Place a few unemployed Veterans with open- or concealed-carry gun permits at every school in America
The clear-headed view of mass shootings is the same as the logical one for dealing with the wounds of war, poverty, drug use or any other of society’s ills: prevention.
Don’t want long-term combat-related Veterans’ health care issues? Prevent war.
Don’t want mass shootings? Prevent people from being mass murderers.
Don’t want drug abusers? Stop making people who abuse drugs.
Want to end poverty? Stop enabling it.
This isn’t an attempt to be flippant. It’s a thoughtful reminder that, until we can take responsibility for the causes of society’s ills, we will continue to experience them.
When we expect government to fix what’s wrong it doesn’t work because government only deals in “one-size-fits-all” solutions. Look at public education for an example of how well that solution has worked.
When we expect families to fix what’s wrong by raising kids that don’t kill people, become addicted to drugs or feel entitled to a work-free life on welfare we come closer to a solution for a few of America’s social ills, but, sadly, we know that families aren’t doing a great job either.
Until society has a workable solution, we must not be afraid to take individual responsibility for making change. Here are three ideas:
- We can vote, it’s true. And if we elect a government that doesn’t fix anything, we can either vote for a different one or revolt against a system to broken to fix.
- We can be models of individual responsibility for our kids and friends, and show them by example that drug use, mass murder and entitlement aren’t sustainable.
- We can mentor. Befriend another and teach what works, what is sustainable, what it feels like to be responsible for one’s own actions and how those actions impact others.
We only have these societal ills because we permit them. While it feels bad to be so far removed from the government’s decision process, such as whether to wage war or not, but are we not ultimately responsible as citizens for the actions of our warriors and the choices made by our government to engage them in conflict?
Do we allow a one-size-fits-all government approach to education because we refuse to take responsibility for a more effective means of education?
Do we allow poverty because we refuse to personally take care of the indigent?
Do we permit mass shootings because we refuse to personally intervene with the dangerously mentally ill?
I don’t believe we are, as a society, irresponsible to that extent. But I do believe we owe it to society to accept more personal responsibility for its wrongs – the ones government isn’t able to fix – and to take personal action to help prevent them.
Personal action to prevent mass killings, for now, might mean carrying a protective weapon.
Personal action to prevent drug abuse might mean volunteering in a rehab center.
Personal action to prevent poverty might mean mentoring or hiring someone less fortunate with the expectation of transforming that person into a productive contributing member of a team. Science proves again and again that expectation is a powerful motivator and change agent.
It’s been observed – and I believe astutely – that America permits so much war because most Americans are personally detached from the impact of those wars. Sociologists agree that “collective will” is a powerful change instrument; maybe it’s time to employ it for the good of America and the world. Re-instituting two years of mandatory service, either in the military or the Peace Corps, over the course of one or two generations would go a long way toward transforming the American government’s current will to war into a sustained collective effort to wage peace.
Let’s expect better, instead of attempting to prevent worse. Let’s champion personal responsibility and initiative. Let’s put our energy and resources into moving forward rather than arguing about policy and encumbering ourselves with more and more burdensome and misguided government intervention.
We can do this. It’s not too late and the world is watching. Let’s get it right – on our own at the grass roots, which is where sustained change begins – and show the rest of the world an America stronger in peace than it ever was in war, more compassionate and capable than ever before in its history.
Let’s encourage each American to be a solution rather than a slug, to sacrifice for a greater good, to choose wisely for future generations; to accept the awesome responsibility of making choices that are good for all rather than one; to realize that to fully live our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness enables each American to bless all of America and the world.
This article was originally published at LinkedIn. Reprinted with permission from the author.