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Vegetables

I hesitate to write about the most controversial but important topic of our national moral conversation. An article recently compared the issue to a common childhood melodrama known as "getting your child to eat their vegetables." Growing up it is something we know we should do, but we don’t want to do. Down the line we thank our parents for being hard on us, because we know it made us better people. They were just doing what was best for us. If civil rights came down to a popular vote, we'd still be drinking out of different water fountains. Like gay marriage and stem cell research before it "gun control" laws scare people. We don’t want it and will protest to our last breath that we don’t need it, but deep down inside we know we do.  

As a kid your parents always tell you not to do something and it made us so angry. It made us want to do it more. It's because we don’t like being told what to do. Imagine if we didn’t listen to them, we’d still be picking our noses or playing with ourselves in public. A politician on the news the other day said we need to let people mourn the tragedy in Colorado, and I agreed, then he said now is not the time to discuss gun laws, and I disagreed. July 20th was a dark day for America, but there was a shining light in all of that darkness though; acts of true bravery. Three men died protecting their girlfriends and their example should serve as a lesson to us all; we have an obligation to protect each other. If you saw a kid getting beat up in high school did you wait until the beatings and humiliation fully sink in before you step up?

Now is the time. It's the only time we have. Compassion and empathy are not dirty words. All those liberals and peaceniks out there are soft and will never stand up for what they believe in, but will we let ourselves be bullied into taking a light approach. The majority of our population faces a startling dichotomy every single day of their lives. What we want to believe, and what we do believe. We pride ourselves on being Americans, land of the free and home of the brave, but like Janet Jackson said, “what have you done for me lately.” I watched a show on HBO the other day called the Newsroom. It opened with a dramatic monologue about the disparity that exists in America over what we are, and what we want to be. I heard people at work talking the next day that it was a revolutionary scene, but to me it was a mediocre impersonation of Peter Finch. Ironically, given the current number of incarcerated Americans, it lacked what most of us lack in our society; conviction.

We could care less about gun control, what we care about is gun violence. History has shown us time and time again that violence begets violence. Period. Terrorism creates more terrorism. War does not stop. I read recently about a child killed in a drone strike and it saddened me deeply. Beyond the horror that is the murder of an innocent child. It's the Butterfly Effect on a universal scale. If stepping on a butterfly changes the course of history; what would ripping off its wings and dousing it in gasoline do? What we do in life echoes in eternity.
Growing up in rural town on movies, games, and TV shows I viewed guns as tools for overcoming oppression and triumphing over evil. Swords of modern knights used to slay evil dragons threatening villages and endangering fair maidens. Cops and robbers. Cowboys and Indians. Even as a child I knew my obsession with guns was almost perverse, but man were they cool like cigarettes or cowboy hats.
My immaturity led me to see war for what it isn’t, just, honorable, and heroic, instead of what it is, violent, deadly, and wrong. Romanticizing combat spans eons in our world. My whole life all I wanted to do was be in the US military and serve my country, but there were billboards along my road that made me question my path, made me turn the wheel, and go in the other direction. Columbine. Virginia Tech, Aurora. Vegas. We will never be able to solve what’s wrong with America until we solve whats wrong with Americans. The Second Amendment was written hundreds of years ago when there was a need for states to bear arms because they were being threatened by an external force. Bear arms, protect our homes. Fast forward to today and I say protect our homeland from who? The days of militias are over and our childish reluctance to give up our toys must stop. If you beat your little brother or sister over the head with a stick; that stick would then be taken away. The old affirmation "guns don't kill people, people kill people," seems naive when a Mac 11 fires 1200 rounds a minute. I think it’s about time we ate our vegetables.

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