Recent tragedies, threats, and attacks have garnered the attention of the nation. Whether it is the bombing of an iconic marathon, increased foreign nuclear danger, or non-passage of gun control laws in the wake of yet another school shooting, Americans are in turmoil.
We are trying to make sense of crimes against humanity. We are trying to understand why politicians don’t seem to care about the lives of victims. We are looking for answers to domestic and international problems. We want to know what we can do to stop future adversities. We are seeking solutions.
Many answers have been proposed: gun control reform, immigration reform, increased military spending, and improved mental health care are just a few. All of these solutions offer certain advantages, but perhaps it’s a combination of remedies that will bring increased security to our country.
Gun control reform could limit criminal access to firearms and explosive devices if properly written and administered. Increased background checks and decreased access to guns and ammunition may lessen the potential threat of firearm attacks.
Immigration reform could start 11 million illegal immigrants on the path to legal status, thus putting these people in the system and making it easier to weed out violent criminals. The current U.S. Senate bill would also strengthen employment verification rules and ramp up Social Security tools to prevent misuse.
Increased military spending could quell terrorists before they have a chance to attack our nation. With amplified threats from North Korea and Iran, some critics say an even greater U.S. military presence may deter assaults from lesser-armed entities.
Improved mental health care could help detect and treat the mentally ill before their animosity festers into physical violence. Instead of using the justice system as a hostel for psychiatric patients, increased access to doctors, medicines, and counseling may prevent crimes from happening in the first place.
These proposed changes and many others might temporarily help keep us safe, but they do not account for human ability to adapt to change, circumvent the system, and wreak unfathomable havoc on the lives of innocent people and their families.
Something else must change as well. Individually and collectively–as people, corporations and governments–we must start following the advice we give to small children; we must start doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.
Naïve? Maybe, but what are the other options? Pass more laws? Engage in another foreign war? Go on permanent lockdown? Have the police roam the streets with AK-47s 24 hours a day? We currently have more laws on the books and more law enforcement officials on payrolls than ever in the past, yet terror still reigns.
We must stop acting like children, hitting back when someone hits us. We must stop building our arsenal while condemning others for doing the same. We must stop trying to guarantee the protection of our own innocents by bombing other innocent people. We must stop blaming immigrants for our nation’s problems when all they are trying to do is live a better life. We must provide the same care for our nation’s collective youth and mentally ill as we would for our own children.
I’m not saying we should all just sit around singing Kumbaya, but as we pass more laws and try to prevent more tragedies, we must first utilize one of the oldest precepts in our world and bring an end to the senseless violence that plagues it; we must start following the Golden Rule.