When a person see’s a child die in another mass shooting, what goes through their head? A liberal says society failed by allowing this to happen. A conservative says society failed by allowing this to happen. However for different reasons. The liberal sees a system breakdown in the government while the conservative inside the individual. The liberal sees the problem in the government requiring a fix, the conservative sees no fix because the problem is inside all people, they trust man a little less and that includes all, the individuals who did it and collective which means the government. That death to them, induces a larger threat and that threat does not stop with the individual, but all individuals in the society, which includes the conglomeration of all people in a country: the government.
In a democracy, the government is the people. The meritocracy of a government means anyone can go and work in the government and so it includes all sorts of people who are our friends and neighbors, including teachers, road workers, soldiers, lawyers, engineers, clerks, judges, scientists and politicians who are elected by the people. This means when someone doesn’t want to pay taxes which goes back to the people for services for the people it means they do not want to contribute to their own society. When individuals choose to pay money into a philanthropy to avoid taxes because they fear giving money to their own government, their own people it means they choose some other sick and poor, in some other country over the people of their own country. When individuals buy guns out of fear of government or fellow man, it means they do not trust and fear their fellow countrymen.
This to me, is the disease of a society. The widely accepted and often acted behavior in our society to resolve conflict with elimination of people, random people, any people with a firearm is a manifestation of the same phenomenon. We do not see one another as part of the whole, as part of each other. We don’t see fellow Americans, tax-payers, citizens. We do not trust the police, or legal system or our own votes when we do not trust the politicians. It means that we do not trust ourselves. Is it a wonder then, that the people that guns harm most are those who own the gun? Because what the gun is, is a distrust in the system that we are a part of, it is fear of fellow man and when we fear fellow man, what we fear is not what is actually there but the project of ourselves onto others. It is our own selves we fear and that is who we buy the gun to protect ourselves. And that is why we turn that gun on ourselves. Because in that moment, before pulling the trigger that one last time, the killer of the self, realizes the problem is not the world, is not the fellow man, it is the self.
Maybe instead of condemning the gun, which they hold dear as the only protection from others and self, and thus see any attack on a gun as an attack on self, maybe instead we ought to reach out to that person. Maybe we ought to show them that they are not to fear themselves or any of us, their fellow man. Maybe we ought to show them that although there are bad people out there, it is worth trusting in us and the system which has been around for 200 years. Maybe this is why they scoff and being a hippy and desire to save the world. They do not believe in love or ability to save this world because for them the world is already gone. They have been the benefactors of a system used for oppression and often been the oppressors, they know what the system can do as they have used it for those means. So maybe this is why it is so important to show the people who fear society that society they have often oppressed is not to be feared, the way Jesus, Buddha, Moses and Martin Luther King Jr. did at one time for the people of their time.
Our society is sick, the gun violence is a symptom of the greater sickness of distrust and fear. Thus the only way out is to heal the sick by restoring their faith in the government, in fellow man, in themselves.