Living in the Wild Wild West

I get two posts on Facebook from organizations trying to change our laws on gun control. Both of them were initiated by parents of children who were killed by gun violence. I can imagine that getting active in changing things to make the world safer for other children is a big part of their healing. They know better than anyone the pain that gun violence can cause.

Sometimes I feel like I am living in the Wild Wild West. In old western films there is the scene on the dusty streets of Loredo when the bad guy gun-slingers come face to face with the good guys, who we don’t call gun slingers but they always have guns. Invariably someone gets killed. Before that happens you see women and children and old men running for cover. My empathetic nature sometimes gets in the way and I notice the fear on the faces of those people running away. I have the same reaction when I watch war movies and I see the harm being done to civilians. I know these are fiction but I also know that the stories they tell are about real life situations. There is little satisfaction for me when the good guys win. I feel the fear.

I don’t know what can be done about gun violence in our country. I don’t understand the attachment some people have to firearms. I suspect that no effort we make or legislation we enact will achieve perfect safety. For one thing, there are too many guns out there. Even I don’t want to turn our country in to a search-and-seize type of society.

One day a couple out walking notice how cluttered the road was with trash. They decided that they would bring a bag along with them on their next walk and pick up the trash for as far as they went. It kept their small neighborhood looking considerably better than most other neighborhoods. They talked to others about the problem of trash on the roads and many of these agreed with them. They could each  help by picking up  trash, but they knew that it was a never-ending job. They wanted those who throw their trash around to stop it. So they appealed to their legislators to make laws making littering a misdemeanor and attaching a fine to it. They succeeded and over time their whole state became more beautiful. Other states picked up the idea and the people found the joy of a clean enviromnent wherever they traveled. There were still people who tossed their trash around, but it never returned to the mess that once existed before that day that one couple decided they didn’t like it and then to do something about it.

You can complain about government interference. You can cry about losing freedoms. But in my way of thinking, things can get better if we make a commitment to at least trying. Some ideas may not work and there may be consequences we can’t yet imagine that are actually harmful. But, heck, we can make adjustments. Many laws have had to be rewritten or repealed in the past. But I, for one, don’t like living in a wild-wild world where I have to worry about the safety of those I love.

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