A few years ago I was working for a company that seemed to have new owners every time you turned around. It also had a lot of serious issues that employees wanted/needed to have addressed. The final management before I left, started a series of brown bag lunches wherein different employees from all levels would be chosen to lunch with the CEO. During these sessions, the CEO would get a chance to meet the employees, learn a little about their personal lives, and what they do for the company. Each employee was allowed to ask 2 questions that the CEO would answer.
Of course many people went to these luncheons with a list of suggestions from their fellow employees on what they needed to ask about concerning their particular department. Everyone was anxious to have their needs represented. Like many large companies, employees are not often afforded many opportunities to have meaningful work related discussions with the CEO.
I was at one of the first luncheons and a whole range of areas of concern were presented, from monumental industry related size situations to simple mundane, every day at the office type of problems. In my session, people complained about the fact that peppermint tea had been removed from the lunch/coffee room offerings and that the hot chocolate brand had been changed.
The next morning there was peppermint tea in every kitchen in every department, our favourite hot chocolate, AND a complimentary plate of morning pastries.
You can imagine what that did to boost morale and how everyone felt they had been listened to and that we were on the right track to having the more major problems addressed.
The CEO wisely addressed the easy visible fixes, worked on a few of the tougher ones that could addressed without too much pain but I am not sure any of the major ones ever got sorted out. I have no idea whether he ever intended on problem solving or simply creating the illusion for everyone that we worked for a company that listened and cared and was prepared to make us feel better.
Gun control is not a panacea for what ails our world.
It is simply an action we can take in response to the senseless deaths of innocent children. It seems logical. It also is a rather simple approach that once again addresses the symptom of a problem and not the real problems.
Gun control would make those of us who feel incredibly angry and helpless right now, feel better. It would be a fairly immediate fix but like the peppermint tea it is not going to solve the real problems. It is not even going to prevent mass murders.
There are so many issues here that would have to be looked at to solve this. I wonder about the young man who did the shooting and the seeming problems with his mental health. I wonder about the support for the parents to deal with his mental health issues. I wonder about how the schools deal with young men like himself? What about the violence he would have been subjected to in video games and movies and music - all things that all too often babysit our kids while parents gasp for air as they try to keep their heads above water with financial and other family concerns.
But this latest tragedy is only one of far too many in recent news.
We have become such an angry society. People are frightened, they are angry, they are not coping with life. They are depressed and facing feelings of hopelessness, about themselves and their futures. Some are taking their own lives, others are looking to the world around them to pay for their pain.
We have been taught that we are entitled and we look at lack of that entitlement with apprehension. We know how to be happy when we have lots of things around us and everything going our way, we have no idea how to be happy in spite of what is happening for us and around us.
We do not value life, we do not value one another. We lack empathy and compassion. We care so much about our own pain we cannot lend one bit of ourselves to consider someone else. Even misery has become a competition in which we must win by exacting a price from those around us and sadly, all too often, that price often includes the forfeiture of life.
You can make it harder for someone to carry out their hate by making guns less accessible but you still have done nothing to erase the hate. It is the hate that has them pull the trigger. In the end, you can make a good case for the lack of mental health in anyone who sees the solution to their pain to be killing . . . regardless of whether it is themselves or others.
We do not live in vacuums wherein what we say and do to others on a daily basis does not impact them. Most of us may well be able to cope with a certain amount of rejection, withholding of love, or even abuse but even we have a limit and sadly we have no idea when we act against each other exactly how close to that limit the other person is.
I don't have easy quick solutions to tragedies. I just know that simply removing the guns is not going to make us care about one another any more than we currently do.