Can you have it both ways?

Well, we’ve had quite a bit of activity in this country the last few weeks. We also have a rare opportunity to do some comparison learning on a very touchy subject. Everyone is well aware of the Mollie Tibbetts case and the discussion that created. The poor girl was taken way too soon and in a community where this stuff doesn’t typically happen. Most recently we have the Jacksonville shooting. A young man who decided to open fire in a mall during a video game tournament. Two completely different circumstances that seem completely unrelated to each other. What if I told you I think these two cases are socially connected in a very roundabout, if not impossible, way?

The shooting in Jacksonville was completely senseless just like all of the other shootings not done in self defense that go on in this world. Another troubled white kid deciding to take his problems out on everyone else. The regular narrative began buzzing immediately. We have one side of the fence giving their ever so effective ‘thoughts and prayers’ and the other side screaming for gun control. It’s the same song and dance every single time. I’ll hold my breath while all the changes happen. If you read one of my first posts on my page you’ll see my thoughts on gun control so I’m not going to get in to that here.

I am going to pick on the gun control folks here for a moment. It’s not really picking on, it’s also not meant to take anything away from their argument, it just plays well in to my narrative if I do it this way. Along with the call for more gun control comes the value of human life argument. If we save just one life it will all be worth it. I’ve seen that in tweets, I’ve heard it on TV, and I’ve heard it on the radio. The ‘just save one life’ argument is always really interesting to me. When you put that much value in to one life then we can start talking about all sorts of things that are dangerous for people to be doing. We’re going to have to start banning a lot of stuff if saving one life is worth changing the dynamic of the entire country. Let’s not go down that rabbit hole yet. Let’s switch gears to Mollie.

Mollie wasn’t killed by an AR-15. Mollie wasn’t killed in a mass shooting. Unfortunately Mollie was killed by an illegal immigrant. She didn’t provoke this man. She was jogging, he approached her, she declined his advance, he was persistent, and she threatened to call the police. At some point he claims he snapped and blacked out. I’m actually inclined to believe him. That’s for a different time. Mollie was then subdued, put in a trunk, at some point stabbed, taken to a field, and covered in corn stalks. It’s a tragic end to a young girl’s life with such a promising future. Sadly, rather than remembering this girl’s life the major news outlets are turning this is to a political football. An illegal immigrant killed another innocent person, and this time it happened right in the middle of a heated immigration debate and in a state that is always the centerpiece of any National Election.

If you’ve gone back and read my thoughts on gun control and were surprised by that then you’re going to be surprised by this as well. I believe our immigration laws need to be more user friendly. I promise to expand on that later. Here’s where we talk about a mass shooting and Mollie being related. Why hasn’t there been a big shift in the minds of people who are for relaxed borders? Are we to believe that Mollie’s life wasn’t as valuable as those playing in a video game tournament? Because if we need to reform gun laws to just save one life, wouldn’t we want to now make sure we reform immigration laws to just save one life? Putting so much value in to one life when it’s taken by a gun means that we need to put that much value in any life taken as a result of a major crime. If we didn’t have so many illegal immigrants then lives could be saved. If lives can be saved then it must be worth doing.

How far down that rabbit hole do we want to go? Do we need to ban fast food and everything that may be considered unhealthy since heart disease is the biggest killer in America? Are we going to ban alcohol considering the number of drunk driving deaths? How about cigarettes? Where do we stop? It’s that classic case of everyone having the right answer when it’s something they don’t like. If you don’t like guns it’s easy to argue against them. If you have the belief that illegal immigrants are stealing your job then it’s easy to argue against immigration. This situation does allow for a serious gut check on what side of the argument you’re going to be on. Every Republican running for office has used Mollie’s case as part of their immigration argument and yet they scoff at stricter gun laws in light of another shooting. Democrats are screaming for stricter gun laws yet refuse to directly address the fact that an illegal immigrant committed a violent crime and should call for stricter border control. Where are the candidates that are calling for both?

I would like to see gun laws get a little stricter. I don’t understand how a kid who was in a mental hospital twice has access to a gun. He was also on some pretty heavy medication. Sorry, but I think your guns should be held by local law enforcement until you get a mental health evaluation after you’re off your meds. Wait, scratch that, I’m not sorry, that’s just the way it should be. I know he didn’t meet the time requirement in the hospital that the state has in the law regarding gun purchases, but maybe there could be a visit requirement as well. He went twice, that’s twice too many in my book. I don’t feel comfortable with someone owning a firearm in that case. Unfortunately the legal system will often use the age of 18 as a magic number. Suddenly everything that person did as a child or young adult doesn’t matter and they get a clean slate. Too many warning signs can’t be seen because we have to protect the children. While we’re protecting mentally unstable and sometimes violent children, who’s protecting everyone else from a possible outburst from that individual after the age of 18? Nothing magically changed for me at 18. I don’t think a person’s age changes much of anything. Everyone matures at different times. Some people never do. I don’t think it’s responsible of us as a society to put deadly weapons in to the hands of previously violent or mentally unstable individuals.

Immigration is a very complicated thing. Most immigrants, even the illegal ones, aren’t causing issues. By percentage they don’t cause any more issues in our country than the citizens who are here legally. To be honest I see a lot of these immigrants as a necessity. They’re not stealing jobs when the American people won’t do the jobs the immigrants are willing to do. I don’t see people rushing to work in fields for minimum wage. I don’t see people rushing to work in the restaurant industry for a low wage and long hours. As much as these immigrants cost the economy they also help stabilize it. Do you really think that a restaurant is going to stay open if it has to start paying people $12 – $14 an hour to wash dishes? It will stay open if you’re willing to pay $20 for that burger and fries, and $35 for a pork chop with sides. Yes, that’s what it will come to. We have a broken immigration system. We can’t keep track of those who try to go through the process legally and we can’t stop those who are coming in illegally. There has to be a way to balance that out. I believe a lot of these immigrants that come in can help this country more than they hurt it. I can’t imagine the 11 million Mexican immigrants are ruining it for the 390 million American citizens.

I don’t think this post is going to change anyone’s mind. I hope it starts a conversation that leads to a compromise of what can be done. I don’t think Mollie’s death should be used in anyone’s political campaign. I don’t think the Jacksonville shooting proves that all guns are bad and they should all be banned. I think both of these cases prove that this country needs to have some conversations that lead to solutions. Screaming at each other across picket lines isn’t solving any problems. Screaming over someone who is trying to get their point across isn’t helping. Idling sitting by and waiting for change also isn’t helping. What do you want the country to learn from these tragic situations?





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