Complex Solutions


              There are many things in this world that make me angry.  Bad drivers.  Stupid people.  Politicians (all of them).  The movie version of any book.  Bad drivers.  (Seriously?  The turn signal is right there.)  And simple solutions.  There’s a phrase that comes to mind about simple solutions and complex problems, how the former doesn’t play well with the latter.  However, that phrase implies that somewhere in the universe there are simple problems, which I have found just isn’t the case.

              Take, for instance, parking on campus.  There aren’t enough parking spots so we just need to add more parking.  Simple problem, simple solution, right?  But there’s the question of where the money for such a project comes from, getting permits, contracting the work, not to mention where to put the spots.  Or we could reallocate the parking based on the variety of parking passes and have all the commuters park at the furthest lots from campus so that I have a ten-minute walk on top of a twenty-minute drive.  It’s not a great solution as it can only stave off the congestion issues, but it is working, I suppose.

              But I’m not here to b*tch about parking.  There was another shooting at Ft. Hood and social media is alive with simple solutions.  They pop up every time something like this happens.  And by “this” I mean someone inexplicably deciding that the solution to all their problems involves hurting other people.  If more people had guns, they could clearly identify and take out a shooter without hurting any innocent bystanders, right?  No, we have to take guns away from everyone so that shootings logically can’t happen since we all know that people never break the law.  At least everyone can agree that the problem is definitely guns.  It certainly can’t have anything to do with the deteriorating mental health of an individual which is ignored or marginalized for complex reasons.  I cannot fathom shootings.  I suppose if I could, I would be able to come up with solutions, too.

              At the epicenter of this, it wasn’t a gun that snapped, killed three people, and injured sixteen others.  It was a human being, a soldier.  But that doesn’t matter so long as someone gets to push his agenda.  Did I mention that politicians make me angry?  Tragedies are opportunities to argue about legislation, change policies, and one-up the other guys.  Meanwhile, a community has been traumatized.  Again.  Try to understand this.  Post is supposed to be a safe place.  We aren’t supposed to need weapons on Post.  Weapons are for the range and deployment.  Bad guys shoot at soldiers and bad guys can’t get on Post.  That’s why there are gate guards checking IDs.  How do we feel safe ever again?  And some guy in a fancy suit tells me that he understands and he’s going to do something about this gun problem.

              There is no understanding if he thinks it’s a gun problem.  It is a cavalcade of problems that can’t be simplified into a 30-second commercial.  It’s about insufficient treatment for mental health issues.  And cutting funding so other people can keep their private jets.  And a backlog of paperwork so long it could take a year or more for benefits to kick in after twenty to thirty years of service, provided the paperwork hasn’t been lost.  And sky-rocketing suicide rates because people don’t want treatment following them around in their records.  When it’s his buddies or his spouse being put in danger because of budget cuts and politics, I’ll believe that he understands.

              So no, this isn’t about guns or gun control.  If you’re looking for simple solutions, invent a bullet-proof force field.  Adding guns won’t fix anything.  Taking them away, as if anyone could, won’t stop anything.  If a human being is bent on death and destruction, no amount of legislation will stop him.  Maybe we should all stop arguing about how to fix the symptoms and start figuring out how to help people before they become another tragedy.  It’s a complex problem.  It’s time to work on complex solutions.

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