It is so easy to feel helpless. My heart is broken over the senseless massacres of the last couple weeks. There’s no need to rehash all the details. Our government doesn’t seem to have the capacity to fix this. The fixation on that route is not prompting results, and yet we still keep focusing on that solution. That’s the definition of insanity. Congress has two jobs – to make laws and allocate money. Unfortunately they have a bigger concern to stay in office so they are more focused on that than anything. And in case you haven’t read the news in the last decade, many of them are idiots. I wouldn’t trust most of them in my house. Why would I trust them to solve a complex issue like gun violence?
One of my favorite podcasts is On the Media. I’m an aspiring journalist who is forever interested in journalism and how it works. On the Media covers the media’s coverage on current issues. For all of you that hate the media, you really should take a listen. You might discover there are constructive criticisms of the media that improve it and some of the more common criticisms are just not true. Just like our beliefs on how to fix gun violence, you might find there are other ways to look at a problem.
This week On the Media discussed the media’s coverage of mass shootings. Mass shootings are 1% of the deaths caused by firearms. 99% of the deaths by firearms are suicides and homicides. A much more productive strategy to solve gun violence would be to focus on the 99%. It opened my eyes to a different way of thinking about this problem and the insanity of our current fixation on politicians. This morning after watching numerous comedians rant and rave about the witless Ted Cruz and his inability to act like a grown man, I googled the question “Is anybody really studying gun violence?” I don’t think politicians will ever solve this problem, and I’m a firm believer in looking to other solutions when something is not working.
Did you know the CDC studies deaths by gun violence or violence in general? To state the obvious, it is a public health issue. Their website has a whole section of resources for communities that could lower the volume on the root causes of violence. They have videos and infographics which help people understand suicide and the causes of homicide. Did you know that suicide is the second largest cause of death among people aged 10-44. Need to know how to help someone who is depressed or showing signs that could lead to suicide. Don’t know what those signs are? Check out the website below.
One of the biggest issues we have in this country that increases a predisposition to violence or despair is Adverse Childhood Experiences. In other words abuse and neglect and exposure to violence leads to more of the same. Feel helpless about that, too? Well there are things that a community can do and there are things we as individuals can do to combat that. The CDC link above has a lot of resources to help.
It is demoralizing to feel helpless to this problem and and a host of other seemingly unresolvable problems. Health care is horrible and unaffordable in most cases. I pray that I don’t get cancer or another dreaded disease that will wipe me out financially in my old age. Women and minorities are unprotected and getting more and more vulnerable. Our patriarchal society has not worked for most people and has put many of us in danger in workplaces, churches, homes and communities. It is evident that the Baptist and Catholic Churches of my youth were systematically protecting predators on women and youth. I’ve experienced it myself and just had to keep quiet because speaking up was much more dangerous. Childhood abuse is so prevalent that people are primed to think it is normal family life. These early experiences lead to despair, anxiety, depression, rage and other developmental issues. Meanwhile the climate is going to burn us all to death.
I wish somebody had answers to the mass shooting issue, but the solution appears complex. And it is unique to our country. Maybe solving the helplessness problem would help prevent suicide and homicide – an even greater threat to our society. Maybe feeling hopeful in any small way and connecting with someone we can help would help reduce rage and anger at others. Perhaps getting help for our own issues would inch us toward greater compassion for others in our society. I don’t pretend to have the answer. But I do feel a little more hopeful today knowing that the CDC has resources that might help me and my community inch closer to a solution. I learned a long time ago that you can’t depend on undependable people. Ted Cruz is an undependable person and he’s not the answer. Let’s move on.