It has been a week since President Trump has taken office. I was hopeful. In some ways I still am, regardless of how horribly turbulent this presidency's take-off has been. I am rather in shock at how the downward spiral has already begun. I am not very political, so for me to even be expressing any concern, especially at this juncture, is a pretty big deal. I want to like the guy. Hell, I loved him as the big bully CEO on The Apprentice. I had hopes that he would be a great president. Those hopes are quickly vanishing. I WANTED Bernie. I would have merely accepted the other two options. And here I am wishing that it was HER that won, instead of him. Dang. What have we done, America? You pulled the Trump Card... and now everyone will likely have to pay the price. Time will tell, of course. Maybe dreams really do come true... but maybe nightmares are all we have left, though.
Over the past 20 years, we have had a number of senseless acts of mass casualty violence spread across our great nation. Columbine, 9/11, Sandy Hook, Aurora, and the list goes on. Today, October 1, 2015, we can add Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon to that list. So far at least 13 are dead, with another 20 injured. My heart goes out to those who were involved, as well as their families, that they find peace and strength to move forward.
Such a senseless and insane occurrence should never happen... but the discussions that usually flow from such a tragedy are important, and we should not take them lightly. In the USA, we have taken great pride in our freedoms, and gun rights have always been a part of those freedoms. However, more and more, those rights which are guaranteed to us by our Constitution and it's amendments are being degraded, attacked, and stripped away from us little by little. Are people right to question the place guns should have in our society? Absolutely. Are people right to jump to conclusions about gun owners and gun ownership without objectively looking at the situation for what it is? Absolutely not.
There will be those in our nation, politicians, media outlets and personalities, regular people, etc... who will use this occasion as they have many others like it, to say that guns are bad; guns are evil. Would they have a point? Absolutely they would. Gus are, seemingly, at the heart of this problem. Or are they? Yes, guns were used. Yes, people died as a result of the occurrence where guns were used. What I want to point out is why weren't guns a part of the solution?
We need to completely erase the idea that people with guns kill people. Often times you hear that "guns don't kill people; people kill people". While that phrase is technically accurate in terms of actions being perpetrated, we also have to understand that the tool being used for such an offense is also a part of the totality of the circumstances; an aspect of the entire problem we face. Normal people look at it and see that it isn't just people killing people.... it is people using guns to kill people. The problem with summarize it that way is it becomes sensationalized and mislabeled for what it REALLY is... It's bad people, or crazy people, or troubled people, etc... with a gun... that unfortunately kill people.
The reality is that the VAST majority of gun owners in the US are not murderers, they are not criminals, they do not own guns so that they can go out and kill people. They own guns so that they can hunt, shoot recreationally, and the biggest reason: to defend themselves and those around them. You would be hard pressed to find a gun owner who has any desire to harm others. It just isn't most people's nature to want to do something like that. To assume otherwise is defamatory and outrageously dishonest towards a large number of law abiding citizens.
That point I wanted to make; about why guns haven't been part of the solution... well, here is the deal. Guns can and should be part of the solution, along with proper training, and placement in the hands of those who can be in a position to quell a threat like the kind seen today in Roseburg, Oregon. You can legislatively outlaw gun ownership, and forcibly roundup as many guns as you can... but it won't stop guns from getting and being in the hands of those who want them, no matter the reason they want them. That means that bad guys will still get guns, and they will still continue to use them in senseless, and violent ways.
Instead of trying (and failing) to take guns out of the equation, we should make the guns and responsible people holding those guns the biggest part of that equation. If we arm school staff, transit staff, medical staff, bankers, etc... with the proper tools and training, we can mitigate the effects of occurrences like this. We can turn a dangerous and deadly moment into a chance for lives to be saved by those who are empowered to intervene. But if we decide to be scared of guns, and outlaw them, we will become nothing more than a nation of victims. I will never be a willing participant in that... and I hope that most of my fellow Americans won't either.
It's late in the day now, and I wish I could have posted this sooner... but I didn't have the composure to type it out. Today, I stopped on the way to work at the 9/11 Memorial Statue in Kennewick, WA to pay my respects and salute the flag. Tears welled up in my eyes as I stood there in remembrance of the lives lost on that terrible day. At this very moment, as I type this up, those tears return to me. All I can think is what a huge and terrible cost hatred is. Life is precious, because we choose for life to be precious. It is when we choose for life to be such an afterthought, that we allow ourselves to hate and then hurt another human, or another creature in malice. What a cowardly way to live. What a cowardly way to die.
Nothing will bring the lives lost due to the events of that day back to us, but we can choose to love and live and move forward, continuing daily to respect life, and holding on to the love that we need to have for one another. I know this is how I choose to continue. I hope that others will choose to do the same. When we can all come together in love and understanding, then we will truly have a world worth living in, a world worth saving, and continuing to care for.
As a member of law enforcement, I swore an oath to defend and protect the innocent. This spineless act of cowardice boils my blood! I will never forget what happened on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. NEVER! I will never forget where I was, what I was doing, or how I heard about it. I will never forget the pain I felt as I watched from over two thousand miles away the horror that was unfolding. I will never forget how terrible I felt that I could do nothing but watch. I will never forget what I promised myself that day... that I needed to be the best person I can be so that I can be an example to others; so that I can be a beacon of light that shines in the dimness... I will NEVER bow to the enemy, I will never bow to tyranny, and I will die fighting the evil that is trying to tear us apart if that is what it takes.
To the families of those who lost loved ones this day 14 years ago, I hope you can find solace somehow. Nothing I can say or do will change what happened, and you will forever have a hole in your hearts, as we all do. I wish you all peace and love.
To the survivors of this horrific attack, I wish you all the best in life. I hope that you can take the life you are lucky and blessed to have and do great things with it. Don't let them win. If you give up and let your life-light dim, they win. They don't deserve that.
To the first responders, my brothers and sisters in uniform... Thank you for being selfless. Thank you for giving of yourselves and asking nothing in return but to bring one more person to safety, every time. You are all heroes, and saviors... Please continue to be the light in darkness, the hope of hopeless. Be safe, be well.
I have decided to make a dedicated return to blogging. I feel the need, now, to share my experiences and views with the world because I am seeing things more clearly than ever before. Some aspects of my life have changed recently. Some things have and are changing for the better, and others, well, they are more regressive than I would like… but they don’t limit me… and I will never allow them to. The world is much too big and grand a place to let things pull you down. To those who let the ills of life anchor you to depths of despair, I say find your heart, and soar to the highest heights with it! That is what I am doing. :)