Seeing the best in life's challenges

Shots Fired

on June 14, 2017


The breaking news this morning was that shots were fired at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, where Republican members of Congress were practicing for tomorrow’s upcoming bipartisan game. The Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, was hit. From what they are reporting, it seems that he will be ok. We don’t yet know the status of the others who were shot.

I happened to be watching the morning news (which I NEVER do) and heard the first mention of the incident. I googled, read some tweets, and listened as the story began to be told.

And it just plain makes me sad.

This is a high profile situation. But it is no different than any other senseless shooting. There are so many questions.

We can focus on the who-what-when.

  • Who is the shooter? (Middle-aged white male, wearing running clothes, dark hair)
  • What kind of weapon? (Rifle, per eye witness reports. Semi-automatic, based on reports of rapid fire. Rand Paul speculated about the type of rifle, but I am not up on my rifle names, so I googled to see if I would recognize the one he mentioned. I had no idea how many types of automatic weapons there are. Wow.)
  • Did he plan this? (Well, obviously. You don’t just go for a jog carrying your semi-automatic rifle and impulsively shoot at people at a morning baseball practice.)
  • How long did it take the Alexandria police to get there? (Chief says three minutes btw.)

There is also the question of WHY?  Why would someone do such a thing?

The question of why can lead us in a couple of directions.

We can ask all of these questions with the intent of figuring out who or what we can blame for this situation, OR we can ask questions with the intent of learning more so that we can figure out what we might do differently to prevent these kinds of tragedies from happening.

There will be plenty of finger-pointing, and I have no interest in participating in that game. What I will say, is that I notice that no real solutions are reached using that approach. It’s a waste of time.

This is not a simple problem. It’s not as easy as simply passing more gun control laws. That may be a valid part of the solution, but we need to dig into the problem if we really want to fix it.

We desperately need to be able to examine, discuss, hash out, consider, and ponder the many aspects of our problems with gun violence (and really all violence) to be able to “solve” these problems. We need to get at the roots, understand the seeds that sprout and grow into the kind of logic and hatred that results in a person who acts in this way.

We need to develop a skill set that allows us to observe the dynamics of violent behavior, with an open mind and with empathy, so that we can clearly see what’s going on.

Unfortunately, this approach is in stark contrast to the culture of much of our leadership and our culture.

If we are going to solve this, we MUST abandon the “us vs. them” mentality.

As I listened to the accounts of those who were on that field, watching their friends get hit or run to cover, I could imagine how terrifying it must have been, how upsetting to see your friend down, bleeding, and attempting to crawl to safety. Just awful.

I am sure that any human being in that situation has those same emotions. So why do we become numb to the stream of violence that occurs in our cities? We don’t really seem to care, or care enough to address the problem when it doesn’t affect “us.” Again, it’s not “us vs. them.” It’s about ALL of humanity.

Too many people embrace the idea that Power, and then More Power, is the way to get what they want. Violence, intimidation, getting revenge, winning a fight, or whatever method needed to “beat the enemy” might get you what you want right now, but that won’t be the end of it.

Is this really the approach we want? Is this how we want to live our lives?

Isn’t it time we stop all the fighting and figure this out?


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