Let’s be honest with ourselves about mass shootings and homicides by guns.
First of all, we can all agree that the murder of children and teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas is horrible.
In fact, we can all agree that every incident of a mass shooting is a horrific and terrible tragedy.
Regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, no one supports mass shootings or murder at the hands of an armed person.
When it comes to the recent tragedy in Uvalde, the videos and interviews show us the pain, the sorrow, the numbing devastation felt by those who have lost loved ones. The visuals are so powerful we can almost feel them. The families of victims exude a unique anguish that sends horror and sadness through our bodies. We recognize we never want to see this kind of violence and suffering again.
In the moment, it is normal to be angry, disgusted, and outraged by these murders.
And it is normal to demand action.
What action do we take now?
The second point most of us can agree on is that the desire to demand action when there are mass shootings committed leads most people to offer any number of different solutions.
Some people want more “gun control.” Others demand it is time we repeal the Second Amendment. Some want to arm teachers or place more police at our schools. Experts will talk about the impact of social media, violent video games, and mental health. There is talk about waiting periods. And still others will use urban violent crime to suggest that issue is more important because it is more frequent and causes more loss of life annually. The list goes on from there.
So, what is the real answer? What is the next step?
The truth is… we don’t really have one.
No national consensus on what works
There is no great consensus of what we need to do next. Just the same competing ideas we hear over and over.
The end result is paralysis. Passions are inflamed for a period of time, but eventually, there is stalemate and inaction.
In my opinion, what is truly lacking is a non-ideological, non-political analysis of what is taking place in our society, and what, if anything, could minimize these kinds of acts of violence.
We need to take time to ask questions. What is really going on?… What are the underlying problems influencing events?… What are all the solutions?… And which solutions show quantifiable results?… And if we don’t see enough data, what do we need to do to properly measure actions and determine if things are working or not?
The data and anecdotes we see in the political debates are often colored by bias or a perception of bias, which does not help us to reach more of a consensus as a Nation on what we need to do next.
I think this is an area where the Reform Party can be a leader.
We can starting by holding an issue-specific conference or series of conferences that draw in a wider variety of experts from all perspectives, and supporting research that looks across Party lines and ideologies to ask the right questions and get better answers for next steps.
What do you all think?