Every day a syndicated national columnist, a grieving minister, or a politician of some rank laments another shooting. I genuinely believe they all have varying degrees of sincerity. No one likes to see men, women and children slaughtered for no apparant reason other than the shooter(s) want to fulfill some twisted psyche only they, at that moment, own. Every reading or TV show experience illustrates the depth of this problem and an obvious solution NO ONE I have talked to is even close to endorsing. It makes me wonder if it’s possible to end the Age of Violence that grips our country and our world.  But it is a fact that few are willing to give up any of the weapons they own and do not see that as a part of the solution equation.

When you see or read about an act of violence it has already passed into history and cannot be redacted. An Event has occurred. Unfortunately these Events seem to be continual, systemic, and apparently ongoing. Who is responsible? We are. All of us are. Americans are a powerful people. We have fought huge wars for our freedom and that of others. We have defeated powerful enemies, evil men, and their attempts to conquor the world with force. We have developed tremendous weapons and we have used them, and still are using them. But time moves inexorably forward and even though some, myself included at times, long for the simpler bygone days, there will be no going back. 

My hope is we will evolve as a species and be spared until enough of us embrace peace as the only solution to the Age of Violence. That peace will require a different mindset and most certainly a major third party of pragmatic souls, people who understand that the days of the social tribes are passing, but not soon enough. 

The willingness to be specific, to act for the good of the country must be our destination but with barely 30% of our population educated past the 12th grade who will be the recipient of this argument? Are you starting to see how large the elephant in the roadway really is? All by themselves, with our blessing and permission, the social tribes, religious and political, have created an atmosphere of distrust, neglect, and a false sense of entitlement that only education and time will overcome.  We simply cannot solve social problems of the magnitude currently present as long as religious beliefs and political thought intersect at the highest levels. There is too much ideological conflict between these factions, always at odds with each other, never approaching an all out committment, which might cost votes or influence. 

As I wrote Between the Walls of Time I came to appreciate that so many of us just do not have the tools to understand the world that has descended upon us. Today, we need an understanding of science and its application to real problems, yet, 70% or more of us may not be equipped to do anything of the sort. Enter the Millennials, who may not have been asked to do anything except consume, but who are more educated, less likely to join a tribe, and extremely wary of government in its current condition. I tell all the folks of my generation, black, yellow, brown, and white, who are waiting for the rapture not to write them off because they are, I think, headed in the right direction.

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Michael Stafford

 

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