Political polarization forces us to focus on the consequences of gun violence which have reached intolerable levels for most Americans. It is particularly evident watching America’s youth rise up in protest. It is an issue of great urgency which must be addressed but we see a disturbing level of inactivity and complacency from our political leadership.
Our focus on the consequences and what appear to be the obvious solutions only takes us part way. Too often we fail to recognize the political and economic narratives that drive the polarization of politicized issues. That political narrative is one of individual freedom. A corporate owned media has persuaded us to believe that guns represent civil liberties and self-preservation. The data supporting that narrative is extremely sparse when compared to the overwhelming sacrifice of victims and families impacted by gun violence.
That narrative supports the manufacture and sale of guns, as well as the broader issues of global imperialism, weapons exports and the militarization of our society. It undermines the reality of a society that has lost faith in our government, fostering a disturbing realization that our government can no longer protect us. The counter-narrative is not one of banning guns but rather restoring accountability in our political process, equity in the institutions of American justice, and balance in our economy. Perhaps then, we can begin to accept that guns will never make us free.