What’s the common thread between Greece’s financial difficulties and gun violence in the United States? It is that both are problems for which the people of both countries willingly try to justify to factors beyond their control, until they realize that the solution lies within themselves.
It is not a ludicrous thought. Greeks borrowed for decades beyond their means and everyone took advantage – to the point where railway workers were receiving bonuses for washing their hands and public sector employees received up to 14 monthly wages in a calendar year. When the bill came, the Greeks came out to protest, clashed with police, had several elections, blamed Germany and compared their hardships to a Nazi occupation, but through and through refused to look at themselves in the mirror and admit that borrowing beyond their means is a national problem, because the vast majority of people benefited from the arrangement over many years.
In the United States, every other day we hear about a shooting in which innocent people die. The incident in Aurora, Colorado, is the latest tragedy in this black statistic. Yet, shootings are not constrained by socio-economic indicators, geography, ethnicity or demographic; they happen in schools, army bases and cinemas. The debate always takes the same path: on the one hand is the camp that wants the protection of the Second Amendment, which protects the right to bear arms, and at its base lies the right of the individual to do so. This is a fundamental principle to American psyche in general. On the other hand are the gun regulation people who wish to see legislative solutions to curb gun violence. Yet, an example out of Canada: gun registry was a dismal failure in this country. A familiar refrain echoes in this vicious circle: guns don’t kill people, people kill people. True, but the murder rate would probably decrease significantly if anybody with the intent to kill anyone else did not have a gun at their disposal.
The point is this: gun violence will not be solved with this debate. It begins with our dear neighbors getting their heads out of the sand. First, individuals can never be independent, because they live in societies and the decision of one person impacts those around him or her in some way and extent, and vice versa. Then comes the difficult part: admitting that gun violence is a national problem. It is a social problem. It is a problem that concerns both individuals and society.
Greeks are slowly accepting their reality and coming to terms with it. It’s time for Americans to do the same about guns.