Today is the 218th day of 2019. So far this year there have been 297 mass shootings. I am defining a mass shooting as when 4 or more are shot, either hurt or killed. That means daily we have a mass shooting in America. I’m taking these numbers from www.MassShootingTracker.com. It’s a crowdsourced database of shootings.

Of course I offer my condolences and sympathies to those who lost loved ones. I don’t want to ignore, minimize or devalue the deaths of the 349 people who have been killed so far this year, or the approximate 300 more that statistically, will also be killed this year. What I do want to say is, this now daily occurrence, is not a gun control issue.

Sure, if we locked up all the guns we’d have far fewer shootings. But a) that is not going to happen, and b) who believes we could actually expect compliance with either a demand to return all the guns, or that we could actually collect them?

This is why gun control is a losing argument when it is offered as a comprehensive solution to the  epidemic of mass shootings. Then there’s the bigger issue that only law abiding citizens will obey the law, and outlaws will ignore it. I offer as proof of this, the fact that rocket launchers are regularly smuggled into the occupied territories in Israel, which is one of the most security heavy places on the planet.

With that said, I do believe that we could and should do more to make sure access to the higher end, rapid fire arms is restricted. There is a world of difference between my right to own a handgun, and an assault rifle. One of them has a pragmatic use in my life, and if I choose to have a handgun in my home, and choose to shoot an intruder with it, that is, and should remain, a Constitutionally protected right.

We should remember that the framers of the Constitution believed in certain rights, but they also recognized that rights come with responsibilities. These were men who were educated in the belief that there was a natural order, that some were more capable than others and that there should be qualifications for those who were exercising control over society. Granted they had bigoted and biased, sexist and racist views that we eschew in today’s world. But the fact remains that there were buffers and barriers placed on the exercising of rights with the thought that it was for the betterment of society. The question of who should determine who the leaders are, has historically been fraught with class struggles, education and wealth.

The idea that there should be some base level of qualification for voters was the stated reason that has been used to disenfranchise generations of both poor blacks, but also poor whites. Today that battle continues and remains one more element in a society that has a cancer running through it.

We are in trouble and few people are talking or writing about the systemic problems beyond the headlines. It’s quick and easy to stake out a position and defend it from the supposedly safe spot of moral outrage. But we have to dig deep at some point and address the root causes of what is eating away at the fabric of our society.

I’ve been in the trenches of family court for the past 20 years, and what I’m seeing there, is being reflected in the tragedies we are reading about today. We have taken a stance on a collective level that victims are to elevated to a point of near reverence. That men are to be relegated to being financial providers and women are to be emotional providers and we ignore the needs of the child for both masculine and feminine role models. We have devalued the structure of families with the belief that the pursuit of personal pleasure is more important than contributing to a family unit, or society.

It has not been disclosed yet if these latest three mass shooters were products of the family court system that prevented them from having strong paternal figures in their lives – but I imagine it will be a big factor. There is a cancer in our society and it is masquerading as many things, gun control, abortion rights, sexual harassment – all of these are but symptoms I believe of a much deeper problem.

We need to create better informed, more stable individuals. We need to have a renewed sense of community, family and a desire to value each other. Until we remember that rights come with responsibilities, that pleasure comes with duties, and that in the grand scheme of things, we are only as important as the good we do in the world, we will continue to see these mass shootings with ever greater frequency.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist.  He welcomes your questions and comments.  He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra

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