We can't legislate enough or hire enough cops to solve our gun violance problem. We need to have a different conversation - one that says "we first and foremost value having our babies go to bed safe, warm and fed." Whether we register or ban automatics and handguns, we are on a social trajectory that can't be solved by ammo counts.
We have to stop telling ourselves stories that keep us on the rat wheel of a sick cultural story with horrific endings. We can honor the dead in Connecticut, who aren't all that much different from the dead city kids who got caught in crossfires, by demanding that media tell new stories using a lens for greatest good.
There's something very wrong in how hard it is to live with ourselves. Americans represent 5% of the world's population but we have 25% of the world's prisoners. What's the connection between those statistics and 20 babies being killed in Connecticut?
We're negotiating politics and law with too little concern for civility and justice. We tell relentless stories about ourselves in the media that say we're ruthless, violent people and news anchors ask questions of two sides of the same dysfunctional box. I'd like to bring forward new perspective for new stories that reflect our interdependency - that help us remember that those are all of our dead babies in Connecticut.
The recent United Nations unanimous General Assembly call for a New Economic Paradigm based on Happiness and Wellbeing put an international stake in the ground. The barely represented values-driven sector, which pulls from left, right, up, down and center, needs to claim its voice and demand that media ask different questions. Because whoever is telling the stories is who's controlling the culture.
An evening of prime time tv is a good reflection of why politicians who were elected to preserve such a rotten interpretation of freedom are having such a hard time doing anything productive. They're not functioning on the solid ground of values - they're putting duct tape on horribly antiquated ideas of democracy. The truth is they can't just legislate the changes we need, although they could get out of the way of it a lot better.
What can I do? Every time I think or talk about the heartbreak in Connecticut, rather than consider more, better or different laws or politics, I can shift the conversation to ask:
What child can I bring comfort to today? What accountability will I hold my elected official to? What resources are going toward symptoms and what can I do about redirecting those resources proactively toward safe, fed and warm kids? What news program will I switch off because it's proliferating a story I don't want to live in? What contribution can I make toward a new story emerging? How can I shift from talking about guns and the pain that still rips at my heart to honoring those lives as a wake up call for a new kind of conversation about fundamental changes that almost seem too big to think about?
When we ask new questions, we'll get different story content. We have to wrestle with our personal participation in the deadliness of our system and make choices toward personal and civic activities that they are geared toward greatest good - a good that can never be fully defined but makes a nonetheless rock solid platform for creating a world with liberty and justice for all.