Category Archives: Fear

Violence is the Problem – Not the Solution

So many times in life we expend our energy solving the wrong problems. Our country has faced too many mass shootings. Each time, the problem has been framed in the context of the Second Amendment. The problem, the debate, has become “Do we have the right to bear arms? Are you trying to diminish my Constitutional rights?” The answer is simple: the right exists. I’m not sure why this particular discussion continues. After all, framing the problem this way has not ended the problem of mass shootings. It is time, then, to consider what solutions would be possible if we reframed the problem.

For example, we could reframe the problem as:

Did the victims have the right to live?  Did the parents have the right to see their children grow to adulthood?  Did the friends and family have the right to enjoy more time with those they lost?  Did the shooter have the right to better access to mental health care?

Consider the implications if we made the problem even broader:

What is the source of the anger that allowed this mass shooting?  Why does the solution of killing others seem appropriate to so many people?  What is producing all of this frustration?  Is the increased use of technology part of the problem? Is it both increasing our isolation as well as our belief that violence is a solution?  What structural changes can we make in society that might ease this anger and frustration?

The questions we ask determine the solutions we generate. Clearly, the questions we have been asking about our Constitutional rights are not producing the solution we ALL want. We ALL want less violence, less death, more personal security.

Perhaps, then, the real questions are:

How can we achieve less violence?  How can we reduce the national murder rate?  How can we achieve greater personal security?

So many more solutions are possible when we reframe the issue in this manner. It is time that we change the frame, expand the possibilities, and resolve to solve this. We cannot continue to allow mass shootings at school, at work, at places of leisure, or at churches. We cannot allow them to continue anywhere.

Another Look at Hate and Fear

I am certain that human nature is based on empathy, love, and compassion. The kind of violence that erupted in Charlottesville this week seems to provide substantial disconfirmation of that assumption. If humans are essentially “built” for love, how can we treat each other with such cruelty?  The answer is simple. We must be taught to hate and fear.  I have written on this before and I hope you will read my post on this topic.

We can choose to allow our natural empathy to flourish. We can choose to teach love and acceptance.