Guns and Hopelessness

There are so many reasons why the epidemic of guns in our country is both needless and wrong, but reading the story about the seemingly inexplicable murder of a young Australian man in Duncan, Oklahoma shines the light on one reason that has not received much attention. The loss of hope is lethal in so many ways and for too many Americans, the hope for a future that includes any kind of fulfillment has been utterly lost. There’s never an explanation for random acts of violence. When we hear young people exclaim they woke up and pretty much decided they were going to kill someone that day, it’s hard not to gasp in bewilderment. What could these young boys have possibly been thinking?

While I know there was no real thinking process going on with these boys, I do believe there is an explanation of sorts and it goes something like this. “I have come to believe that there’s nothing of any value that lies ahead for me and given that void, there’s nothing I can do that has much consequence.” We know that young boys, in general, suffer from a lack of impulse control, even ones with very bright futures. Most every parent of a boy can tell you that. But when one combines this characteristic with a loss of all hope and easy access to guns, then I am not sure why we are surprised when we read about a shooting like this. In fact, this kind of thing happens all the time in America – needless, senseless acts of violence. Our attention is grabbed, though, only when an “outsider” is the victim, when an all-American Australian young man is struck down. I get that. It seems so random and so cruel, and it is. But it is no more random or cruel than when a young neighborhood boy or girl is murdered and those murders happen in neighborhoods near us every day of every year.

How about we either commit ourselves to do something about providing our children, all our children, with some measure of hope or until we have that figured out, we take the guns out of their hands.

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