OPINION–Sincere condolences to the family, friends, and fellow officers of Utah County Sheriff’s Deputy Cory Wride who was killed yesterday by what appears to be a lone gunman on a rampage. There can hardly be words expressed when life is senselessly taken this way and it is that much more painful when the victim is a person who has dedicated their life to helping society.
The news headlines reporting shootings by gunmen with varying degrees of deranged backgrounds that lead up to these incidents are reaching critical mass. It is becoming so commonplace that, collectively, the events pass with little fanfare save the people directly traumatized.
This is a problem.
It is said that the identification of a problem absent a solution is nothing more than a complaint. And it is a troublesome state of affairs that a solution to the particular problem of deranged gunmen shooting people at their homes and offices, children at their schools, or police officers on the job seems so out of reach. This is in no small part due to the predictably inevitable standoff between gun ideologies where the argument gets reduced to two extreme positions. On the one side of the extreme is the advocate for the removal of guns altogether. And on the other side is the defense of a right to not have guns taken away because of the bad behavior of someone else.
Is it possible that both sides have valid points? Is it possible that this is one of those issues where one can see so clearly both points of view that an almost stagnate-like fog permeates any formidable action going forward?
In a stalemate, no one wins. Both sides hold their ground. But in this stalemate, someone definitely loses. Just ask Officer Wride’s family. Just ask the victims past, present, and future.
Because if there is one thing that seems certain from the frequency of these kinds of shootings, there will be more of them. This is a problem that demands an answer. It demands of us a refusal to accept the stalemate.
It may be acceptable not to know the exact answer but it is not acceptable not to find one. Moreover, it must be understood that repeating the same tired arguments to achieve the same results is neither a solution, or a method by which any reasonable person should apply themselves.
This is to say that the insistence upon the continuance of trying to make a flawed system work, is indicative of the health of our society.
And there it is. Not the answer mind you but perhaps the place where we need to start to solve the problem of gun violence.
There are no doubt people who have spent a dedicated portion of their years trying to solve this. They have solutions but invariably are met with opposition. This is the nature of problem solving. As one problem is addressed, another presents itself.
For example: if the solution is to ban guns, the problem presented is the issue of civil rights and the right to keep and bear arms.
Perhaps the problem is in operating from the vantage of the singular and all-inclusive solution or the complete answer.
Perhaps the answer lies in who we are as a people. Perhaps there is something out of sync within our society that creates an environment which leads to violence.
This is not at all to imply abdication of one’s responsibility. One like a gunman who kills indiscriminately should receive no quarter for their crime.
But what of the responsibility of a society to its people to not create environments where the collective frustration with their ability to simply afford to live is ever present and on the forefront of their experience?
What of the responsibility of people who cannot make the connection between a government who lies to its people, functions from the modus operandi of the corporation, and profits from the abdication of the peoples rights?
We have these conversations every day but they are compartmentalized.
First, the conversation of gun violence. Then after a stalemate there and lunch, the conversation of a corrupt elected official sealing the deal on a public project for themselves while simultaneously passing a law that penalizes a citizen for doing the same thing.
To deny that there can be correlation between these or similar things is not to invalidate it, but merely to refuse to acquiesce to the truth of it.
Simply put, the gunman who killed Officer Wride is not an isolated incident and in fact it is a repetitive one. And this is indicative of the health of our society as a whole. We are sick and need to be well.
We can begin by acknowledging at the very least, this irrefutable fact regardless of political bent and ideology. That would be common a common ground from which to begin a dialogue on how to move towards getting well.
See you out there.
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Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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