Americans don’t want to admit who is really to blame for gun violence.
It’s not the NRA. Not the GOP, nor the right wing. Not Democratic leaders who fail to summon sufficient grit. Not violent inner-city communities. It’s not even the crazy who gets access to the gun.
It’s the 332,278,200 pound gorilla in America that fails to hold any of the above accountable.
But like a circus gorilla, we’re well-trained. Trained to make loud noises and great commotion. To jump up and down and spin in circles. To point fingers; to blame this group and that; to divide ourselves against one another. Trained to do everything except the one thing that would actually change things, and which only we have the actual power to do: hold our elected officials accountable. To demand results.
Because in America, we are the boss. In a company, the buck stops with the CEO; on a ship, with the captain; on the football team, with the coach. And in America, our representatives report to — and the buck stops with — us. We are the boss.
But we’ve been conditioned to expend all that authority demonizing each other — “the other side” — instead of demanding results from elected officials.
We are even conditioned to argue that demanding “results” sounds suspiciously like a euphemism for some policy one side wants to force upon the other, or which alternatively is not forceful enough and only token.
But that, right there, is an example of how the trained gorilla in us is more conditioned to believe our fellow Americans exist as obstacles, rather than as assets that also wish to end gun violence and therefore with whom we share an interest in finding compromise solutions.
Because there are myriad policy proposals that could meaningfully achieve that. Some already enjoy majority support. “Which of these can be worked out among the various parties” is the precise question we have elected and are handsomely paying our representatives to work through. That is why they are there.
We need to demand that they do so.
If they do not … and we do not then hold them accountable in November …
Then who else, exactly, would you blame?