A Time of Coming Together

The facts as we know them about the Alexandria shooting have been published many times since yesterday. Therefore, I will not dwell on the events other that to say I wish those injured a speedy recovery. Yesterday, I simply posted that my thoughts would be with them. While that is true, we need to finally stand up and do something. I did not want to post much yesterday in response to the Alexandria shooting until more details came out, and I could think through my emotions.

While both sides of the political spectrum are working to place or divert blame, we absolutely need to remember that the suspect that carried out the shooting was an American and a human. Which side of the political fence he was on, nor his motives for carrying out his actions mattered. What matters is that he did it. What matters is that he had a history of violence. What matters is that he was angry. 

There is a palpable amount of anger in the United States today. I’m not going to tell you to not be angry. I will tell you that our anger needs to be directed toward a positive and peaceful solution. We need to use words and not violent actions to share your anger. To those the anger is directed at, don’t become angry in return; try to understand. To those who are angry, violence will not solve the issue and will only escalate the situation. We need more understanding in our country from both sides. We have allowed ourselves to become so divided and angry that we are just fighting to fight in many cases.

We need to come together as Americans, not as Republicans or Democrats. We are one society that needs to find a way to work together peacefully to create solutions to our challenges. Yes, we need a form of gun control that is more stringent than it currently is. I understand that we have a constitutional right to bear arms, but we also have a duty to protect our citizens from the threat of someone wishing to use those arms to do us harm. I don’t want to “take your guns”. I want common sense gun control that both sides can agree on, that keeps guns out of the hands of people with a violent history. This isn’t a partisan issue. This is a humanitarian issue. We will never stop all violence, but if we do nothing to reduce it we are as guilty as those who pull the trigger.

I ask people from both sides to reach out to me and share your ideas. I specifically want to hear from gun owners and enthusiasts and those from the “far right”. I want to know how I, as a progressive can have a peaceful and respectful discussion on how to solve the serious issue we have with guns in this country. I urge both sides to reach out to someone who opposes you and ask to have a similar conversation. We need to look for peaceful solutions that everyone can agree to.

Working together, we as a society can solve the problems that face us. We all have a part of the solution, and instead of trying to silence each other, we need to talk each other. Those discussions will be uncomfortable. But until we can do that, we will never change anything.

Shawn

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