01/12/13 — Truth isn't easy: Be afraid of politicians looking for a political fix to a social concern

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Truth isn't easy: Be afraid of politicians looking for a political fix to a social concern

Enough. No more charades. No more soundbites and made-for-television press releases.

Let's get serious -- and real -- about violence, guns and the safety of this nation's citizenry.

The ongoing discussion of gun control in this country -- and the task force assembled by Vice President Joe Biden -- are beginning to look like more of a show pony parade than a real interest in stopping the violence that pervades this country.

If it weren't, when the head of the video game industry says that there is research saying his games do not promote unhealthy views and interest in violence, someone should have done a spit take at the table.

And, perhaps there would have been a few more people at that same table -- or a different kind of call to action, like telling some of the directors of the country's most violent and gratuitously brutal Hollywood wonders that their films would be classified under a new rating, "NC-18" -- NO ONE under the age of 18 admitted.

But that would be harder and really address the concerns this nation should have about its direction and its future.

There is work that needs to be done on gun laws. No question. There are ways to make the system more efficient and ways to ensure that legal weapons can get into the hands of responsible owners. But it is a decision for the people, not politicians.

And if the recent pronouncement that an executive order might be coming from the president regarding gun usage doesn't scare the pants off you, it should.

But even that will not eliminate violence and acts by people who are nothing short of crazy.

Because it is not just about guns.

The reason we are talking about high-capacity magazines and strengthening the application procedures for guns is not because we think that if those measures are in place, there will be no more violence in this country.

It is because that is low-hanging fruit.

What is much tougher is dealing with the culture of violence that darkens this country. We have children playing games adults shudder at, disturbed individuals that their families cannot control and movies that take blood as sport.

We need more movies with messages other than graphic violence, more inspiration and more control over what our children are exposed to as they enter their impressionable teenage years.

And, yes, if parents are not willing to police that sort of thing, there should be guidelines in place to help them -- even if Hollywood loses billions of dollars on the next slasher film.

And when we have finished all that, we need to talk seriously about the mental health system and reaching out to families who are dealing with mentally ill children and who have nowhere to turn.

That's right folks, we need to repair some of the damage that we have done to responsibility, common sense and families.

That's what we need -- and quickly.

Instead of fighting over prayer in schools, perhaps we could make it possible to have prayers that lift up a community and a classroom -- instead of tearful support for families who are suffering at a loss too great to bear.

Perhaps we need to get our priorities straight.

So, talk about guns, laws and mental health concerns.

But then talk about the elephant in the room -- the world we have created and the moral values and safeguards we have discarded.

Talk about a world where a 9-year-old is facing a felony theft charge -- and why that shouldn't happen, not in 2013.

Deal with the issues that are not so easy to talk about.

That way, the discussion will be real, fruitful and a step forward in making sure no family has to bury their 7-year-old again.

That's a task force worthy of supporting.

The only question? Is there anyone in Washington with the guts to stand up, square his or her shoulders and raise the subject.

Only time will tell.

Published in Editorials on January 12, 2013 11:12 PM