When I was a kid my dad gave me a shovel and told me to go dig out all the thistles in the pasture.  I asked, “Why can’t I use a scythe and cut them off at ground level?”  “Because”, my Dad replied,  “If you just cut the top off you don’t get to the roots and it will just grow back, then you got to go out and do it all over again.  One must get to the root of the problem.”   And here lies the problem with so much of our violence today.  We want laws to take things away, or make it impossible to get, but that’s only cutting it off ground level, the problem will continue to grow back, unless we get to the root of the problem.

I’ve been in a discussion on the internet recently about gun abuse and control.  So many are in favor of getting rid of all guns as these people think this will get rid of violence, but I ask you, by getting rid of an object will the violence end?  I really doubt it.  A good example is our prison systems.  Here there are some of the strictest rules and regulations about almost anything, yet if a person wants to kill someone, there is always a way to get it done.  While going though an explosive and booby trap course in the military, my instructor said the only limitation is our mind – which is true.  So if there is more than one way to kill someone, then maybe we should focus on something else- morals.

When growing up my Dad and Mom were believers in punishment.  Yes I got the end of a spanking many times, but looking back they were all deserved.  One think I always remember was when Dad went to dish out some punishment, he always said, “This hurts me more than it does you.”  As I was receiving it I never understood how it could hurt him worse, but it was only after I grew up and left home I then understood what he meant.  He loved me so much that he didn’t want to punish me, but he had to.  My Dad never lost his temper when punishment was given, and after wards always had some good words and advice to give.  It wasn’t always a spanking, he had several ways to punish me or my brother, but whatever he used, he never backed down and Mom always supported him and the other way around.

It’s not only time, but it is quality time spent with kids that help shape their values and thinking.  You can always be around your kids, but unless you really spend time listening and understanding them it makes no difference.  I grew up with a core set of values:  respect for other, value of life, believe in God, do unto others as you would have others do unto you, and many more which were not only taught but lived in our house hold.  Even if it was only the ones I learned in Boy Scouts – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent ( all recalled from memory). 

And I guess one of the biggest things is belief in one’s self.  If we don’t believe in ourselves, have the self confidence we are able to pull ourselves up by our boot straps when life get rough and going get tough, then we are going to fail.  On the internet one person wrote we need more physiological help for kids today, this will help gun violence to decline.  Well maybe so, but maybe if we start before all the “help” is needed then things may turn out different.  There is no perfect world and no clear cut answer.  Maybe we need to be looking at history and be asking, What makes things so different today than thirty years ago?

One thing I do know.  We can write all the laws we want.  We can ban all the guns, knives, bows, arrows and what have you, but unless we do something to instill some good morals and change the thinking of people, then we will continue to have a raise in violence.  If you look at the gun violence where many are wounded or killed, research behind the scenes, you will see there is a plan.  These people didn’t all of a sudden happen to do it, no, they planned out what they were going to do.  So it stands to reason if guns weren’t available another form of killing would be found.  I could name many ways to cause mass destruction, but I won’t.  My point is we need to start looking at ourselves and how we relate with others.  What are our priorities in relationship to the quality of time spent shaping the minds and values of kids and other we meet?  There is always going to be the difference between the gun owners and those who think a gun shouldn’t be allowed, but I think more time and energy needs to be put into looking at how core values and beliefs effect those around us and relate to the onset of violence.  Sure we’re not in a perfect world and to be sure violence will always be present, but if we focus more at the root of the problem and how to correctly solve it, then I think the results will be seen. 

The plant is called violence.  You can cut the stem (weapons of choice) off, but unless you get to the root of the problem, the stem will grow back!