I woke up this morning to the news of the horrible gunman attack in Thousand Oaks, about 40 minutes away from my house (40 minutes is a nothing drive here in Southern California).
If you think this is going to be a post calling for more gun control, think again. If you think it is a post calling for more guns to solve the problem, again, think again. Much as I would love more gun control as an overall risk reduction approach, it won’t solve this problem.
I’m an engineer at heart. Limit weapons is only attacking the symptom of this problem. It won’t stop the attacks, it might just make them a little less deadly. Then again, if they shift to bombs, it makes it worse. No, we need to ask ourselves: Why is this happening? What is causing so many disaffected white men — and don’t kid yourself, attacks like these are predominately by white men (not women, not minorities, not ISIS) — to turn to mass destruction as the solution to their problems? Is it violence on TV, violent video games, violent rhetoric, perceived loss of privilege, or something else that is driving them to do it? Why is it happening more and more frequently? Most importantly: What can we change is society to address the root cause?
Thinking about gun control instead of the underlying problem is characteristic of society today. We think about the band-aids, not what is causing the abcess. We worry about immigrants and building walls, without thinking about why they are leaving their countries, and what we might do to address the need to leave. It might actually be less expensive to improve lives in those countries than to build a wall or to send troops to the border. We worry about trade imbalances and what it is doing to businesses in our country, and attempt to impose tariffs as a solution — when we could address the underlying problems and make American products better and more competitive so that other countries want them, even after the advantages the countries give to their own products. That is ultimately a better solution. We rage on about health care and what the government involvement should be, while forgetting about the people and what keeping them healthy can do for society overall.
We spend so much time, effort, and money addressing symptoms of problems, and so little time actually trying to make the problems actually go away. We’re popping pills to hide the pains and control the condition, never taking the time to actually get better.
Let’s resolve to try to actually fix the problem this time.