May 11, 2023

If I Had A Hammer

By Glenn

Have you ever heard the saying, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”?  I’ve heard it all my life.  It served me as one of those wise sayings: use the right tool for a job.

My dad would certainly agree.  He would get so angry when we used a pair of pliers or a crescent wrench instead of a properly fitting combination wrench.  Even when a tool had multiple uses, like a crescent wrench, I was taught to use the more specialized tool.

It turns out, however, that historically speaking, the phrase “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” is not that old after all.  Most versions of it come from the 1960s in psychological studies. 

It shouldn’t have surprised me.  The 1960s is a decade known for breaking with old habits.  Women and African Americans fought against discriminatory laws and won.  For centuries, discrimination was the hammer used to beat down every problem nail.

It took listening to women and minorities to find Civil Rights solutions.  Those solutions came in the form of new laws that outlawed discriminatory behavior.  As Dr. Martin Luther King knew when he marched on Washington, government was a solution.

Today, we have a gun violence problem.  We are in fact on track to have a record number of mass shootings in America like the one in Allen, Texas on May 6. As reported in the Guardian, “the US is on pace for 60 mass killings this year. There were 31 in 2019, 21 in 2020, 28 in 2021 and 36 in 2022.”

The conservative solution to this problem is more guns.  Conservative politicians have flooded our streets with unregulated weapons designed for a battlefield.  It should come as no surprise that they have turned our schools, malls, and churches into war zones.

In Stark, Louisiana a 14-year-old girl simply wanted to play hide and seek in her neighborhood.  It is a game my friends and I played all through the summers growing up.  Instead of fun, she won a bullet in the head.  Luckily, she lived.  Will the next child?

Kaylin Gillis was not as lucky.  On April 15, 2023, her boyfriend used someone’s driveway to turn around.  The homeowner shot her dead. 

Every statistic shows that more unregulated guns have led to more shootings and more death.  Clearly handing guns out like candy is not the right tool to stop the rise in gun violence.  We are not going in the right direction.

There are sensible and more effective tools in our box to fight gun crime.  There must be universal background checks for every gun purchase.  A person carrying a gun in public must have a license and training. All gun owners must have liability insurance for each gun just like all car owners have insurance for each car.

We can have a “well-regulated militia.”  We can protect the lives of innocents Americans in schools, malls, and churches.  It is up to us to tell conservative politicians to stop dropping the hammer on our health and safety.  We need a new tool.

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