The Reality: There are no Solutions

 

My mind is reeling and my heart is aching, not only from the shootings that have just occurred, but the flood of solutions that people are proposing. We are all desperate for solutions. We want to be able to live in this world feeling safe. We want to know that we can go to Walmart and not have to look over our shoulders. We want to be happy, live peacefully and know that we don’t have to live in fear.

The truth, as hard as it is to admit, is twofold and paradoxical: there are no solutions to gun violence and we don’t have to live in fear.

How do we live with this reality? The truth is that our society suffers from much more than gun violence. The American culture has degraded, and is spiritually empty, lacking compassion and respect for all of our citizens. Does anyone know of a society that has recovered from this type of erosion—without a moral compass? The only one that comes to mind is the Jews.

Time and gain, the Jews have fallen into idol worship and moral decadence. The only way they were pulled back to a spiritual existence was through the Prophets and G-d. But we no longer have prophets. And most of the Jews have become secular; many are self-hating and resent the Orthodox. The times do not bode positive outcomes, even for the Jewish community.

The gentile community is also in trouble. Moral bearings are vanishing; laws that respect freedom and the human spirit are disappearing. The rule of law itself is vanishing in a dark cloud of self-indulgence, small-mindedness and materialism. How much darker can the future look?

Rather than giving up hope, I have only one suggestion, and each of you has the power to make it happen. We each have to commit ourselves fully to being our best selves, to being loving, law-abiding and responsible human beings. Not just by going through our lives unconsciously on our ordinary paths: going to work, taking the kids to school, making dinner, and taking care of ourselves. Those are required to live a good life. But doing even more. Taking on our tasks and obligations and relationships with passion and dedication. Getting involved with our communities and neighbors. Looking people in the eye. Paying attention to the needs of others. Staring down fear. Behaving as if our very lives, our families and friends and existence depend on it.

Because they do.

 It’s all up to you.

 

Published in Culture
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There are 62 comments.

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    A true conservative statement. 

    If we do not think, as conservatives, the market can be understood and managed by human minds, why do we think the whole culture might be?

    • #1
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:16 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    A true conservative statement.

    If we do not think, as conservatives, the market can be understood and managed by human minds, why do we think the whole culture might be?

    That’s just it, @bryangstephens. The issues are huge and voluminous. If nothing else, I can hope that my positive behavior can role model the way one lives a good life. Otherwise, I’m beginning to think I have very little power.

    • #2
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:19 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. SkipSul Moderator

    Neil DeGrasse-Tyson apparently made himself much hated over the weekend when he pointed out that statistically speaking, mass shootings are spectacle but isolated and otherwise insignificant.

    https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/neil-degarasse-tyson-slammed-for-tweet-about-mass-shooting-data

    He’s not wrong.

    But there is a horror to contemplating when someone snaps and commits mass murder, and our empathy kicks into overdrive as we all picture ourselves there, picture ourselves in similar situations. It’s the “mass” part that grabs us.

    Yet how many die every day from car wrecks? How many from disease?

    I think we can process those mentally because they are impersonal, whereas murder is somehow not.

    I’m no fan of NDGT, but he’s right here, and sensible where so many others are screaming “do something!”, and demanding we use a proverbial sledgehammer to swat a statistical gnat, while ignoring that the steady drip drip drip of other forms of fatality while not “mass”, are steadier, and relentless.

    • #3
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:20 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  4. SkipSul Moderator

    There is a famous math puzzler for people. Someone offers you a deal: You can either have a million bucks today, or you can be given a penny on day one, and then each day receive double the amount you got the prior day over a period of 30 days. Which is the better deal? Take the penny – on the 30th day you will receive somewhere in excess of $5 million.

    Mass shooting events need to be seen as something of the morbid inverse of this problem. Just as the million bucks upfront pales by comparison with the doubling money trickle turning to a flood, so too do the mass shootings pale compared to other forms of death. [Edited with chart showing the work]

    • #4
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:24 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Guruforhire Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    It’s the “mass” part that grabs us.

    Its the random part that grabs us. In most cases, like car accidents, crime, and heart disease, for the most part you can live prudently and avoid most of it. Airline crashes, are from the individual perspective random and there is no means of reliably mitigating the risk.

    The things that go bump in the night are the things over which we don’t have any control over (or appearance of control anyway).

    All of this is why I will probably have a heart attack in 20 years or so, but its brain cancer that worries me.

    • #5
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:27 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    There is a famous math puzzler for people. Someone offers you a deal: You can either have a million bucks today, or you can be given a penny on day one, and then each day receive double the amount you got the prior day over a period of 30 days. Which is the better deal? Take the penny – on the 30th day you will receive somewhere in excess of $5 million.

    Mass shooting events need to be seen as something of the morbid inverse of this problem. Just as the million bucks upfront pales by comparison with the doubling money trickle turning to a flood, so too do the mass shootings pale compared to other forms of death.

    I think, too, that everyone can identify with people in car accidents (although perhaps not dying), dying from disease, dying from old age, and so on. But few of us know someone who has been shot to death for no reason. The rest of the examples can be explained; mass shootings, no matter how we struggle for understanding, cannot.

    • #6
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:28 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    The solution to nearly every one of the USA’s statistical “problems” is to dissolve the union. That way, instead of comparing the third-most populous country in the world to other countries with as little as a tenth the US’ population, each newly-independent state will be compared to countries of similarly-sized population, territory, and GDP.

    People like to whinge about ‘diversity’, but the USA is the single most diverse country on the planet. It has 51 different criminal codes, for cryin’ out loud (not including the criminal codes of districts, protectorates, overseas territories, and Indian reservations).

    Statistical rankings that treat the USA as a single country are comparing apples to oranges. On gun crime specifically, if you leave out the top 5 cities the country’s crime statistics become akin to those of Scandinavia.

    • #7
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:31 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  8. Guruforhire Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    Take the penny – on the 30th day you will receive somewhere in excess of $5 million.

    You didn’t apply an appropriate discount rate for those cash flows.

    • #8
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:32 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. DonG Coolidge

    Things were worse in the 1850’s and 1910’s. I agree that good people will need to carry us through.

    • #9
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:33 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):
    Statistical rankings that treat the USA as a single country are comparing apples to oranges. On gun crime specifically, if you don’t count the top 5 cities the country’s crime statistics become akin to those of Scandinavia. 

    So if I understand you, Mis, dissolving the union will stop the mass shootings? Let’s do it! ;-)

    • #10
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:34 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. MarciN Member

    I think it gets down to the dangers we think we can outsmart and those we can’t. The problem with the mass murders is that it seems so random that we can’t think of a way to protect ourselves against them.

    But there is a way: more guns, not fewer. The more people who are armed and skilled in using a gun, the safer we will all be. The police departments and emergency systems we created are no longer close enough to us to protect us. We need to protect ourselves on our own. This is true because crime happens in milliseconds, not in the minutes it takes to make a 9-1-1 call and get a response in person from someone with fire arms training.

    I get kick out of the crime procedural television shows like NCIS. My husband and I watch them together, and I’ve come to make jokes now about the CBS Magic Carpet that can transport a cop from one part of the traffic-clogged city to another in seconds, in time to stop a murderous thug. :-)

    • #11
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:35 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    DonG (View Comment):

    Things were worse in the 1850’s and 1910’s. I agree that good people will need to carry us through.

    Interesting. Worse in what way, @dong?

    • #12
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:35 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I think it gets down to the dangers we think we can outsmart and those we can’t. The problem with the mass murders is that it seems so random that we can’t think of a way to protect ourselves against them.

    But there is a way: more guns, not fewer. The more people who were armed and skilled in using a gun, the safer we would all be. The police departments and emergency system we created is no longer adequate to protect us. It certainly used to be. It no longer is. We need to protect ourselves on our own. This is true because crime happens in milliseconds, not in the minutes it takes to make a 9-1-1 call and get a response in person from someone with fire arms training.

    I get kick out of the crime procedural television shows like NCIS. My husband and I watch them together, and I’ve come to make jokes now about the CBS Magic Urban Carpet that can transport a cop from one part of the traffic-clogged, traffic-light-infested neighborhood to another in seconds, in time to stop a murderous thug. :-)

    Right on both counts, @marcin! We do think we can outsmart these events, get out just ahead of them to stop them from happening. I don’t know that we do that consciously, but it’s certainly there! And I agree about the guns, too. I think it could solve a lot of issues. Thanks!

    • #13
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:38 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. fidelio102 Coolidge

    Susan Quinn: The gentile community is also in trouble. Moral bearings are vanishing; laws that respect freedom and the human spirit are disappearing. The rule of law itself is vanishing in a dark cloud of self-indulgence, small-mindedness and materialism. How much darker can the future look?

    The night, too, is dark, but is always followed by dawn. And this, because the earth turns inexorably on its axis.

    The modus operandi of the universe is the cycle. Your description of the ambient darkness, Susan, is painfully accurate, but forget not that out of the brutish and self-interest of the Dark Ages, the great cathedrals, the true monuments to our civilisation, were born.

    • #14
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:45 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):
    Statistical rankings that treat the USA as a single country are comparing apples to oranges. On gun crime specifically, if you don’t count the top 5 cities the country’s crime statistics become akin to those of Scandinavia.

    So if I understand you, Mis, dissolving the union will stop the mass shootings? Let’s do it! ;-)

    No, it’d mean that incidence rates of mass shootings for the newly-independent states would be more comparable to other countries around the world. Statistically-speaking, US states are more akin to countries elsewhere than is the USA as a whole.

    To illustrate the point, say that within a single 48-hour period horrible crimes are committed in Ireland, Greece, and Luxembourg. The opinionmongers wouldn’t subsequently wail and moan that “Europe” has a horrible crime problem. So why does “the USA” get the blame when crimes are committed in Ohio, Texas, etc.? Apples and oranges.

    • #15
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:56 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    fidelio102 (View Comment):
    The modus operandi of the universe is the cycle. Your description of the ambient darkness, Susan, is painfully accurate, but forget not that out of the brutish and self-interest of the Dark Ages, the great cathedrals, the true monuments to our civilisation, were born.

    You might recall that I’m Jewish, so I would not call the cathedrals great monuments to civilization necessarily. Not even the great synagogues would I find as great monuments to our civilization. I would tend to look at the great ideas and foundational documents–the religions themselves, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. But all of those today are regarded with disdain. I am generally a positive person, and I suspect that my dark mood will pass (as it usually does). And I know that great ideas will continue to flourish in some areas. But it will be difficult for them to be recognized within the cacophony of disorder.

    • #16
    • August 5, 2019, at 10:58 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):
    Statistical rankings that treat the USA as a single country are comparing apples to oranges. On gun crime specifically, if you don’t count the top 5 cities the country’s crime statistics become akin to those of Scandinavia.

    So if I understand you, Mis, dissolving the union will stop the mass shootings? Let’s do it! ;-)

    No, it’ll mean that incidence rates of mass shootings for the newly-independent states will be comparable to other countries around the world. Statistically-speaking, US states are more akin to countries elsewhere than is the USA as a whole.

    Like, say that within a single 48-hour period horrible crimes are committed in Ireland, Greece, and Luxembourg. We don’t therefore conclude that “Europe” has a crime problem. So why does “the USA” get the blame when crimes are committed in Ohio, Texas, etc.?

    My comment was mostly in jest, Mis. You are suggesting that we put things in the proper perspective, and I agree–if people were willing to do that. Unfortunately there are too many people who insist on catastrophizing, dramatizing, and exaggerating to make everyone fearful. Practical statistics don’t work too well when people are fearful. But I agree with your point, nonetheless.

    • #17
    • August 5, 2019, at 11:01 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Coolidge

    Susan Quinn: there are no solutions to gun violence and we don’t have to live in fear.

    Two Part Solution.

    Part 1: Re-introduce prayer into public schools. Otherwise, without a reminder that there is a Creator upon Whom we depend and to Whom we are accountable, our value system is arbitrary. People “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” first and foremost among them being “life.” When we stop recognizing the Creator, our right to life is undermined.

    Part 2: Stop glorifying these shootings. Talk only about the victims, not the perpetrator. Notoriety is a major motivator of the shooters.

    • #18
    • August 5, 2019, at 11:58 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  19. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    You might recall that I’m Jewish, so I would not call the cathedrals great monuments to civilization necessarily. Not even the great synagogues would I find as great monuments to our civilization.

    They are monuments to the faith of the people who built them and have maintained them for so many centuries.

    • #19
    • August 5, 2019, at 12:50 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Sabrdance Member

    I may have further thoughts at a future date, but in the present I would note that there are no solutions, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can do. That doesn’t mean we will do them. Megan McArdle long ago pointed out that the way to stop spree shooters is the same way the military stops ambushes: train people to charge the guns. She got raked over the coals for this. This was clearly an unreasonable strategy.

    Perhaps, but I remember that my great-grandfather was crossing the street when the Dalton Gang entered the First National Bank and CM Condon and Company Banks in Coffeyville, KS. He was handed a shotgun and told to get in position. We have lost that trait, today, and don’t even believe it is possible, let alone a reasonable solution. Despite doing it less than 130 years ago, and every day in Basic Training.

    • #20
    • August 5, 2019, at 12:58 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  21. DonG Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I would not call the cathedrals great monuments to civilization necessarily…

    The word “monument” is normally defined as a structure. Cathedrals are monuments, because they stretched the limit of engineering and architecture and art. Some took generations to build and that says something about civilization. All the seven wonders of world would certainly count.

    • #21
    • August 5, 2019, at 1:02 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: there are no solutions to gun violence and we don’t have to live in fear.

    Two Part Solution.

    Part 1: Re-introduce prayer into public schools. Otherwise, without a reminder that there is a Creator upon Whom we depend and to Whom we are accountable, our value system is arbitrary. People “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” first and foremost among them being “life.” When we stop recognizing the Creator, our right to life is undermined.

    Part 2: Stop glorifying these shootings. Talk only about the victims, not the perpetrator. Notoriety is a major motivator of the shooters.

    I’m very skeptical in these times that school prayer will ever happen. I agree that it would be a powerful change, Yehoshua, but I don’t think it we’ll ever see it again.

    • #22
    • August 5, 2019, at 1:10 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    DonG (View Comment):
    but forget not that out of the brutish and self-interest of the Dark Ages, the great cathedrals, the true monuments to our civilisation, were born.

    I think these monuments speak to the creativity, intellect and awesome engineering talents that came out of that time. But I personally don’t find it reassuring that those kinds of talents will be used to move our culture forward. I didn’t mean to insult @misthiocracy@fidelio102 or any of the rest of you.

    • #23
    • August 5, 2019, at 1:13 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Sabrdance (View Comment):
    We have lost that trait, today, and don’t even believe it is possible, let alone a reasonable solution.

    @sabrdance, well it’s clear that I was born in the wrong century!

    • #24
    • August 5, 2019, at 1:18 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Sabrdance (View Comment):
    I may have further thoughts at a future date, but in the present I would note that there are no solutions, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can do.

    @sabrdance, I wanted to emphasize this point, too. There are many things we can do. But as you say, we either won’t choose to do them (because someone will protest them) or we will propose foolish things that won’t help anyone or anything, or we will propose dangerous things that will satisfy some but not solve our problems (as in gun control). I look forward to further thoughts from you.

    • #25
    • August 5, 2019, at 1:24 PM PDT
    • Like
  26. Stad Thatcher

    When concealed carry started in this country (Florida first), the left said it was a return to the old West, that blood would flow in the streets. Ironically, most of the blood that flowed was from criminals assaulting ordinary citizens who had their permits; they were rightfully sent off to meet their maker.

    But the left has created a new monster – the shooter who kills for a cause, which can be revenge on society, publicity, or to advance an agenda. And yes, I include this so-called “alt right” with the left because they are truly left wingers in words and actions.

    If we assume a new “wild west” is taking place, it’s all the more important for citizens to take the safety of themselves and their families in their own hands. The police are being stretched thin, and the left is doing their best to ensure no sane citizen wants to join what is a noble profession, that of law enforcement . . .

    • #26
    • August 5, 2019, at 2:09 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    When concealed carry started in this country (Florida first), the left said it was a return to the old West, that blood would flow in the streets. Ironically, most of the blood that flowed was from criminals assaulting ordinary citizens who had their permits; they were rightfully sent off to meet their maker.

    But the left has created a new monster – the shooter who kills for a cause, which can be revenge on society, publicity, or to advance an agenda. And yes, I include this so-called “alt right” with the left because they are truly left wingers in words and actions.

    If we assume a new “wild west” is taking place, it’s all the more important for citizens to take the safety of themselves and their families in their own hands. The police are being stretched thin, and the left is doing their best to ensure no sane citizen wants to join what is a noble profession, that of law enforcement . . .

    Was there a lot of concealed carry in the Old West? I’ve always been led to believe that open carry was the norm.

    Were there a lot of politically-motivated “lone wolf” mass killings in the Old West? Seems to me, the majority of mass killings in the Old West were perpetrated by government agents.

    • #27
    • August 5, 2019, at 2:16 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Stad Thatcher

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Was there a lot of concealed carry in the Old West?

    Were there a lot of politically-motivated “lone wolf” mass killings in the Old West?

    Seems to me, the majority of mass killings in the OId West were perpetrated by the US Army.

    The old west was open carry, because guns were tools for survival. I’m not sure about politically motivated killings, unless the motivation was to get rid of corrupt authorities.

    Don’t know about the US Army being involved in mass killings, unless it was to kill large numbers of outlaws or Indian raiding parties.

    • #28
    • August 5, 2019, at 2:18 PM PDT
    • Like
  29. Western Chauvinist Member

    Remember the shooting at New Life Church in Colorado Springs back in 2007? The shooter was wounded by a “volunteer” church security guard — a woman who obviously had obtained a concealed carry. He killed himself upon being wounded, but not before he had killed two sisters and injured three others, including the sisters’ father. He had also killed two and injured two earlier in the day in Denver. Still, it could have been a lot worse were it not for Jeanne Assam and her “volunteering” to use her training to save others. 

    We should all volunteer. 

    • #29
    • August 5, 2019, at 2:24 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. Guruforhire Member

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    When concealed carry started in this country (Florida first), the left said it was a return to the old West, that blood would flow in the streets. Ironically, most of the blood that flowed was from criminals assaulting ordinary citizens who had their permits; they were rightfully sent off to meet their maker.

    But the left has created a new monster – the shooter who kills for a cause, which can be revenge on society, publicity, or to advance an agenda. And yes, I include this so-called “alt right” with the left because they are truly left wingers in words and actions.

    If we assume a new “wild west” is taking place, it’s all the more important for citizens to take the safety of themselves and their families in their own hands. The police are being stretched thin, and the left is doing their best to ensure no sane citizen wants to join what is a noble profession, that of law enforcement . . .

    Was there a lot of concealed carry in the Old West? Were there a lot of politically-motivated “lone wolf” mass killings in the Old West?

    Seems to me, the majority of mass killings in the OId West were perpetrated by government agents.

    There was at least one broadsword massacre….

    • #30
    • August 5, 2019, at 2:30 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
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