LABOR & COUNTRY CHAPTER X -Guns
A policy challenge to the Democratic Party of the United States of America.
I've been spending a lot of time with my grandmother recently. Forced to bring several matriarchs under the same roof, now my grandmother stays with us twice a week in our small home to relieve some of the burden off my own mother. It has proven a wonderful mechanism to teach my young boy the importance of taking care of our own. I've found myself completely changed from my initial thoughts on retirement homes, now transfixed with the idea we're not handling our people with the same care on the way out that they gave us on the way in.
In the quiet moments of care not found in administering medicine, cleaning up, or delivering food is where I find my own purpose for life, suddenly apparent. My grandmother and son, a connection unexpectedly endearing seemingly taking care of one another, stumbling ahead as we all must do in the tumult and chaos of life.
My grandmother is a particularly strong figure though petite in stature. It is a wonder to watch the body wilt and the mind remain sharp, though surely slowed some. The soul and beliefs vivid as ever even as the struggles of common day tasks and memory between them become more difficult. Often over breakfast we'll share stories about how times and tools change, but the people don't. During breakfast one morning she told us a short story:
"When I was working as a telephone operator down in Columbus, my main job was to connect the lines between here and Europe. The local military bases in the area were one of the main customers, connecting bases across the sea. Some of the members of the unit, after finding out polite young women worked the lines, would call as a regular occurrence once word had got around that the operators were sometimes keen to talking. And boy we did. Those boys would call us up at all matters of the hours dreadfully homesick talking about just about anything and everything under the sun. I mean, they didn't have any other place to go. They didn't have anyone else to talk to. "
My eyes widened and I dropped my spoon. My mind was aloof from the flood of shootings streamed across my television screen, one occurring in an elementary school. The television being on was an uncommon occurrence in my household, made possible by my grandmother's visit. Nonetheless, conversations about my own son and how to deal with young children in this era of school shootings had left me in a dazed, cold space staring blankly at my oatmeal, barely listening to my own grandmother’s sweet words until I finally understood their meaning.
"The Scottish." I looked up at my grandma and wife staring at me with a confused look. "Those beautiful blimey bastards take care of their citizens with the ease of a phone call!" At this point I was now standing. "We're going to find them!" Like many of my liberal brothers and sisters, I was looking at research on the removal of both the guns and gun deaths from Scotland as a misnomer that somehow, they do something novel for their citizens. They have a great healthcare system. Shocker. One part of it, aptly named '111', is a project used to connect the public to their healthcare system. It is more than that though with the ability to get a myriad of services ready and available for their citizens. I was impressed by the way they care for their citizens as individuals, something to marvel that gets lost in the glitz and glamour.
I had been researching each shooting, sure incompetence or a lack of information sharing afoot, missing a clue that would point me to a way to reach our citizens, clearly in pain and acting out in unfathomably violent fashion. Our communities can no longer be so cavalier to think we are on a stable path with our citizens turning more nihilistic as the days pass. I'd like to replicate '11l' with American flair, a full stop shop integration of services needed commonly for most citizens at the click of a button. The idea that no matter how alone you feel there will always be someone out there ready to help. We would turn this into a national project, diving into the poorest or most at-risk neighborhoods and working our way-out giving citizens a number to call when 911 won't do.
Rather than 911 being many communities only line of defense, lifeline 111 will provide help when needed, no questions asked. Rides or advice? Need to get rid of mice? Google not enough and want to talk to someone nice? Lifeline 111 is a three digit call away to find someone to get you to the right place. Your fellow citizens do care and will be there when you need.
Made up of an expansive network located across the United States, lifeline 111 would provide an alternative to emergency lines without crisis experts and the perfect upgrade tool for communities looking to limit police encounters in circumstances when other types of specialists might be needed. Lifeline 111 never record initial conversations and a user’s information is never disseminated without express permission for things like ride requests or delivery of goods. Regular calls tasks and information can join calls and chats from people in distress with the specialized care of a local community with the support of a national network of specialists when called upon.
Lifeline 111, able to be dialed directly or one click away with a thorough, well-designed application, united with a network of unique providers with a well-known phone number and name. As a new unified service, we'd enable accreditation and training within the app for counselors, and as a way for fellow citizens, particularly those that wish to work from home, to easily make on the side income while simultaneously helping their fellow citizens. Perhaps your grandmother is lonely like mine, and longs for the feelings of purpose and warmth of helping others. Perhaps you're a single mother unable to make the balance between the cost of childcare and a full-time job make sense. We can help citizens while providing jobs and most importantly acting as a beacon to many feeling abandoned the nation over.
From research all the mass shooters we've witnessed do have one thing in common. They reached out to others, whether friends, family, coworkers, school personnel etc... We must find these people, not with the overzealous domineering reach of the federal government, but hopefully the simple gracious conversation of a stranger, looking only to help a weary stranger along the way. We will not reach them all, but we must try collectively. We must attempt something bold. If the government will not do it, then we will build it ourselves. We cannot live in a country forever frozen by this madness.
My fellow citizens we find ourselves in dangerous times. We cannot ask any citizen to disarm themselves when such treachery is afoot through our institutions. With cops murdering unarmed citizens. Of the wolves that walk among us licking their lips as we turn over the last weapons over to keep them from the door.
I understand the arguments against assault weapons, and I disagree. We must show our young citizen a different way to think about these tools. I ask my citizens to change the political battlefield to try to do something for our citizens when other methods politically unfeasible. Inaction is not an option.