Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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The internal debate

The debate churned within me as I watched the news last night and again today.  Another mass shooting, the second in the last seven days.  I watch the talking heads and the famlies from previous shootings arguing their positions on gun control.  I note, again, how similar their fight is to ours trying to get safety regulations in the trucking industry.

Let me say right up front that I’m supportive of at least discussing some gun control legislation. And that I don’t understand the entire complicated issue. But I do know the pain that family and friends carry with them as they walk the halls of Congress trying to get something, anything done.

Sandhill cranes in early morning light.

And who better to talk about possible soultions than the people that have born the brunt of the issue.

I don’t understand why any civilian needs guns designed for warefare. But mostly I don’t understand when purchasing a gun why a background check is a problem. So I’d like to close that loophole, even for private sales. Yes I get that a background check might not have changed anything in many of the mass shootings over the years. But there’s nothing to prove background checks haven’t averted mass shootings either.

It’s like truck safety. It’s hard to prove that we’ve saved lives. But I have to believe that the successes we’ve had at holding back bigger, longer trucks have saved lives, that getting onboard recorders to manage hours of service has saved lives. That just talking about safety around trucking issues with our friends and families has saved lives.

And geese too.

Just like background checks, we’ll never know whose life has been saved because a truck crash didn’t happen. We’ll never know how many live are saved because a background check kept a gun from someone ‘having a bad day.’

I know that someone intent on doing harm will get a gun regardless of regulations. Just like a driver, intent on making a profit can drive longer hours on less sleep and at greater speeds. But regulations keep the majority following safety protocols. And that saves lives.

Remnant

Think back, those of you my age or older, to when there were no seatbelt requirements. When they started being required we protested. They infringed our freedom to drive with wild abandonment. (It was the 60s after all.) But seatbelts saved lives and eventually we adjusted.

Background checks on all gun purchases can save lives, and those of us that want to own guns can adjust.

I know, I know, change is hard.

So what was the internal debate I’ve been struggling with? It was whether to bring this topic up at all. But two mass killings in a week are hard to ignore. One mass killing should be hard to ignore. Our government needs to stop sticking to party lines and have an honest debate.

Reflections

I think we are more than ready to talk about this. And we deserve that discussion.

Pictures today are from a several mile walk I took yesterday at the Shiawasee Nature Preserve. They are straight from the camera, without any editing, because my Lightroom library is still full and useless. I chose these to share with you now, because I don’t know when I’ll be able to edit again. And I didn’t want you to miss a bit of beauty during all the horrific news these days.

Sunrise

Let’s hope it’s a new day in Congress.

PS: I think you’ll have to click on these images to really see them, they seem pretty small in the finished product! Darn WordPress anyway. 🙂


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Why listen to the other side?

Trucks and guns. Both are supported by huge organizations with deep pockets, organizations that donate heavily to congressional campaigns. Organizations that expect their contributions to protect their interests.

I’ve been fighting the uphill battle of anti-truck safety issues for a very long time. And as I watch the unfolding events after this latest mass shooting I am reminded once again that those fighting for gun law reform are climbing a similar mountain. A friend re-posted an article about the progress gun law reformers have made joining forces and gaining support. It sounds familiar, though with the media coverage mass shootings get it looks like their cause is getting more celebrity support and funding than our mission has to date. Still, even with funding, fighting the NRA, just like fighting the ATA, will always be a David and Goliath battle.

I’ve been thinking about these battles, ours against big trucking pushing anti-safety agendas, theirs against fervent gun owners pushing gun rights at all costs. If I’ve learned anything in my fight it’s that there is not always clear and obvious right and wrong. Sometimes, but not always. And I’ve learned that time spent listening to the other side without letting trigger words wash over my mind and emotions is worth the effort.

But both sides need to listen without talking over the top of each other.

What I’m seeing on television, as usual, is that no one is listening to anyone else. Everyone is talking loudly about their point of view. Maybe that’s good television, but it’s not going to resolve anything. We have learned that on some issues we need to work with truck companies, and I think there are going to be issues in the gun control fight where both sides have to compromise for the good of everyone.

But no one will be able to figure out where compromise is possible as long as both sides are busy building walls and flinging grenades of accusations, some true, some not, over those walls. In order to make progress and make the world a little safer everyone needs to look for ways to work together. These are complicated issues, with heavily entrenched views.

Nothing is easy when big industries and lots of money is at stake. But there’s always more than one route to problem resolution. We need to work together to find those options. We can’t continue on the way we are, arguing loudly, resolving nothing, the chasm between sides growing wider and deeper. We need to listen to each other, recognize the kernels of compromise hidden in the rhetoric and begin the difficult work.

Change is hard.