The Root of the Problem

Hello, I’m Leah G. Alfonso. I write so that I may speak.

Sadly, the US of A has grown too familiar with the term “massacre” over the last couple of decades. From school shootings to bombs, we’ve learned not to treat weapons lightly. The most recent massacre happened on June 5, 2014, at Seattle Pacific University. And I don’t doubt that there will be more even after I’ve finished writing and putting up this post. Each reaction to these tragedies is usually the same: shock, grief, fear, anger. Schools tighten security in the hopes that it won’t happen to them. Parents demand that the government pass more restrictions on the use of firearms.

And that’s my biggest concern.

Now, it wouldn’t be prudent to say that anyone should have guns. To me, firearms are almost like cars; if you want to have one on hand, you have to know how to use it, and you have to prove that you’re responsible enough to be trusted with it. Police have guns on hand all the time, but I don’t think they hand out firearms on the first day of the job. But with that said, restricting the use of firearms won’t guarantee the end of violence. Remember those moments when you were a kid and you wanted chocolate, but your parents said no? What was your response? Did it make you hungry for vegetables, or did you want the chocolate even more? Or what about the kind of clothes you were allowed to wear at school? We had restrictions on the clothes we could wear in class, but that didn’t stop girls from wearing tanks or short shorts. It’s in our nature to want what we can’t have.

We have the same issue with illegal immigration. Some people are outraged that the number of illegal immigrants is shooting up and—for whatever reason—Obama is dodging the problem. The commonly suggested solution is to tighten security at the border, to do whatever it takes to prevent illegal immigration. While a big wall would certainly hold it off for a while, or thin the numbers a little, we have to remember that they’re determined to get into the States at all costs. Tightening security won’t change that. And stricter gun laws won’t stop anyone from getting their hands on weapons.

I understand that people are scared, but I don’t think that gun laws are going to prevent massacres from happening again. The guns are only a portion of the situation, but they aren’t the root of the problem. The root of the problem is the people who choose to use the guns, the people who feel as though they have no choice but to take down as many people as they can before taking themselves out. How do you kill a weed? You go to the roots.

Now, I’m a firm believer that people are responsible for what they do, but not for what others do to them. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it. With that said, answering the question “What makes these people evil?” is a whole other argument. Whether it’s a mental health issue, a twisted idea of revenge, a harsh past, the activities of sociopaths, that’s a whole other discussion that I’m sure I’ll blog about on another day. But that’s not the point of today’s post. The point of today’s post is that solving any kind of problem takes a lot of thought, discussion, and action.

It’s true that getting to the root of the problem will take a lot of time, time in which others could die in similar situations. But then again, when has life ever been easy? Was it easy for FDR to act as president during the Great Depression? Was it easy for the surviving Jews to endure the Holocaust? Was it easy for Martin Luther King Jr. to stand for the Civil Rights Movement while receiving death threats towards him and his family? Of course not. But look at the good that came from so much horror in the last century alone. FDR helped America survive the Depression. The fact that even one person came out of the Holocaust alive is a miracle. And Martin Luther King Jr. helped to start a necessary change in America.

Bottom line: Getting to the root of the problem won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.

Until next time, this is Leah G. Alfonso saying “So long.”

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