Thankfully, Molokai is not a microcosm of America. Here, guns are are for hunting. In America, only a fraction of gun owners hunt. In America, for the most part, guns are about power and control. The desire for that sense of power and control comes from a place of fear.
It is America’s culture of violence and easy access to guns that led to the latest mass shooting, and all of the ones that preceded it. This young man in Florida was born in the wake of the Columbine massacre, and since he was two years old, America has been at war. Since he was two years old, America has been using violence to ‘solve’ its problems. This young man was certainly very troubled, but rather than compassion and help, he was expelled. He was a ticking time bomb, let loose in a country filled with guns. What he didn’t already know about guns and violence, he certainly learned as a member of JROTC.
The NRA is right, guns aren’t the problem. America is the problem. This culture of fear, this culture of revenge, this culture of violence, this American culture is the problem. As Dr. King said, violence begets violence. Violence hasn’t worked in the fight against ‘terrorism’, it has only amplified the violence. Seventeen years after 9/11, we’re no longer afraid, we’re paranoid. We’ve lost track of all the countries we’re bombing due to this paranoia. It was violent foreign policy that led to the terrorism of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, and it was the violent response to that terrorism that has led to the chaos in the world we see today.
This young man should never breathe free air again. This is a horrific thing he has done. But people will be calling for his blood, calling for the state of Florida to kill him, calling for revenge. Calling for violence as a response yet again, to violence. And the circle will remain unbroken.
The only difference between people all over the world is that some live their lives with aloha, and some don’t. Most people can change, but if we expect them to change, if we expect the lost sheep to rejoin the flock, we have to have genuine, unconditional love and aloha. We have to learn to live without fear, to forgive rather than seek revenge. We have to be the change.