When I created this site, I never intended to address politics or current events. For one, who am I to discuss what is happening in the world? I’m just some nerdy dude at a computer. And second, I believe that we need places where we can come together and cherish things we love. There is plenty of escapism available in our world, but my hope was to create a positive place where people could reminisce on the nerdy joys of life.
So on a day when I intended to sit down and write about some of my nerdy passions, it didn’t feel right. Not when the worst mass shooting in American history had just occurred. As of this writing, 58 people died with surely more to follow. These people were at a concert, living life, enjoying what they loved. These were normal people like you and me. Shot dead for no justifiable reason.
The older I get and the more of these incidents I see, the more it causes me emotional pain. As you age, you start to understand how real these events are. You begin to see how fragile life can be. Over 50 lives ended and many other lives shattered. I wish I could say it was unbelievable, but at this point it is all too believable.
I keep thinking back to a moment I had a little over a year ago. It was just after yet another mass shooting. I watched as my five-year-old nephew ran around playing with a shockingly realistic toy gun. “Don’t point that at people,” we had to tell him. It made me upset, that this was considered fun for such a young child, to wield a weapon and pretend to shoot people.
To be clear, I am not saying that toy guns are the cause of mass shootings. I don’t believe that violent video games or gun violence in movies is causing anyone to become a mass shooter. But I do believe that those are echoes of a violent culture that exists in our country. We are a country obsessed with violence and specifically guns.
I don’t want to take away guns. There are many people who are 100% knowledgeable and responsible gun owners. I think that should be commended. I don’t want to censor our entertainment. We should be able to create and watch what we want.
I simply wish we didn’t want a world with so much violence.
People always ask “why did this happen?” I don’t know. You can point to lots of things. Lack of proper gun control/safety. Lack of help for mental health issues. A divisive culture. It could be a combination of these things or it could be none of these things.
There isn’t a perfect answer to the problem, but there is a problem. This is not something that every nation faces. This is a deeply American problem. There is something very wrong in our country.
How can we keep letting this happen? We all think this every time a mass shooting occurs. And nothing changes, does it? There will be some talk about radicalized motives, some talk about gun restrictions, some talk about mental health, and nothing will change.
If there are changes, they will be restrictions to our freedom. And while a certain level of security is needed for any society to function, it does not address the root problem. We can keep using band-aids, but at some point we’ll need to stop smashing our head against the brick wall.
So how do we go forward? I wish I could tell you. As I said at the beginning, I’m just some nerdy dude at a computer. I don’t have the answers. All I have is what I feel inside about what happened in Las Vegas and Orlando and Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook and Charlottesville and countless others.
If there is one thing that I would say, it is this: we need to have empathy for one another. We are all brothers and sisters and families and neighbors. The people who disagree with you are not your enemies. The people less well off than you need your help. At some point, this country is going to have to be able to have conversations again.
I truly believe that 99.9% of people in this country want the same things in life and simply disagree on how to get there. But we have forgotten how to communicate. Everything is now a battle and we’re being told, one way or another, to pick a side. The other side, they say, is trying to take everything you hold dear away from you. You must defeat them at all costs. But I’m not seeing much winning on either side. I am seeing a lot of losing for everyone.
There are no sides. There might be sides to an issue, but not to a person. We are wonderfully complex beings with endlessly unique thoughts. We do not fit into molds or boxes. Each of us is a real person with real problems. Sit down. Talk. Listen. And maybe then we can start solving problems again.