overcoming average(?)

because it’s something the world just needs less of

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(I actually started writing this on Wednesday of this week, continued on it last night, and finished it this morning. Due to current events, the overall tone and direction changed during the writing.)

It’s an odd feeling to want to write about several things that you may not want to have out in the open, especially when you feel like the topic could warrant a book’s worth of material. I’ve been struggling with this dilemma for some time. I’ve dabbled in openly saying what I actually think and feel about “controversial” topics from time to time with increasingly predictable results. What has typically occurred is that I say something in the form of a question with the genuine intent of expanding my mind beyond knee jerk reactions and my own innately human narrow point of view. The responses tend to go beyond mere disagreements and veer into heated borderline disrespectful territory. I don’t know how it comes across to others, but my reason and tone has always tried to be that of honest searching. It’s been difficult to walk that line of needing to write for my own mental health knowing that the majority of the subject matter that goes through my mind (religion and politics) is so inflammatory to most of the people who would ever read anything I write. I’ve tried alternatives. I have a Twitter account that maybe four people know about where I can say anything I want to. I have pages of paper that I’ve written on that no one will probably ever see that are completely unfiltered.

It’ s not enough. Ask any artist if they’re fulfilled after spending hours painting a picture only to have no one see it. Ask a musician if they’re fulfilled when they write a song that no one will hear. And ask a writer if they’re fulfilled knowing that no one will read what they have to write. I know this sounds intensely arrogant, but I can’t keep needing to write with the intent of lukewarm neutrality. I’m not placing myself in the realm of great thinkers or writers or artists whose work needs to be seen by the world, and I’m not demanding that people read and agree with me. All I know is that I’d rather experience silence in response to something I’ve actually written instead of something I was afraid to write to begin with. Know that if we disagree, that that’s all it is. Assuming I know you, I still love you and still would love to have a relationship with you.

Starting now.

There’s five stages of grief. The first is denial. After that, anger. Those are followed by bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. I posted a relatively mild statement this afternoon about gun control in the wake of the tragedy that happened in Connecticut. I don’t know how clear it was, but I was in the second stage of grief and probably still am. I honestly don’t know how it’s possible to not be angry about a psychopath killing 26 people , 20 of them children between the ages of five and ten. I wrote my thing about gun control out of anger. I stand by it, but it was out of anger.

Whenever a massacre like this happens, which feels like it’s becoming more frequent in this country, the two camps come out to discuss more gun control versus potentially even less gun control. There’s one group that says if guns were harder or even impossible to acquire, that this tragedy could have been avoided. Then this other group says that the weapon isn’t the problem, it’s the madman who pulled the trigger that’s the issue. Some in this group will even say that had more people had a gun on them at the time that there might be fewer casualties.

Inevitably, there’s also the group of people that will say that all this talk about gun control is too soon; that this should be a time of mourning and not of playing politics. I honestly don’t think anyone is playing politics when it comes to this or that it’s “too soon.” I don’t have any points to score or anything to gain from wanting to engage in that discussion, but I am angry about it. And if you’re someone who has said that it’s too soon, just know you’re in a different stage of grief than I am. It wasn’t too soon to have the discussion after Columbine, nor was it too soon after Virginia Tech. It wasn’t too soon after Aurora, and it wasn’t too soon after Michigan or Oregon. It’s never been too soon to talk about this for the simple fact that it has always been too late.

Gun control isn’t The Answer to preventing mass shootings like this. I’ve read the same stuff you have. We all know that there were obviously mental health issues at play in probably all of the massacres in recent history. That needs to be addressed too. We need to address the culture of violence that we’re all guilty of by virtue of complacency. And I think we need to realize that it’s possible to have a real discussion on things without going overboard. For example, I’m pretty sure that 100% of responsible gun owners don’t want crazy people to have access to guns, and I’m also pretty sure that 100% of non-gun owners recognize that there are such things as responsible gun owners. Also, we have to remember that this is a fallen world. As a Christian I believe that in the world as it is there’s nothing you or I could do to redeem or prevent every act of evil that could possibly occur, and until Christ returns we have to be examples of what the kingdom of heaven could be one soul at a time. So no, tighter gun control isn’t The Answer to this, but I think maybe it’s time to recognize it as part of an answer. The sooner the better.

Written by matt

December 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm

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