Since voters in our state will likely face a barrage of advertising around gun issues on the next voting cycle, with opposing initiatives 591 and 594, I hope we can begin a different dialogue regarding gun violence in our society. I would encourage gun-rights advocates to think beyond merely protecting Second Amendment rights and gun-control advocates to think beyond the belief that lawmaking will solve the problem.
Some address to the problem seems to be happening with mental health care as it gains equity with physical health care, though much remains to overcome its lag. However, there is a deeper moral component that is difficult to address. In our advanced, free society we have become increasingly uncivil. Our political arena nurtures hostility, animosity and deadlock. Sane people easily connect with like-minded others and organize legal and illegal ways to undermine, disrupt, and confuse public issues. Some of these organizations use rhetoric of violence and anarchy. Others use big money and malice. Trash-talk is made into entertainment or passes itself off as honest journalism.
Add the commonness of abuse in our homes to these simmering realities and therein is the problem. Here are my questions: How can we harness the plentiful goodwill of the many and actually face the violence in and among us? Can we value those who differ with us and work together to solve our huge problems? Can we rid ourselves of fear or apathy to do so? What more gun tragedies do we need to stoke our courage and sense of right? Can we talk instead of quarrel? So when the advertising barrage starts, make it a point to come out from behind your non-negotiable bunkers and have a talk over coffee with a neighbor who differs with you. It might start a big solution to something that is a problem for us all.