December 15, 2018

What If Government Can’t Solve This Problem?

Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky, B’nai David Judea

I am not a policy expert. Intuitively though, the correlation between the enormous number of guns (and their deadly capacities) that Americans own and the frequency of deadly mass shootings is just too powerful to not also be substantially causal.

What we learned from the governmental inaction after the 2012 school shooting in Sandy Hook, Conn., though, is that the American political system — as wonderful as it is in many other ways — simply doesn’t possess the necessary disposition or capacity to decide to more closely regulate gun ownership.

We cannot expect our government to solve this problem. The answer is neither in politics nor in legislation.

Rather, this task is in the hands of ordinary human beings. Daily, sometimes even hourly, our lives present us with choices. Situations continuously arise in which we can choose the paths either of confrontation or of constructive engagement, of litigation or of compromise, of opposition or of relationship.

Our choices create either a culture of combat, or a culture of peace-seeking. Either a culture in which we can — and routinely do — dehumanize one another, or one in which we are intuitively, profoundly and constantly aware of the humanity of the people around us.

Nothing and no one will stop a deranged, violent person who has already decided to commit mass murder from doing so. But a culture in which we daily, hourly cultivate the ways of love and of peace, may cut off murderous rages before they can begin.