Conservatives and liberals, the religious and the secular, and everyone in between seems to misunderstand why so many in the United States desires to kill each other and kill themselves. For as long as this exists, nothing will improve and we’ll have to spend more money on policing, jailing, the military, and healthcare costs associated with each when instead we could be using our resources on education, research, and building a better future for our children and our children’s children.
What are some of the reasons used to discuss mass murder or a high frequency of murders and suicides? Here are some basic snapshots of what is the common discourse.
The Conservative Argument
The conservative argument has been focused mostly on extremism from liberal politicians, which is dividing the country. This extremism has forced diversity within the country, which causes conflict between those of differing cultures. This extremism has also forced a population to be more reliant upon the government and once the government has taken away more rights, intruded upon the lives of the citizenry, and distributed away their resources, desperation and unrest set in. Finally, by calling out police brutality against minorities, conservatives argue that liberal politicians and the minorities they support have weakened the institutions of policing. The population does not respect the police, which causes the population to no longer respect the rule of law.
The Liberal Argument
The liberal argument has mostly focused on the conservative support of gun lobbyists and gun rights over the basic rights of each person. Guns have been the most common method to kill other people, and liberals argue conservatives encourage continued violence by turning away from even discussing ways to limit access to guns, to include semi-automatic weapons and access by those with a known history of violence. Also, liberals argue that often times, conservatives policies favor the wealthy, made up mostly of white males, and this deprivation of resources stokes desperation.
The Religious Argument
I do not often hear the religious in the United States talking much about why they believe violence exists in the way it does and possible solutions. Since the religious argument is mostly dominated by the Christian majority, the most common things discussed is the lack of the fear of God and being ruled by Satan. Neither of these arguments are easily quantifiable, and there is no common consensus on how to tell who fears God and who does not. Also, those who are not Christian must be Satanic, and we must do what we can to prevent the further degradation of society by keeping out religious minorities, mostly Muslims.
The Secular Argument
Religion is the source of most violence. Because of the adherence to dogma and ideas which have yet to be proven by science, religion can be used to stir up the imagination in ways detrimental to the progress of mankind. In this argument, any religion well known by the secular person is the culprit. The only solution is better secular education, focused on science, and to do whatever is necessary to eliminate religion from most institutions.
The Real Issue is Complex but not Impossible
I think to start, we should start with the basic timeline of a person’s life from the beginning until the end. Like many conservatives and religious people, I believe life starts at conception. I say this because scientifically, there is no doubt about the result of what happens when a sperm fertilizes an egg. We know there is life, the life is progressing, and we know this life is human. Yes, I’m about to discuss abortion although I do not believe abortion is the single issue causing obscene amounts of violence in America.
Abortion exists and a great deal of our political capital has been used to debate whether or not abortion is a basic right of a person or murder. Why is abortion an option? It is because there was sex without preparation to create and sustain life. What happens when there is no option for abortion? Often times, women will unequally bear hardship because when there is an unwanted baby born, the man is more free to leave his child behind. This is not always the case, but it is the most common. A single woman working many hours to care for a child she may not have wanted, and a child without a stable environment to focus on education. I consider education to include secular, religious, civic, and values.
Either women and men must share the responsibilities of family equally, or women should be given greater freedom to choose what is best given their potential hardship and hardship of the unborn baby. Abortion should be allowed for the entire time women are treated as less equal than men.
Many babies are born into varying conditions. Some babies are born to parents who love them greatly, have resources to invest in them, and ensure they have the opportunity for a great future. One thing I have learned in finance and economics is the value of compound interest. In this case, a baby who is born into moderate wealth with a compounding interest of love and education will have a great lifelong advantage over the average baby born into poverty or to parents who do not love them. You see, the conditions we begin influence the potential pathways we can take.
The United States does not do enough to ensure all babies born have equal access to opportunities. We do provide Social Security for those of a retirement age and the disabled, but I think we should provide Social Security for each baby born. It would be a trust we have made and a trust which can only be used towards ensuring each life has an opportunity to profit and profit others.
By the time a child begins education at any school, many social and cultural teachings begin to manifest themselves. The most concerning is how many children have already learned how to identify and treat people who outwardly seem different than them. Children can act cruelly to overweight kids, kids of different skin colors, kids who don’t dress as nicely, and countless other reasons. I think sometimes this is learned on their own, but I also understand kids start their first years observing and mimicking their parents and other immediate family members. I believe they mostly learn ideas such as inequality and superiority/inferiority from their own families first.
I agree with liberal politicians in that hate speech should not be tolerated. However, hate speech is often veiled and subtle. Ask a religious organization where children are taught who can achieve salvation and who cannot. The answer will demonstrate superiority, inferiority, and the precursors to future inequality. Once any person is viewed as less than you, it is easy to progress towards feeling you have more rights than the person, should succeed over that person, and perhaps the person should suffer more than you. The various kinds of superiority training which begin at a young age include nationalism, racism, salvationism, wealth classes, and body types.
Indoctrination of superiority training should be considered child abuse. It has negative effects on not only the child being indoctrinated, but also on the children victimized by the indoctrinated child. Any parent found to be indoctrinating should go through mandatory education and community service in service of the group the parent spoke or acted against.
By the time a child reaches puberty and reaches child-bearing age, they are grossly under-prepared to be as mature psychologically as they are physically. Many have not been taught how to do basic living tasks, such as how to cook, clean, manage money, and take care of others, let alone themselves. I’m not saying children at this age should be independent and on their own, but they should have the skills and maturity to contribute to the family and if needed, towards being responsible for their actions.
It is at this time when hormones are influential and all the values and skills taught so far are truly tested. Who am I and what is my purpose? Who can I love? Who loves me? What makes me unique? This seeking of identity and love is the greatest cause of the teenager. Formal education typically is not and usually interferes. Sure, learning algebra and literature is great for future work, but teenagers do not even know what career path they will be on and rarely place much emphasis on it.
With the passions of self being dominant, why do we purposefully under-prepare them for the independence and love they seek? The typical path of study until you are 18 and as college becomes increasingly needed, study until you are in your mid-20’s seems to be a great waste of resources at this stage of a person’s life. Teenagers need to know the morality of loving relationships, how to be trustworthy, responsible, and how to view sexuality as not only a path of pleasure and physical love, but as a life-creating act.
With a basic birthright Social Security in place, a teenager can safely be free to choose the path they seek, and be able to withstand the consequences of mistakes. Teenagers have healthy bodies and great energy, perfect for jobs which require low levels of training but hard work. If a life is created, maybe even at age 15 or 16 they can be responsible hard-working parents instead of being fearful for their future. Life wouldn’t be over. Once their children are teenagers, they will only be in their 30’s or 40’s and may have finally settled into a position where they can focus on higher education and professional careers. To ensure they can safely and successfully be prepared to engage in their passions, the jobs they qualify for must be able to provide living wages. A living wage is where if you work full-time, you can support yourself and one other.
We view guns as the enemy. It is true guns and other weapons are increasingly effective at taking lives, but no weapon can be effective unless there is the intention of a person behind them. No matter if a gun, knife, vehicle, plane, or even a poison exists, it can only kill due to intent. No gun can have intent. Why are there people who regularly intend on harming another, or taking a life? Why after a crime is committed, we discuss on who is at fault, how to profile people who might be similar to the criminal, and document how all the victims and neighboring people were either documenting the crime on their phones or acting helpless? We never talk about how an 18-month girl could have survived if someone who was not shot provided life-saving skills. We never talk about how the 77 year old victim’s life is sacred, as sacred as you and I.
Driving around you can see regular signs and buildings for non-profit organizations and for-profit organizations. Most are affiliated with a person with a faith, and the rest are not. I believe whether you are religious or non-religious, we are doing a poor job in teaching ourselves how important another person’s life is. For example, look at the nearest homeless person you come across. Where is this person and what is their current activity? This person is most likely along a roadside, an intersection, or near an entrance of a store. This person is never at our churches, mosques, synagogues, or temples. This person is not at our places of government nor at the headquarters of the wealthiest corporations. The only place they are expected to be is the homeless shelter, which becomes a de-facto prison if the homeless person is unwelcome everywhere else.
This person is never doing anything with the belief they can succeed in this system. Every level of society treats the homeless as a criminal when at the most simple explanation, they were unable to earn enough money to afford food and shelter. Our churches do not teach the worth of this homeless person’s life is as much as the believers of the church, and a homeless person knows he/she is not welcome there without being judged as being inferior. In fact, I would say in our current society, the only lives which are argued to be sacred are those of babies. Once free will is expressed, sacredness is replaced by judgment. Mankind has evolved to the point where every person can be fed, clothed, and sheltered, yet we refuse to do so. It is because we do not value another’s life as much as we value our own.
This is the ultimate problem. I could continue down the path of the life, where the elderly, after working hard their whole lives, are expected to live with strangers and give up their possessions. We don’t value any person if we feel they are not productive. Through the moment we are born, we are taught myriads of ways another’s life is not as sacred as our own. We are taught how to use guns, yet we are not taught how to save lives.
Life-saving skills must be taught to every person capable of killing another, which is every person who has reached puberty. Teach them how to restore breath, stop bleeding, and provide comfort until better trained emergency personnel has arrived. I believe this will help empower others to not only save lives, but to feel a better connection to the vitality inherent in each of us, hopefully preventing the need of those life-saving skills.
There are many other issues related to acts of violence that I did not touch upon, but I hope I spurred some thought and forced some creative thinking. I provided 5 ideas the media nor our leaders have proposed or suggested, but ideas which would help change the long-term dynamic our culture exists within. I want to live in a United States where every person, no matter their background, has an opportunity to succeed. Not just once, but multiple times. I want to live in a United States where every life is treated as being sacred, not just at conception, but up until the person has passed of natural causes. I want to live in a United States where we are not oppressed by ideas and actions of superiority, but instead expressing true liberty and being an example of liberty to everyone else in this world.
We the people of the United States are better than the self-indulgent psychotics we portray ourselves to be. Let’s start acting better and let’s stop accepting all the bad habits which can eventually lead to murder.