Last week’s shooting of nine black church goers in Charleston, South Carolina, has shocked the nation and inflamed the debate on race in America, gun control, and the Confederate Flag, but change is far from certain.
The knee-jerk reaction about these topics from many Americans is to deny the need for change, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s human nature to defend the status quo and to deny what might threaten our own self-preservation.
So it makes sense that Americans would defend their country’s belief system. After all, we’re the old Puritan idea of the shining city on the hill, the example for others to follow. What if that’s no longer the case?
We already know America ranks behind other westernized countries in health care, infant mortality, and life expectancy. Is it so hard to believe that America needs to change in other areas?
In her Washington Post column entitled “Black America Should Stop Forgiving White Racists,” reporter Stacey Patton makes the point that forgiving white killers has done little to protect the lives of black citizens.
The parents of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Mike Brown, as well as the widow of Eric Garner, were all expected to forgive their killers. While noble, that action has done little to ease the suffering or stop the killings.
“After 9/11, there was no talk about forgiving al-Qaeda, Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. America declared war, sought blood and revenge, and rushed protective measures into place to prevent future attacks.”
Some of this must ring true with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She’s taken the rare step of publicly addressing the need for a nationwide discussion on gun control, a stance that’s sure to put her in political hot water.
“I know that gun ownership is part of the fabric of a lot of law abiding communities. I also know that we can have common sense gun reforms that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the violently unstable while respecting responsible gun owners. The stakes are too high, the costs are too dear, and I am not and will not be afraid to keep fighting for common sense reforms.”
Many Americans simply don’t agree. They bring out old arguments to defend their love of guns: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, and evil people will always find a way to get guns and the Second Amendment gives me the right to own a gun.
Instead of a careful considering response, many people resort to knee-jerk reactions.
Despite a wave of mass shootings across the nation, many Americans are unable to even discuss the possibility of gun control despite a pile of evidence that it would make the nation safer.
Even pleas by stars like comedian Jim Jeffries fall on deaf ears.
Without change, however, there can be no improvement.
One definition of insanity is to repeat the same action while expecting different results. So if we Americans want different results in our society, it might be time to make changes in our ideology.
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