A Difficult Question To Answer

To the Readers’ Forum:

In the Feb. 10 Post-Journal, Marshall Greenstein wrote a column entitled “What Is The Real Problem,” which addressed an apparent lack of “compassion,” “love” and/or “humanity” in our lives. He starts the column referring to the recent Sandy Hook school massacre and leaves that segment with the obvious conclusion to his question, which is: “America has yet to figure it out.” At the end of his column he suggests that the shooter may have been “mentally ill or challenged,” but he, unfortunately, leaves us with the same, obvious statement he began with, namely, “I do not pretend to have answers.”

So, how do we answer the original question, which leads to a second question: what do we do next? Or perhaps the appropriate question is: what if there is no answer?

The debate over gun violence leads me to believe there is only one answer – the problem is guns. Guns are the only factor that makes criminals, the mentally ill and emotionally impulsive people effective killing instruments. If guns were taken out of the equation, I don’t think anyone can deny that gun violence would cease.

The other question I pose, what do we do next, is the one for which there is no single, practical answer. Guns have become so prolific and gun regulations have become so lax, that they are impossible to control.

Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of the discussion that Mr. Greenstein failed to raise is that there are a huge number of loving and compassionate people who are gun advocates. If these people do not see guns as the central problem, then no amount of recommended personal introspection, with or without connection to “God,” will change things.

One statement Mr. Greenstein powerfully offers is: “Courage comes from pointing the finger inward.” Mr. Greenstein suggests that we reflect on the lyrics to one of his favorite songs: “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” I believe that those words challenge us to be courageous, to make the connection that guns and personal “peace” are not compatible and to take or support action to counter the negative effect guns have on our society.

Without the right kind of courage, we might as well just get used to the kind of carnage we allow to happen.

Paul L. Demler