Someone, at some point way back in my school days, introduced me to the concept of sober second thought. You could probably imagine a lot of different meanings for that term, with at least a few relating to alcohol-induced evenings, but it actually has a much bigger in meaning. It’s a great guiding principle.
That said, I do have to admit that its origin is tied to Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. McDonald, who was known to imbibe rather regularly in the drink. But instead of describing the morning after a bender, it was used as the reasoning behind creating a second body of government (the Canadian senate) that would examine legislation and make it a little less likely that the truly silly ideas would end up as law. Well, we all know that the process clearly isn’t perfect, as evidenced by the reality that politicians invested valuable time to create a law making it illegal to drag a dead horse down the streets of Toronto on Sunday. Why it was necessary to point out something so seemingly obvious is beyond me. That’s not one of the finest moments for the great minds in government.
These days, now that we are immersed in a digital world and staring at our phones pretty much 24/7, the idea of sober second thought has never been more relevant. To be blunt, your first reaction to most things is probably the last thing you should post online, but a lot of people neglect to remember that rule. I’m all for making this guideline a must-read in every parenting manual. Letting our kids run wild online is going to haunt a lot of young folks in the coming years.
SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO PARK POLITICAL CORRECTNESS
So, in this spirit, I try to govern what I write in this forum. It is, after all, a public place and may be read by anyone who wanders in. It’s remarkably easy to misstep online, either by not considering the power of words or by forgetting that words are not three-dimensional, so the true feelings and spirit behind them are not always so clear. But today is one day where I’m going to park this political correctness on the shelf. There are rare times when it’s just not worth the caution.
The headlines are filled yet again with another mass shooting in America. Even sadder, is the reality that there were actually two mass shootings on the same day, with the second barely getting a mention in light of the first. There have now been more than 350 mass shootings (meaning four or more people) in the U.S. this year. That’s more than one a day. It’s so many that people truly are becoming numb to it and barely reacting anymore. And that may be the saddest sentence I’ve written in all my years of producing words.
So in the spirit of ignoring political correctness, let me state a few things that I believe a lot of reasonable people believe. Mainstream Americans are not okay with a proliferation of guns. In fact, the dialogue is being driven by a small group of money-driven lunatics who do not speak for the majority, or even close to it. Democracy is supposed to mean the majority get to rule. It’s not a perfect system. Hell, look at some of the people being elected. But it is the best system we’ve got for now. And if you put the issue to a democratic vote, I firmly believe the majority would stand up and support more gun control. The lunatics don’t have to run the asylum.
To all those spouting off about needing guns because the government is coming for you, no, they’re not. Unless you’ve already shot someone. In which case, you deserve it.
The mysterious bad guys that the fear-mongers keep talking about are not invading your home anytime soon. There’s not a single statistic that supports a rampant need for guns for protection. In fact, when you look at the reality of gun death, far more people die from suicide than homicide, and among the remaining people killed by guns there are far too many cases of family violence and innocent kids stumbling on guns that their moron parents neglected to secure. That’s the reality of guns in America.
You want to boil it down to its most black and white terms? How about the analogy passing around recently? If one kid throws a rock on the playground, the answer isn’t to give every kid a rock, because surely the good kids will win. That’s about as logical as fighting obesity by handing out Big Mac coupons.
The gun epidemic (and that is an accurate word) in America is not a lost cause. In recent decades, England and Australia have both faced severe cultural issues as guns began to proliferate. They legislated. They eliminated the majority of guns. And the result was dramatic drops in gun deaths and suicides. That’s the reality. Everything else is rhetoric.
I can appreciate that the cornerstone of a good debate is hearing the opposing side’s position and considering the facts to make the best decision, but at this point, I could care less what gun supporters have to offer. I’ve watched the reality of their argument play out in blood on the news. They have nothing left to offer to support their point. And they need to go away. That’s about as sober a second thought as I can muster.
INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: While I usually like to sprinkle in some random musings at the end, I’m going to shift gears instead and spread a little positive. This constant onslaught of violence deserves a counter-balance. There’s entirely too much hate being spread in a world that can offer so much more, so my little bit of inspiration for today comes from a teenager in Newfoundland. Read the details here, but she responded to online bullying by looking it right in the eye and calling it for what it is. This girl is an inspiration, and her attitude deserves praise for not falling victim to the cowards who use the internet to hide and spread this idiocy. Here’s to parents who raise a lot more great kids like Lynelle…