It certainly seems like a good idea that you couldn’t argue against. That is, using public money to research the causes of gun violence and its effect on our communities.
After all, wouldn’t it be nice if we could, through studies and surveys and research, discover the scientific causes of gun violence and thus, stop it? Make some changes that would cause everyone to be good.
Except we would argue, we’re looking for a solution where it doesn’t exist. This is expecting too much from science, and not enough from people.
But first, let’s back up to a press release sent out Wednesday that said Hawaii’s Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa had joined more than 100 of her colleagues to urge Congressional leaders to strip language from the fiscal year 2018 federal spending bills that prevent the U.S. Center for Disease Control from using public money to research the causes of gun violence and its effect on our communities.
“Five years ago today, Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut and opened fire, killing 20 children and six adults. Since then, Americans have struggled to make sense of gun violence in San Bernadino, Orlando, Las Vegas, and too many neighborhoods that claim an average of 34,000 lives a year, far and away the highest number in the developed world,” Hanabus said in the release. “Law enforcement, public health officials, scientists, and community members continue to collaborate on a peaceful path forward. Members of Congress do not often agree on how best to reduce America’s unacceptable amount of gun violence, but I would hope that we all agree that our policies and decision making should be rooted in sound scientific research.”
She continued, in the release: “For the last 20 years, House appropriators have included language from the late Congressman Jay Dickey that essentially stopped the U.S. Centers for Disease Control from using federal funds to study the causes of gun violence and its effects on public health, the same type of research conducted to help develop policies that reduce domestic violence, motor vehicle injuries and address other public safety issues.
“Congressman Dickey changed his position before he passed, and I urge my colleagues to strip this language from the FY18 House Appropriations bill. We cannot continue moving on from mass shootings without taking action. We must develop evidence-based solutions that will help stop gun violence while maintaining the rights of law abiding gun owners.”
We certainly do not want to dismiss any efforts to end gun violence. If such a solution can be found in science, by all means find it. But you won’t. You’re looking for a solution in the wrong place. You could spend millions of dollars and years of research to try and determine why a person kills another. You will not find a definite, science-based answer, one common theme yielded by scientific study. That is wishful thinking. It does not take a rocket scientist to look at the world in which we live and see while there is much that is good, that there is much love, kindness and compassion, there is also much that is wrong. There is much hate and anger and hostility. If you want science to tell you why we have hate, it can’t.
Science will not program people to be kind. It will not teach people to love. It will not find a gene that can be altered to eliminate hate.
We wish scientific research could find a path to peace. We wish science could help humanity be better.
The end of violence is possible to find. But you don’t need to spend millions of dollars and years trying to figure it out. It must begin with each of us, and how we treat each other, how we act, what we say, and what we do.
What would happen if this country’s leaders just asked people to do as the Bible says, and love thy neighbor? They would probably be voted out of office. Far too simple, some say. There must be more to it. Ending violence is far more complicated than being a nice, loving person. Naive thinking. A Pollyanna approach. That won’t end violence or lead to a kinder, gentler world.
Sadly, that approach has proven itself right.