Monday, August 6, 2012

"We Need Better People"

That was a line in a letter to the editor in my local newspaper. Preceding it: "We don't need better gun control laws."

I agree that we need better people. Education is the first thing that leaps to mind. To me, education means giving students multiple pathways to belonging, recognizing that all people have different strengths. Some will be scholars. Others will be athletes, musicians, teachers or entrepreneurs. In an educational setting, there ought to be ways for people to identify their gifts and to go about cultivating them.

The trouble is, there is huge cultural disagreement about how to properly educate our young people. My concern is that disagreements about education is just another thing for us to fight about, and therefore to do nothing about. 

All the fighting about Chick-fil-a and the president's birth certificate and Mitt Romney's tax returns is very confusing. I've always thought Americans are pragmatic people, capable of working toward big public goals while agreeing to disagree about some of the steps along the way. There are some projects that are just too big to solve overnight, and we need to hang in there with each other. Educating our kids to become contributors is one of these big projects. It's time well-invested.

In the meantime, we do need better gun control laws.Tweaking these laws is an exercise in pragmatism. Requiring a waiting period where peoples' backgrounds are checked is something we can do soon. If you're electing yourself to be a gun owner, you're electing yourself to an intrusion of your privacy. If that privacy includes ties to a neo-Nazi hate groups, then so be it. Banning sales of assault weapons would be another. I'd like to see gun sellers tracking how much ammunition they're selling to individuals who live at real addresses, and alerting authorities when a buyer exceeds the limit.

Because if we're really serious about needing better people, we need to make it a lot harder for disturbed people to implement their murderous plans.

No comments:

Post a Comment