Keeping It Simple, Stupid (Part II)

Assault RiflesI’m doing more thinking tonight… about the importance of not overthinking.

More specifically, I’m pondering the art of  keeping problem-solving simple, instead constructing complex rationales for avoiding fixing what’s wrong in our lives… and the world.

Overthinking to the point of inaction can happen for two basic reasons; Either you fundamentally don’t care much about accomplishing something, or you desperately care, but the challenge is so big and overwhelming you are worried you may fail.

The first one is easy;  You say you want to achieve something that is totally attainable, but you never do… because you never really knock yourself out.

You know what?  It’s OK to decide something isn’t important enough for you to put in the effort to accomplish it. We all have a million things we COULD do — and in many cases our friends are doing (or talking a lot about doing) those things, so we feel pressured. Do yourself (and the rest of us, who have to listen to you) a favor and admit it.

“I really don’t care about running a 10k, so I’m not going to schedule – then make elaborate excuses for skipping – training sessions anymore.”

Guess what?  Your friends and family have probably heard your excuses so many times, they KNOW you’ll never run that 10k.  So you aren’t fooling anyone.

Sometimes, though, we overthink as a way to avoid doing something critically important… because it’s really, really hard.  That became painfully obvious after Friday morning’s cinema massacre in Aurora, Colorado.

It took less than 24 hours for Americans to starting asking obvious questions, like HOW did the perpetrator get so many guns and explosives, and so much ammunition, without raising suspicion?  Could an assault weapon ban have prevented this tragedy?  Isn’t there a way to apply simple common sense to the “right to bear arms”?

Unfortunately by Sunday, the discussion had stalled.  It seemed to have been universally decided; What would be the point of resurrecting the gun control/gun safety argument?  It never goes anywhere.  It’s an election year.  The NRA is too powerful. Proposing change would be political suicide for any candidate.

No more excuses.  The gun lobby is HUGE and ridiculously influential, but we need to keep the conversation alive.

At an NRA convention in April, Mitt Romney said this in support of “gun rights”:

“We need a president who will stand up for the rights of hunters, sportsmen and those who seek to protect their homes and their families.”

Because, let’s face it.  When you hear words like “victimized”, “disenfranchised” and “discriminated against” what groups immediately spring to mind?  Hunters and sportsmen, of course.

Where are the clearer heads, asking the basic questions?

  • Does anyone honestly believe that the founding fathers intended all Americans to be armed to the teeth as a basic human right?  That was a time of citizen militias, folks.  They were not worried about individual rights.  America needed an army.  The framers of The Constitution were worried about England and France.  And maybe witches.  Oh, and bears. That’s it.
  • What is so sporting about a high-powered military-style assault weapon with a 100-shot magazine like the one used by the Aurora shooter? Hunters don’t need such a weapon.  Neither do romantic cowboys.  Alan Ladd (a.k.a my reformed gun-slinger hero Shane) did just fine without one.
  • If concealed weapons are so great for  personal protection, how is it possible that no one among the moviegoers in Aurora managed to take down the killer?  Here’s your answer:  This argument is rubbish, concocted by the gun lobby to terrify you and convince you that you NEED to buy lots of guns to keep your family safe.  The truth is that — unless you are a trained Navy Seal — if someone enters your home wielding a high-powered assault rifle, you don’t stand a chance.  I don’t care what kind of weapon you have in your nightstand.

Gun ownership results in more violence, not less.  A recent study in The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance found that when someone has a gun, he or she is more likely to believe an object held by someone else is also a gun.  In other words, when you have a firearm… all the world’s a burglar.  (Just ask George Zimmerman.)

I hope the tragedy in Aurora will renew the debate about gun control in earnest.  I’m not even calling for a gun ban, just serious legislation outlawing the kinds of high-powered weapons and arsenals that no sane, law-abiding person needs.

Don’t tell me there are millions of guns out there, and the task is too monumental.  It’s a matter of life and death, and we have to try.

Let’s not overthink it.  Let’s just do it.

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