Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Enough Already

I feel like I’ve used this title once already for something very similar. If so, that’s sad–not that I’m repeating myself, but that I have to.

On Sunday, after watching a flood of anti-Obama memes fly across my Facebook feed, I posted the following (this is verbatim, except for one spelling error, and a link that was not in the original):

Since Thursday, my Facebook feed has been flooded with comments and shares and likes related to the terrible shooting in Roseburg. Unfortunately, most of these are not about the mass murder itself, but about President Obama’s reaction and statement about it. Most of THOSE comments have been negative (which is putting it mildly).

I get that you don’t like Obama, but here’s the thing: THIS IS NOT ABOUT OBAMA. Put your hatred for the man aside and look instead at yet another pile of bodies—do you want to see that again? I get your concern about anything that may infringe on your constitutional right to bear arms, but don’t you think this stuff has got to stop? Instead of firing off the usual, knee-jerk statements (you know how they go: “guns don’t kill people…” and “when guns are outlawed…” and “It only takes one good man with a gun…”, etc.) let me ask you this: WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST? Because what we got? It’s not working. Status Quo? Not an option. Archie Bunker-style “Pass out the pistols”? Not an option.

Stop making it about Obama and start offering up ideas.

I don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea that we should gather all the guns and melt them down–the vast majority of gun owners are, I’m sure, law-abiding citizens who would not take a life unless they felt they absolutely had no choice. And I don’t know what the solution is. As I said, what we’re doing now is not working.

I’m glad to say I actually got a couple of reasonable responses from people, one of whom is definitely anti-Obama (though he also pointed out his anti-Obama position is the result of what Obama as done, which is fair) and decidedly pro-gun. I didn’t necessarily agree with all he had to say, but I respect the fact that he (mostly) kept to the issue, and that he didn’t retreat to the “You’ll pry my gun from my cold, dead hands!” position that so many others take. Let’s hope more people in government can do the same. Something’s gotta give.

6 Responses

  1. The number of school shootings is beyond terrifying! I saw a guest speaker once who spoke about the influence of 1st person shooter video games as well as other factors. I think gun control has to be a factor as well. We have to make sure we're only allowing people who are in a mentally healthy state to purchase guns. I like a lot of the restrictions we have here in Canada that ensure someone who's really angry can't go out and immediately get a gun. Not sure what the answers are, and I'm sure they're not easy, but we have to find them

  2. I have a large number of US friends and there is already so much political rhetoric on my feed, I'm going into hibernation as the election draws nearer. So much hate.

  3. I'm not a fan of Obama, but what he said about us getting numb to it was so true. What you said is absolutely right. This is not about Obama.

  4. These events are so awful and I wish people would focus on the issue at hand–the shooting. The poor families and victims.

  5. You can't change the minds of ignorant haters who love to blame all their problems on someone else. (Coincidentally I was researching Russian quotes for my WIP, and here's an apt one: “Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.” ~ Ayn Rand) I never reply to the a$$holes on FB. I just quietly unfriend or unfollow. Since the court's gay decision, the dust up about the confederate flag, and now with the elections, it's very easy to spot the intolerant, ignorant white trash and get them off my feed.

    But regarding your point, there are few things in life that come with easy answers. If people remained calm, practical, and open-minded, we could study what works in other countries and try out different solutions here. But small minds think they know everything and refuse to consider anything new. And there are a lot of them.

  6. -Jemi–I think a multi-pronged approach is the only way to solve it, and maybe we can never truly solve it , but we need people who are at least willing to talk about it and look for solutions.

    -Donna–The hate is disturbing. I actually unfollowed one of my friends because of all the crap he's reposting and sharing. I hate to do it, but I couldn't take it anymore.

    -Donna–Thank you. It's a relief to see someone agree!

    -TBM–I can't imagine what those families are going through. It's horrible. Thank you for commenting.

    -Lexa–The shocking thing is how many of these people are people I know, but didn't realize to the extent they thought this way–though I suspect a lot of it isn't thinking at all, it's just blindly reposting without any consideration for anything at all.

    One of the biggest problems with finding solutions is that guns are so much a part of the myth of America, the fabric of our nation's formation, that I think some people feel like any curtailment of them is somehow a repudiation of who we are as a people. I say it's time to find a way to move beyond the gun culture.

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments on this sensitive issue.

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