Finding answers together

How do you try and explain the unexplainable? How do you make sense of something where logic and reason were never part of the equation?

Seventeen lives cut short, hundreds of family members and friends in mourning, tens of thousands of Americans in shock and millions worldwide with just one question — Why?

I woke up Thursday morning wondering if there was anything of value I could add to the discussion about what happened in Florida on Wednesday. I admit I don’t have any definitive answers.

That’s because for every idea — “more gun control,” “everyone should have a gun,” “more mental health services,” “armed guards in front of every school,” “more police,” “give teachers guns,” “ban all assault weapons,” “make Congress do something,” ” more intensive background checks,” etc. — there will be a response as to why that doesn’t work.

But I do believe the answer lies somewhere in the middle of all these suggestions. It’s not a complete ban on weapons or arming everyone; it’s not just recognizing the need for increased mental health services or making sure there are increased security measures at every school, movie theater, workplace, church, convenience store. It’s letting go of this idea that it’s an all or nothing proposition — you know the argument — only my suggestion has merit. What can we do collectively in finding solutions?

Another part of this story is that the outrage, and maybe this is just my perception, only seems limited to mass casualties?

Every day in the United States, someone is killed by gun violence — whether it’s an incident in Chicago or closer to home like Des Moines or elsewhere in Iowa.

Domestic disturbance calls, drive-by shootings, innocent victims caught in the crossfire or the numerous law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Where’s the outrage there?

Maybe it’s the shear numbers at one time that gives us pause. But every life has value and whether it’s 17 or 2 or 1 — those are more than numbers. Every number equals a human being — someone whose gifts and talents, their hearts, their souls — have been extinguished for no other reason than someone else selfishly choosing to end their time on Earth.

In these situations, we often hear about the bravery and heroic acts displayed during these times of tragedy.

In Florida, the national media quickly focused their attention on the school’s assistant football coach/security guard — Aaron Feis — who shielded students and whose final act saved their lives, but ended his.

There’s no question he was a hero, but I wonder what he would want his legacy to be? Or for that matter, any of the thousands of shooting victims who have become crime statistics?

My guess is that that most of them wouldn’t want to be remembered as martyrs, but rather as a touchstone to what we need to do together as a society to stop and/or prevent these senseless acts.

I know there’s been a lot of criticism about asking for prayers for those lost and for those they have left behind. “Action, not prayers,” critics say.

I understand the frustration, because we haven’t taken any substantive steps toward finding solutions.

But I do believe in prayer. And when I get down on my knees tonight, I will pray for guidance, enlightenment and insight into what we need to do TOGETHER to prevent another Florida, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Littleton, Colo., Westerville, Ohio … the list is just too long.

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Contact Jeff Hutton at 641-753-6611 or jhutton@timesrepublican.com