A nation in black

It is your fault. It is their fault. It is his. It is hers.

It is too many guns or too few guns.

It is bad parenting, or maybe bad teaching.

It is the big Pharma.

Or perhaps local police, the FBI, Congress, or government all together.

It is Clinton’s, Bush’s, Obama’s, or Trump’s fault.

It is your God, it is my God, it is all Gods, it is the lack of God.

It is the music, television, movies, video games.

It is the Internet’s fault.

It is anyone and anything other than me. It is not my fault.

The truth is, there is not one reason why. Not one direction to point. There is no blame, yet there is all the blame.

What you have just read is what we all have been reading over the past week and a half. More concern over personal views, political agendas, social media boosts of confidence, and deniability.

I have spent a good amount of time since the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida taking in all of the “facts” on social media, between quotes that were never said, facts that are absolutely not true, and memes (a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied, often with slight variations, and spread rapidly by Internet users) of utter ridiculousness.

The only way to describe the behavior of many Americans since Valentine’s Day, is nothing short of disgusting.

The United States of America is, in my opinion, the greatest nation in the world. We have revolutionized industry, government, and business. We have given hope to the hopeless, while defeating absolute evil on several occasions. But let us not allow our nation’s success to mask the reality that we have done a lot in our brief history that has been unforgiveable, embarrassing, and disgraceful. The hope, one would think, would be to not rewrite history. However, at the same time, we can not live off of our history, but rather we must shape our present in a way that it is not scarred by the errs of ignorance in our past, to produce an even more fruitful and inspiring America, for the world to see.

I have never, and will never, claim to know the answer to this ever-disturbing problem that endangers the lives and freedom of our children, but I do profoundly believe that being a keyboard warrior and playing the blame-game is not going to resolve anything.

First of all, the blame, if we are going to point fingers must be on all of us, 18 years old or older, that have allowed this to continue. As adults, we certainly have more power to help change the direction of this lack of conversation towards one of meaningful results. Instead, we have sat behind our computers or staring at our phones, shaming the youth as they stand up for what they believe in.

We may not agree, but to mock them, laugh at them, and pretend as if we were not young once Is foolish.

Do the young people of this nation always have the best solutions? Absolutely not. They don’t now, they didn’t when I was growing up (1990s) and they didn’t before. That’s right, those of you reading this that were rebels in the 80s or hippies in the 70s, you said a lot of uninformed illogical things as well. Just be thankful, we didn’t have social media to capture it all.

But, when thinking of youth and their opinions on the issues of present day, I find myself referencing the Johnny Cash 1970s song, What is Truth.

“Yeah, the ones that you’re calling wild,

Are going to be the leaders in a little while.

This old world’s wakin’ to a new born day,

And I solemnly swear that it’ll be their way 

You better help the voice of youth find 

“What is truth?”

What I take from this is that truth then is not always truth now. As the United States has grown, so has our understanding as a civilized people. A nation founded when slavery was not just legal, but overwhelmingly acceptable, elected an African American President just ten years ago.

The United States has changed dramatically since 1776. The United States Constitution has been amended 27 times since, 1789, to accommodate a nation that is profoundly different than that of the 18th century. I’ll leave that there for you to do with what you please.

Let me clarify before the Times Observer is flooded with letters complaining, I am absolutely a believer in the right to own firearms.

However, I am also, just as strongly a believer that if you cannot discuss or be open to discussing changes for the safety of our children, whether it be through gun reform, mental health funding, research into violent entertainment, or the many other aforementioned “faults,” then you are absolutely part of the problem. Nothing, absolutely nothing should ever be off the table of discussion.

The United States, in its short existence, has changed at a rapid pace. So fast and so much so, that I fear it has been too much too soon.

I don’t long for the good old days, but I do long for simplicity. Where the value of life was not overshadowed by politics, headlines, and arrogance. A time when likes, shares, and retweets were not the most prominent aspect of a person’s day. But simplicity in 2018 is easier said than done.

Many may read this and roll their eyes, tossing it aside. And that is fine. But I ask them to look at the children in their homes and community. See them as they grow. See them as the very essence of innocence in life. And then understand that within a blink of an eye, they could be taken from us so violently, so abruptly, that we will be left wishing we had done more.

Well, America, we can do more. The blame falls on the shoulders of all Americans who could have made a change. It is America’s fault for choosing, as children are being lowered into the ground once again, to remain a mourning nation. A nation in black.