Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Maybe The Politicians Should Shut Up

America has become pretty predictable over the years when it comes to tragedy. Someone can't handle things the way they are, they go out and shoot innocent people, and immediately two sides of a perpetual argument stand off in a pointless and unproductive conversation. The victims get brushed to the side while the murderer or murderers are glorified, nothing of substance gets accomplished, wash, rinse, repeat. What gets lost is any kind of mass sense of loss for the victims, and any sense of decency in addressing an issue that is obviously a problem. Maybe it is time for the politicians to shut up and the people to start opening up real dialogue on what is going on out there.

The shell casings are barely counted before some political group uses the latest mass shooting as an excuse to start pushing their agenda again. Inevitably, every shooting is followed by condemnations of the NRA, a call for better gun laws, plenty of finger-pointing, accusations of insensitivity having to do with the color of one's neck, and the word "snowflake." None of it accomplishes anything except to widen the divide in this country and prevent productive discussion on how to stop people from shooting strangers to death. Sorry, but when it comes to the aftermath of a gun episode, your side is wrong. Not only is your side wrong, your side is causing a lot more harm than good.

First and foremost, the mass shooting of innocent people is not a political issue. It is a flaw in our society that is probably unavoidable. The idea that you will have 330 million or so people all living in a country that praises violence without having a few that will want to hurt others is unrealistic. These sick creatures are products of what this country puts out for public consumption. If you are at all confused as to what I mean, just watch a 24-hour news channel or follow a political discussion on social media. This country is pissed off, and usually for the most inane reasons. That kind of environment is going to create crazies. It is unavoidable.

So how do we respond to shooting incidents like this? Do we band together to analyze the information and put together actionable ideas to help prevent the problem in the future? Do we rally around the families of the victims and make sure that the creatures that perpetrate these crimes become mere blips in history? Nope. We start fighting like cats and dogs and put the murderers on pedestals. So I want you to read all of that a couple of times and let it sink in. Is that how you want the "greatest country in the world" to react when a catastrophic event occurs? 

We have gun laws. We have lots of gun laws. Last I checked, it is illegal to shoot someone to death with a gun for no reason. There are laws on what kinds of guns you can buy, how many you can have, and how you can alter your guns. There are laws on how you can carry your guns around, where you can legally shoot your guns, and how you can sell your guns to other people. Not one of those laws stopped the Las Vegas massacre from happening. And you know what? Not a single new gun law is going to change anything either.

Making stricter gun laws is kind of like trying to stop a venomous snake from attacking by constantly writing the phrase "go away' on a piece of paper. You can write all of the words you want, but if you do not take action, then that snake is going to attack. Politicians use gun violence as a chance to go out and make speeches that get lots of media coverage but accomplish nothing. A good politician knows its audience, and that politician will give sound bites and release social media statements that make their constituents stand and cheer. But in the end, nothing gets done. Not one, single, thing.

The estimates on how many guns are floating around the United States range from 300 to 600 million. Do you honestly think any kind of constitutional law is going to have any effect on how everyone uses those guns? The flood has already arrived. Closing the flood gates now would be pointless.

The politicians need to shut up because all they do is give people a reason to cheer and then do nothing. "Let the politicians figure it out." Well, if you look around you and feel like the politicians are able to figure things out to everyone's mutual benefit, then you have a much different idea as to what a functioning society is supposed to look like than I do. 

This is what needs to happen, and it needs to happen soon. Anyone who thinks that, at this point, banning guns or controlling guns in any way is possible needs to put that thought to the side. The guns are out there. You will not take them away from people because people have the right to bear arms. And if you take the guns away now, you will be disarming the population while arming all of the crazies. Guns are here to stay in the United States, and that reality has to be accepted before anything else can be accomplished.

Everyone needs to put their personal agendas to the side and start discussing what to do for the greater good. If we accept that guns are here to stay, then that eliminates a lot of the hot air that rises whenever one of these tragedies happens. The real question we have to ask each other is: How do we defend ourselves from ourselves? Laws won't do it. Arguing won't do it. Debates won't do it. Political speeches won't do it.

Let's hold the news organizations accountable and force them to stop glorifying murderers. How many times do we have to hear that some psycho shot innocent people just because it wanted the attention before we force the media to stop giving these things the attention they want? Censorship, you say? I call it common sense.

I know that some of you will read this and get all up in arms (pardon the pun) about what I am saying because how dare I, right? How dare you. How dare you think that the deaths of innocent people are the perfect excuse to loudly push your own political ideas on others. How dare you think that your opinion is the only one that matters. How dare you put your own needs and beliefs ahead of the greater need of the people. How dare you. 

We invite productive debate on this subject. If you are going to be an inappropriate or pompous political ass on any page that we control, then you will be deleted. The only way we get this under control is to start talking about it in a rational and sensible manner.

Ok America. Start talking.

THAT George N Root III is a Lockport resident and beloved author of lots of stuff. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at

RIP to the victims of the Las Vegas massacre. And it may be a bit off topic, but RIP Tom Petty as well.