise. We’re not all going to agree on every measure, every reform. We’re going to get angry. We’re going to think more should be done or less should be done. Because that’s how this country was founded. That’s the principal embodiment of the United States of America and a representative government.
You want to read the second Amendment 17 times? Fine. But read the rest of it too. We elect representatives and our legislative bodies to enact laws to protect and serve the common good and will of the people of this country. That’s the beauty of the American experiment. That’s the central nature of the formation of this country.
So, if you want to scream about the constitution, scream as loud as you want. The constitution was created to form a government to protect and keep its citizens safe while balancing certain rights. And when this country is facing a crisis—and every single one of us knows this crisis is spiraling and getting worse every week—our elected representatives are charged by their oath to that constitution to enact legislation to protect us.
So, let’s go. Do it by August when we send our kids back to school. All of it. Otherwise, the entire lot of them have proven themselves ill-equipped to answer the call of our time, of our generation. If they can’t work to solve it, we, the voters, must find actual leaders who care less about sound-bites and the political winds of the moment and more about the greatest crisis facing our country today.