Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.



Beauty at the end of an ugly day.

Beauty at the end of an ugly day.

Conflicted isn’t even the right word for how I feel today.  Maybe there is no word that accurately reflects my feelings, and perhaps the feelings of a good portion of the American population today.  But I like to think I’d recognize the right word if I saw it.

I thought, for a moment, that I recognized it in President Obama’s statement when he paused and said that at some point we’d have to address how someone who wanted to do harm could so easily obtain a gun.  There was anger there, and I too felt anger.  But in an instant I knew that anger wasn’t the complete feeling.  This time the gun was obtained legally by the father and given as a gift to his son, the shooter.  I don’t know how gun control laws would have changed that.

Maybe the feeling was intense sadness.  Not personal grief, nothing like the families in Charleston are going through now, but still intense sadness.  And a feeling of familiarity because we’ve seen this before.   And it all seems so senseless, so hopeless.

Maybe that’s it; maybe what I’ve been feeling all day is a hopelessness.  There seems no solution.  The 24 hour news talks about race relations and how it’s so much worse now than it was when the President was elected in 2008.  How hate seems to be so much more blatant.

Still I circle back to the issue of guns.  I’m no proponent of guns.  I don’t have any experience with them, and frankly they scare me.  But I agree that people have a right to have a gun.   And I agree that it’s hard to tell when a person is carrying evil or craziness or a combination inside themselves.  This shooter exhibted signs, the news says, signs someone should have noticed.

Yet his father gave him a gun for his birthday.

I don’t know who is more crazy, the young man who committed the unthinkable last night, or the father who didn’t pay attention to the signs.  The combination was lethal.

We need to open a dialog about guns and mental health.  But if this country could not make progress on settling gun control or mental health issues after the 2012 massacre of more than two dozen innocent people in Sandy Hook what makes us think that we can have a relevant discussion now?  When will it be bad enough for us to recognize that we have to sit down, throw out the politics, and talk.

So I’m back to anger.  Maybe that’s what we all need to feel.  Anger that it was so easy for the shooter to get a gun, so easy for him to kill innocents.  Anger that we don’t have adequate mental health programs.  Anger that we continue to cry and rant but don’t resolve.  Anger that people’s lives are being lost while the politicians use this and other similar tragedies to support their own, preexisting stances which are bought and paid for by special interests.

Anger tinged with intense sadness, shadowed with hopelessness.  That’s what I feel as the sun sets on a long and tragic day.  How about you?  What dialog are you willing to start or become involved in?  What word accurately describes your feelings about all of this?

Let’s talk about it.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

18 thoughts on “Conflicted

  1. I think I’m more sadness tinged with anger, shadowed with hopelessness. Either way, I am a strong proponent of gun rights (which isn’t to say that I think citizens need access to RPGs or automatic weapons…), but I really do think we need a discussion about mental health in this country. Because I think our lack of mental health support opens more than a can of worms with regards to shooting. I think there is mounting evidence that addiction is a mental health issue, and that we could do a lot to reduce drug violence (see the link to guns here too?) if we helped people overcome their addictions. Okay, so maybe I’m angry too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hard to separate feelings of anger and sadness, just as it is hard to separate how guns and mental health intertwine in situations like this. But I think all of it needs to be talked about.


      • I think so too.
        I especially think we need to talk about racism (especially in the south). I think we also need to point out that there are a bunch of gun-owning, racist people who though they may be A-holes, are not murderers. So we’re back to the mental health thing. But as Jon Stewart pointed out, we will probably not have these talks nationally.
        Yep. Sad and angry.


  2. Sad. Angry. Defeated. How do we change the knee-jerk reaction of hatred and violence as an answer? I think our gun control needs work, but in this instance that would have changed nothing. Small minds, lack of tolerance, too much. Too much. Can we change the channel?


  3. There are lots of issues at play – not only the father giving his son a gun (especially when he knew he had a drug problem), why the young man had those racial beliefs and the ease of getting guns. I must admit I do not like guns at all but I also wouldn’t take way the right of people who do the right thing to have them. The percentage of people with guns who use them to kill someone is a 1000 times lower then people who kill others with a car or truck – do we regulate cars and trucks – last time I checked you don’t need to have an FBI background check to get a drivers license but you do to own a gun? This mentality in the USA of the minority outweighs the majority is just wrong and by that I mean it is a tiny minority of people with guns that do harm, just as it a tiny minority of people with trucks that kill. Yes the deaths caused by such events are horrific but as I have said before – 100’s of people die each day in car accidents and hardly a mention is given to them because it is single event. Peoples knee jerk reaction to such events always bothers me – even if this young man didn’t have a gun – he would of found another way to harm people as has been proven by others who have used bombs, knives, fires etc. It also bothered me last night watching the news that suddenly all churches are going to increase their security – people seems to have this idea that if this one event is going to cause a rash of church shootings.


    • Yes, I understand the feelings that limiting guns further would not have changed this. I think we really have to dig down to figure out where the hate comes from, and work on that.


  4. Word I feel is Godlessness! America has turned her back on God. This is why we are in the mess we are.

    I don’t know how someone unbalanced can be stopped from obtaining a gun. A parent made an irresponsible decision. How can someone hate so deeply?


  5. I listened to the radio on the way to the grocery store this morning. Several churches of different religions locally are teaming up to discuss hate and what can be done to make changes. I started thinking about this, hate, and how it feels like bullying. Schools and neighborhoods and even kids are working on fixing bullying, standing up and saying something when they see something. In this case people heard him saying hateful things. No one stood up and told anyone. Maybe this is where we have to start.


  6. I’m appalled at the prevalence of guns in our culture, and even more so at the attitude that the solution to gun violence is to give more people guns in more situations. I’m appalled that 150 years after we stopped being a slave-owning country that issues of race are still so extreme in so many aspects of our culture. I’m appalled at so many things that this brings up… I’m still processing.


  7. Sad, bewildered, confused. Looked at the killer’s picture — clearly a boy. Was he “carefully taught” to hate? (Then words run out….)


  8. The race issue is bothering me way more than the gun issue. Racism starts in the home, but it can end if you actually interact with people of other races!


    • That’s true. True about lots of issues people have with each other; religion, sexual preference, race. If we all just stepped out of our own world and talk and learn from someone different we would all be better off.


  9. I keep thinking about the whole “right to bear arms” issue, and the thing is, we don’t seem to be grown up enough to be able to handle that right. I came across this quote when I was writing up my post today:

    “It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country to decide, by their conduct and example, the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.”
    ― Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers

    I’m not yet sure what I’m going to do, but I’m leaning towards getting involved with one of the gun control groups.


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