Commentary: The Things That Really Matter


Some things truly don’t matter.

In the wake of another shooting in the United States, we should be prepared to hear a common refrain.

“Guns kill people.”

“People kill people.”

There are arguments for both sides, but the bigger point is simple: It doesn’t make a difference.

The end result isn’t altered.

Someone is dead. Families are crushed. Friends are forlorn.

The world becomes a darker place. Lives are forever changed.

And then we go on to another day, another report of armed violence and the loss of another life.

If there was an easy solution, someone way smarter than myself would have presented it years — decades — ago.

According to 2016 statistics from the Gun Violence Archive, there is a mass shooting in our country — on average — nine days out of 10. The group considers a mass shooting to be one where four, or more, people are injured (excluding the shooter).

Nine days out of 10. That translates into about 27 days per month.

Are we alarmed by this, or do we think, that’s the way of our world now?

Non-accidental shootings seem to fall into one of two categories. They occur for retribution/revenge. Or, they take place by a person in need of something.

Desperate people do desperate things.

As long as the worst possible end result — either dying or getting captured — doesn’t appear as bad as the person’s current situation, the reckless abandon of shooting incidents will not decrease.

Are guns the problem? Can’t the same result be achieved with knives, vehicles or explosives by those who see themselves in a hopeless situation?

Attitudes, both good and bad, are contagious.

Guns are a problem for those who believe they are.

There is a starting point for change.

Look in the mirror.

Don’t be as concerned about another person as you are about the person whose reflection you see.

Who can’t do something different? Better?

Think less about the words that are spoken than the actions that are taken. Let your example be a model and inspiration for others.

The preaching from well-intentioned individuals is not as important as understanding the lives and motives of those who feel swallowed up by helplessness and can’t imagines solutions.

My contention is that there are not inherently bad people. There are good people who do bad things, some more often than others.

Perhaps the constant focus on what was done is misguided. Let’s get to the heart of the matter and examine why it was done.

We can move forward as we recognize that all of mankind has the same basic quest: to survive.

A good first step is to reduce the anger.

How many more tragic events will it take before we realize we have the power in ourselves to orchestrate the change?

Start with the things that matter.


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