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I can't hear you - 4/13/2015

I can’t hear you. I haven’t heard you in several weeks, but perhaps it’s not your fault. Possibly the problem is that I’ve aged and my hearing has so diminished, that when I perceive silence, there may be a great clamor, a pouring of outrage and waves of public indignation, but I beg you to please speak louder, at least for my sake.

I know your voice must be there, but I need all the help you can give me to reinforce my notion that inside all of us is a sense of inner goodness and genuine concern for one another. You see, I have the notion that life really does have meaning, that people count and that, when all is said and done, good common sense prevails in the end. That’s my basic belief. It essentially says the world can be a positive place. But, your silence tends to erode that thought.

In the past, I’ve heard you as you’ve fought, pro and con, for racial and religious equality. I’ve heard you voice your position with regard to pro-life. I also heard you speak, quite loudly sometimes, against injustice, while you championed compassion and understanding.

I’ve seen you take stands that were difficult, but you stood strong, despite the effort it took and the criticism it evoked. I’ve heard of you, no matter your religion or ethnic background, giving aid to individuals who have experienced difficulties due to natural disasters, such as wild brush fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and landslides.

I’ve read about a myriad of individuals who have had their Christmas presents stolen from their doorsteps or lost everything they owned due to a home fire and, in every instance, you responded. It didn’t matter whether you were Republican or Democrat, black, red, yellow or what religion you believed in, I’ve seen you come to the forefront and contribute and care for people who were in need, and I’ve said to myself, “there’s goodness in people.” In fact, I still believe that, fundamentally, despite so many of your words or actions to the contrary, that there is goodness inside each of us.

But, where are you now? In the past, I’ve watched you support and provide free lunches for the poor and create means by which underprivileged individuals could enter and graduate from college. I’ve seen you pull together, guard, protect and clean up your neighborhoods. I’ve watched you put up signs that say “Caution! Children at Play,” and I can’t begin to count how many of you, on a daily basis, pack your children’s lunches with healthy foods and send them off to school, only after ensuring that they have their homework in their backpacks and seen to it that they dressed appropriately so as to help them avoid ridicule or criticism.

You take them to peewee football practice, baseball fields, soccer games, gymnastic clubs, judo, dojos and swimming pools, to hone their athletics skills and give them opportunity to exercise. Though I personally disagree, I’ve heard you loudly complain when a 4-year-old kisses a 5-year-old in class, because it’s possibly the beginning of later sexual problems, instead of just evidence of normal sexual curiosity. I’ve watched you excessively protect and overindulge your children because you care too much. I’ve seen you filled with pride or despair, depending on how your kids performed at musical recitals, spelling bees and Little League games.

Yet, here you are today, faced with a new threat that frightens me to death, but no one says a word about it. That threat is the open freedom to carry arms on our college campuses. Have we lost our minds? We send our kids off in the car or to college in their own cars and our words are, “drive safe, use good judgment, don’t be impulsive, don’t race and don’t try to prove your car is faster than someone else’s. Drive with the good sense that we’ve tried to instill in you. Don’t, whatever you do, text while you drive. Practice restraint and caution. Utilize the good judgement G-d gave you. Make your peers, those who will lift you up rather than pull you down and, most of all, make your purpose at school your studies. That’s what will propel you toward your long-term goals. Finally, be watchful, be careful and be well, because I love you and want to share the rest of my life with you.”

You say all those things and yet, in Texas, we are a step away from allowing free open carrying of guns on all college campuses. Are we crazy? Isn’t it bad enough so many youngsters are abusing drugs that impair their performance? That alcohol isn’t the exception, it’s the rule. That kids, on a daily basis, are encouraged to have sexual parties, and sexual conquests and that Greek-letter societies endorse these experiences.

Here we are, allowing our youngsters, who primarily, because of their immaturity, can’t control their own sexual desires, their excessive use of alcohol or even the songs they chant regarding racism and bigotry, to openly carry guns so they can protect or express themselves.

For crying out loud, people, use the good common sense you are supposed to have and think about protecting your children one step further. Don’t let this happen. Keep our places of learning safe and peaceful. Will that definitely curtail shootings? No. Will it stop people who truly want, for whatever reasons to carry guns? No. But, it might prevent an impulsive young man from shooting a girlfriend who jilted him or a professor whose class he flunked.

This so-called freedom will only wind up hurting others and ruining our children’s lives as well. Why? Because most of them are too immature, too impulsive, too lacking in self-control at this time in their lives to exercise restraint and caution. Their emotions are all on the gas pedal, instead of the brake. Consequently, they can’t put into gear the good common sense they may possess.

Please think about this problem and whether or not you agree with me, I hope that you will speak out regarding the issue, because your silence is deafening to me. It strongly suggests that you concur with what, in my opinion, is this absurd decision that, while packing your child’s lunchbox you also need to ensure that his or her pistol is fully loaded.

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