Responding to mass shootings!


Once again they are making national headlines. In fact, they are making headlines around the world. It doesn’t take long after a tragedy for politicians, on both sides of the political spectrum, to come out and exploit the situation to promote their political agenda.

It happened only moments after the tragedy in Sandy Hook, only moments after Aurora and San Bernardino, and once again only moments after this most recent tragedy in Orlando.

Can I take a moment here to interject something?

Do we have to start all this so soon after these tragedies? Can we at least take a moment to remember those who’ve been affected? A moment to acknowledge those who were tragically killed and the families they leave behind.

Can we wait 24 hours to start the political posturing?

121216013447-07-newtown-reax-1215-horizontal-galleryI remember being at my office in Vancouver, Canada on December 14th, 2012, that’s a day that honestly I don’t think I will ever forget. I had stopped to get a coffee in the break room when I saw the news of the Sandy Hook shooting on the TV. I remember being overcome with emotion while watching the story on the tragedy that had just occurred, and my heart broke!

Having 2 children of my own at the time, one of whom was around the same age as the kids who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School, I couldn’t keep back my tears. I couldn’t help but think how I would feel if it had been her school, how it would feel to be one of the confused and worried parents standing outside the police line, hoping against hope that their child was not one of the victims.

They were tears of sadness but also tears of anger; anger that something so terrible could happen to the most innocent among us, that such young children had been specifically targeted by a truly disgusting individual.

I wanted nothing more than to be there, to hold the survivors, to hug and comfort those children who survived and the families of those who hadn’t. I wished (unrealistically, like most of us probably did) that I could have been there to stop this from happening, to save those beautiful children.

What angered me the most, though, was how quickly the usual rhetoric started; it was as Robert Higgs so eloquently stated: “… the opportunistic exploitation of a tragedy in the service of a long standing agenda.”

It seemed like only moments after the fact that the gun control advocates came out of the wood work with the knee jerk, detail void, rhetoric of the need for more gun control. Even the response from pro-gun advocates seemed so distasteful to me.

In a time like this… with so much pain being felt across the country and around the world, people needed to come together, to care for those who were affected, to counsel, to help, to support. Instead each side took off on their own crusade and in, what I believe was well intentioned, zeal they turned on each other, tearing each other apart to push an agenda, and in doing so took the attention away from the families and instead focused on what divides us rather than what unites.

I’m not writing this to defend guns, and I’m not writing this to dismiss the magnitude of the damage done by these mass shootings. I am writing because there needs to be a real discussion on what can be done to help prevent these situations.

Robert Higgs, a Senior Fellow in political economy at the Cato Institute, wrote about Orlando:

“Every time some homicidal Muslim lunatic lets loose and kills a bunch of people, the predictable response is, from one side, to ban something (guns) and, from the other side, to bomb something (a Middle Eastern country). Both proposals are merely opportunistic exploitation of a tragedy in the service of a longstanding agenda. Neither holds any real promise of achieving a decent, worthwhile objective, in general, and neither holds any real promise of diminishing the frequency of such wacko-perpetrated mayhem, in particular. Sad to say, each such tragedy becomes, for most Americans, only another day’s hike in the long march toward making the world a worse place than it needs to be.”

See, Gun control legislation would not have stopped Adam Lanza from carrying out his attack that day, at least not the kind we hear our politicians promoting. It wouldn’t have stopped the San Bernardino shooting and likely wouldn’t have changed the actions of the shooter in this recent tragedy in Orlando.

This type of behavior is not exclusive to America either. In Kunming, China close to 30 people were stabbed to death and another 130 injured when several men went on a knife wielding rampage at a train station. There was another knife attack that took place at a school in the village of Chenpeng, around the same time as the Sandy Hook shootings, which sadly took the lives of 23 children.

Why does this happen?

Believe me, I would like to know more than anyone. I don’t want to see another person, especially not another child, harmed by depraved people that seem determined to commit these horrible actions regardless of the access to guns. Does that mean we should dismiss the concept of gun control arbitrarily? I don’t think so; but let’s take the entire conversation out the hands of the politicians, out of the realm of over simplistic “solutions” and rhetoric, and bring it into the hands of those who can study these cases. The hands of those who can look at the facts, and can give logical and rational thought to the issue based on facts and not emotion or political preference. To those who can objectively study the issue and try to find the necessary solutions to such a complex and nuanced topic.

I would want to see a task force made up of experts from various fields: psychologists and mental health experts, sociologists, historians and experts on terrorism, lawyers, religious scholars and police investigators, as well as political scientists. People with expertise who, after all the facts have been studied, can help us to come up with some rational solutions to such a complex problem. Solutions that we can reconcile with the rights given in the Constitution, and with transparency and detail which “We the People” can bring into what sociologist Dr. OS Guinness calls “the civil public square” and have a real discussion and hopefully see real practical change.

Let’s leave the rhetoric where it belongs and start having the kinds of conversations we need to have today, before we see another horrible tragedy like this tear someone’s world apart, I care because that world could be mine!

* Arthur Cleroux is an INFJ and a bit of an idealist, with a logical and rational preference in his approach to politics and political issues. He considers himself slightly right of center when it comes to the political road map. He recognizes that there are nuances in every position and realize that there is no such thing as a perfect world, though we can still strive to make it a reality. He does, however, feel very strongly about the way the world is going these days, and how liberty is being replaced, more often than not, by a mandated party line that must be adhered to. He would like to help put a stop to that and be a part of setting up a world for his children where liberty is the basis of our thought process, and individuality and liberty are cherished rather than ostracized as outdated concepts.

This post was written by Arthur Cleroux.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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Arthur Cleroux

Arthur Cleroux is an individualist who balances his idealism with a desire for an honest, logical and objective approach to politics and political issues. Originally Arthur found that his values aligned well with the political right; however as time went on his desire for transparency and honest discourse of ideas in the political realm led him closer and closer to the center of the political spectrum! He found that on either wing there was a strong and dangerous type of “groupthink”, where people supported unnecessary and even bad policies because of a need to conform to the party line. As an individualist with a strong understanding of the importance of what Ayn Rand called “the smallest minority on earth”, the individual; he finds himself falling very closely in line with the ideals of liberty. Arthur is a lot of things but more important than anything he is a father to two amazing children! Caring for them, making sure they know that they are now and always will be loved is his primary goal, and along with that, comes a desire is to raise them to be free thinkers, to question and study the world and why it is the way it is, and to have character and grit to do what is necessary to succeed!

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