Guns and Violence

Most of the time I focus this blog on issues related to social capital, community engagement, and inclusion of all people into the community mix.  But sitting in a hotel room tonight, where I am scheduled to speak at a conference tomorrow, and watching the news report on the senseless killings of over 58 people attending a Las Vegas concert has deeply touched me.

It seems that at regular intervals we have these killing sprees in the United States - Columbine, Virginia Tech, Orlando, and Sandy Hook, just to name a few, have cut deep into our psyche.  And when these atrocities unfold, our leaders quickly blame the shooter as being mentally unstable, and stop at that.  Oh, we sometimes give lip service to the role that guns play in violence and to gun control, yet these discussions never really see the light of day.  Perhaps it is because the NRA has a grip on Congress, or because people are quick to bring up the Second Amendment as if any element of gun control will threaten the right to bear arms.

Now I am not a gun control fanatic, but I do feel that we need to have a viable conversation about the totally open, and ubiquitous proliferation of guns in our country.  It is important for us to understand that the violence we witnessed in Las Vegas is but a high point.  We need to recognize that daily, hundreds of violent acts unfold in the United States on the streets and in homes that can only be traced back to the easy access to guns.  Certainly the notion of assault weapons, like the ones used in Las Vegas, have no place in our society.  These weapons are of no use for hunters and sportsman, and are only designed for mass killings found in war.

When will we wake up as a society and begin to act like adults on this serious problem we have in our country.  With sensible discussions and action on this issue we can begin to move forward, as civilized nations should, and we just might save some lives down the road.