Four years ago next month, after the Presidential Election of 2016 I asked myself a question:
How many people will have to die for this insanity to end?
Next week, we’ll find out. As of today, the number is 225,000 dead from covid-19.
But this cooled-rage and pain gave rise to a thought:
People save lives.
I say this because when I first moved out on my own in 2003, my father offered to buy me a gun and teach me how to use it. I turned him down because I told him I didn’t feel I had a need for it. There was another reason I couldn’t articulate at that time, and one I won’t share for a good long while yet. But even if you have a gun, if you pull the trigger and take a life even in defense of your own, you will have to live with it. You will have to live with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is no cure for this.
Nuclear weapons have not prevented World War III. That has prevented by cooler heads prevailing. By President Kennedy in 1962 not doing what General Curtis LeMay wanted him to do and bomb Cuba. And by Soviet Colonel Stanislav Petrov in 1983 when he refused to call the Kremlin because he knew the computers at his base were malfunctioning and the United States was not launching a nuclear strike.
Guns and bombs don’t rescue people from natural disasters. People do. Very brave and extraordinary people we call first responders.
Guns and bombs don’t save people in hospitals. Those are healthcare workers.
Guns and bombs don’t lift people out of poverty. People do by creating jobs and educating people to help them advance in society.
Guns and bombs don’t bring about changes in laws, or overturn them. People do that by running for elected office or arguing in courts.
Guns and bombs don’t bring peace. Why?
World War II didn’t end genocide on this planet, it didn’t end war, hatred, or mass death and destruction. In fact, the end of World War II created a whole new set of problems for the world: a nuclear arms race and a Cold War fought by proxy.
Guns and bombs didn’t put men on the moon. People did that.
Guns and bombs don’t cure diseases. People do that.
Guns and bombs don’t comfort the grieving. People do that.
This is what I believe with all my heart and soul. That people, individuals and groups save lives and change the world for the better. Not guns and bombs, or hatred and cruelty. Or selfishness and greed. Or fear.
This is not a weak philosophy. This is a strong philosophy because it is faith over doubt, faith over pain, faith over grief. It is grief into purpose, as Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden says so well.
I believe we have the power to save ourselves, and each other. We may not be able to save every life, but we can try.
This is the world I want more than anything.
And for me it starts by saying:
People Save Lives