Change is a hard thing to come by: While We’re Waiting


Happy Tuesday, WFNY!

Or, as happy as it can possibly be, anyway. These last couple days have put me in a weird mood. Again. That word. Again. It’s so disheartening. Because, while the events that unfolded in Las Vegas are going to happen. Again. And again. And again.

We know it’s true. How do we know this? Because nobody is willing to try anything different. We’ll argue and debate the hot button political issue of the moment, we’ll post snarky things on Facebook and Twitter, we’ll rehash and spew out a bunch of statistics to support our cause, we’ll read all our lawmakers’ expressions of “thoughts and prayers” to the victims, we’ll follow the 24-hour news coverage of it for about another day or two. Three tops. And then we’ll just go back to our lives and wait for the next one. For this to all happen, again.

It’s disheartening and it makes me feel helpless. I want us to try something different. That doesn’t necessarily mean the government coming like the big, bad boogie man in the dark of night to take everyone’s guns away from them. Because we’re so gridlocked on this issue, let’s start small. There are measures that we could try to prevent just anyone from legally buying a gun in this country. I feel like any sane, law-abiding gun owner should welcome accountability. Owning a gun should carry responsibility with it.

“But Andrew, if you make it harder to buy guns legally, they’ll just buy them illegally.” Maybe. But let’s make them take the extra step to buy them illegally. Let’s make them have to figure that much out. I mean, damn. At least then we tried something. And then, maybe we can try do something about the means by which people acquire illegal guns. Yes, it’s a lot of work. Sure, it involves some oversight. No, it will not be easy. But we should be on the same side on this. All of us. Every single law-abiding, well-meaning, good-hearted American should stand together and say enough is enough. Let’s compromise, let’s lock our lawmakers in a room and make them stay in there until they’ve worked together on some steps to try to make it harder for these things to happen again and again and again.

Yet it seems like we keep saying “Well, gee, we’re never going to be able to stop every single person in this country who wants to kill a bunch of people”. And because of that, we decide to just accept status quo. When Sandy Hook happened, and we as a nation decided that even the mass killing of our children was an acceptable cost for the right to bear arms in this country, the sad reality is that any real hope for change was lost. If that wasn’t enough for us to have an actual debate and to actually try to change some things, this incident certainly won’t be, either.

Of course, things were sad enough yesterday before we learned of the passing of Tom Petty. I’m not going to pretend I’m the world’s biggest Tom Petty fan. I realized this morning that I’m not entirely certain I’ve ever actually listened to any of his studio albums. I mean, I probably have, but I don’t remember it. His passing doesn’t have the same impact on my life as Chris Cornell’s did. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t bummed about it, and it doesn’t mean I don’t like his music. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits album was an essentially must-own album when I was in junior high. It’s in the pantheon of all-time greatest Greatest Hits albums. It’s a nonstop onslaught of essential song after essential song.

It’s a bummer when you reach the age where so many artists in all walks of life who left such an impact on you and your peers start to pass away. But there’s an enduring strength to Petty’s legacy, and that strength is something inspiring today.

So in the spirit of not backing down, what can we as individuals who want change do? For one, we can vow to not vote for politicians who take money from the NRA. The Washington Post has a handy page where you can see which politicians in your state have taken money from the NRA. It’s not much, but as an individual, I’ve decided to not vote for anyone on this list. I want politicians who can have an open and honest debate on this topic without having to pay their debt and cower to a group that has zero interest in even talking about this issue.

Does this mean I am entirely against guns? Not necessarily. I’m just no longer interested in us doing nothing. I’m willing to budge on some of my convictions to compromise and try to come up with a solution. And if that solution doesn’t work, we can try another one. And another one after that. And just keep trying until we find something that works for us in this country.

We have the most unique relationship to firearms in the world. No country is as obsessed with guns as we are. We’re probably never going to be able to have the kind of gun control that other countries have where there is precious little gun violence. We’ve already opened Pandora’s box. But I just do not understand why so many people feel like the ability to go out into a field or into the desert and shoot off military-grade weapons which are designed for the sole purpose of being the most efficient killing machines possible should supersede trying to do some things to prevent these senseless mass killings.

I’d love to hear from both sides on this. If you oppose any changes to the process of legally purchasing guns in this country, why? If you support change, what things are you doing as an individual to try to make change in this country? I’m genuinely interested in hearing more from all sides of this debate. Only then can I, personally, make a more informed stance and be more knowledgeably proactive on it.

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, I stand with you as an American. I’m in no way saying I’m right. I’m just being honest on how I feel today as a person who is simply tired of seeing these type of killings happening and us losing our resolve to try to make change. I’m not saying take all our guns away. I’m just saying let’s start with the first step and put more accountability and responsibility into the process of legally purchasing weapons in our country.

Anyway, that’s all I have today. No sports, because the Cleveland Browns are the Cleveland Browns and I just don’t have the heart to talk about that today, too. So please, enjoy the rest of your day at WFNY and just be good to each other.