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Problem Solving Or Agenda Pushing?

At times, the solutions offered by politicians seem to contradict the problem statement. When this is the case, it's likely to be a case of agenda pushing rather than problem solving.

It has been said that you know that a politician is telling an untruth when you see their lips moving. Yes, I know that most people use the word 'lie' in that statement, but don't you know that calling someone a liar is not politically correct? Well, I tend to examine a person's actions more so than I concern myself with what they say. In a sense, I guess you could say that ignoring speech and examining action demonstrates an acceptance or belief in this well used statement.

This statement is never more evident than when you see action that directly contradicts a statement. A politician will state a problem and make all sorts of promises to solve that problem. However, when the rubber meets the road, the actions sometimes fail to align well with solving the stated problem. This is when you have a case of agenda pushing, not problem solving.

Take the latest political football for example - gun control. The problem as stated by the "leaders" within our government is that we have too much gun violence in this country. I know that I said I don't concern myself with what is said, but if you look closely at the problem statement you will see the initial indications of agenda pushing rather than problem solving. It seems to me that we have too much violence in our country; not just gun violence, not just gang violence, not just domestic violence - violence in general. A leader truly concerned with the problem and desiring to solve the problem would not restrict the problem statement to just gun violence. Are they not concerned for the poor guy that is brutally beaten to death by a gang? Are they not concerned for the poor lady that is overpowered and stabbed to death by her estranged and deranged spouse? Well they aren't concerned with those victims of violence if they are pushing an agenda for which those victims offer no political capital.

But now you get to the actions, the pushing of legislation that will limit (one could accurately argue infringe upon) the right of citizens to bear arms. First of all, this action certainly doesn't solve the real problem; too much violence in our country. But additionally it doesn't even solve the problem as it is stated; too much gun violence in our country. Not only does simple common sense render gun control an illegitimate solution, a simple Internet search will uncover a multitude of violence cases that would not have been prevented by gun control and countless studies pointing to high violence rates in areas of the world under the strictest of gun control. 

The solution to violence in America must address the two main culprits...

Mental illness continues to dominate the narrative in violence cases. Be it a mass shooting in a school, a domestic murder suicide, or a case of workplace violence, mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, paranoia, and others are very often present. The solution to violence in America must address these medical conditions. Be it that these are medical conditions, reform of health care should certainly address these mental illnesses. Now I'm no expert on the details hidden in the latest health care legislation, however I do attempt to be well informed on such important legislation. One would think if health care legislation addressed such a major problem for our society that we would hear all about it. We hear verbose discussion on free contraception and mammograms, but I don't recall hearing any pundit on either side of the debate trumpeting how this wonderful piece of legislation will reduce the violence in our country by providing for the medical needs of those with mental illness.

A little research into the violence in America that doesn't always make the national news will likely reveal the culture of violence that is prevalent in areas across this country. When referring to the culture of violence in our country, many will jump to the conclusion that the poorer, inner city communities are being stereotyped again. I'm not concerned with socioeconomic categorizations because I believe the culture of violence is rooted in something far more fundamental than money. The rise in the culture of violence in this country can be charted in direct comparison to the decline of foundational family in this country. Like it or not, the ingredients of the foundational family are a married husband and wife raising children together. As children grow up in home environments other than this foundational family unit, they will naturally seek out the needed nurturing outside the home. For instance, a boy that grows up in a home without a father will seek out other men to be examples to mimic. Far too often this outside influence is of the negative persuasion. The gang culture is totally dependent on young men and women that are deprived of positive influence and nurturing at home. Any solution to the problem of violence in our country must promote the foundational family unit for the purpose of combating the culture of violence running rogue in our society.

That said, it seems clear that politicians today are more concerned with pushing their agenda rather than solving a problem. Having come to that conclusion, one must worry with what agenda is being pushed and why is it being pushed. In this case, the agenda is gun control; in other words, limiting the right of citizens to own and bear arms. Now we understand the agenda, we must ask why is this agenda being pushed so aggressively. That seems like a topic for another blog post, but it's safe to say we should start with an examination of the history of citizenry that was limited or stripped of their arms. It's just a thought, but I wonder how the citizens of Europe in the first half of the twentieth century would have felt about the right to bear arms. Sorry, I couldn't help myself; I just had to get that little shot in there, I'll save the rest for later.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Alex Mason February 19, 2013 at 07:30 PM
A couple of counter points: I don't know of anyone who thinks that restricting ownership of certain types of weapons or accessories (large capacity clips, for example) will eliminate violence in our country. Does that mean it's not worth doing? If it has some positive impact, we should do it. I would like to see a more rigorous study of violence in our country so I can make a better decision. I believe the President recently issued an executive order to do just this. Yes, mental health needs to be addressed. Should people with severe mental health issues have their right to gun ownership be infringed? Under what authority? As for the family, strong families are indeed important. However, money does play a huge role in determining the strength of the family unit. Perhaps a father is still around, but has to work two jobs in order to make ends meet (so he's not there to play catch with little Jimmy). Poverty levels and family stability have a strong negative correlation. While strong families do indeed offer benefit to our society, they are not a cure all. Some of the worst atrocities of our history have occurred in the "good 'ol days." Slavery, lynchings, trail of tears, etc. I don't mean to be rude, but it just needs to be said. Obama is not Hitler. Always a pleasure, Michael. Sincerely, Alex
Michael Tanner February 21, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Hi Alex, I don't think more gun control will even reduce gun violence, common sense & plenty studies suggest this conclusion. Folks wanting to shoot someone for malicious purposes are not concerned with a law that limits the capacity of a clip. Extra capacity clips are very easy to make - trust me, I did it often when in USMC, just need 2 clips & duct tape. But even if it did reduce gun violence a bit, that doesn't mean these rights specifically described in the 2nd Amendment should be limited. I'll explain why when I address the Hitler comment. I never said strong families were a cure all, but I do think our society benefits more from strong families than from any legislation. Nothing suggests that the family unit in our society back in the "good 'ol days" was any stronger than it is today, so I don't see the correlation of that comment to my original comments. Additionally, I don't subscribe to the notion that family breakdown only happens in the poor family where dad works 2 jobs. It happens even worse in the wealthy family where dad is always at work and totally absent to the needs of his children. Finally, my last shot didn't at all suggest that Obama is Hitler. It is a shot at those who feel the 2nd Amendment pertains to hunting. The Founders Fathers had just won a revolutionary war, they weren't concerned about hunting - they were concerned about tyrannical governments. Hitler was a tyrant. Gun limits render America vulnerable to tyrants - domestic & foreign.
Alex Mason February 21, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Michael, Thanks for the reply. I get that you don't think gun control will reduce gun violence. The country is divided on this, with at least a slim majority favoring at least some marginal restrictions on gun ownership (such as universal background checks). Common sense apparently varies from person to person. I would like to see some of the rigorous, peer reviewed, scientific studies you are referring to. We can't rely on anecdote here. Regarding the 2nd Amendment, your rights are already limited. You don't have unfettered access to arms. Most people agree you shouldn't have access to a stinger missile, so we make laws against their possession (in spite of the 2nd Amendment). That's an infringement, no? So, the country can and does make exceptions when we believe it is in our best interest. "The rise in the culture of violence in this country can be charted in direct comparison to the decline of foundational family in this country." I read this comment to suggest that families used to be stronger, and their weakening has led to more violence. I also agree that the breakdown of family doesn't occur only in poor families - but it is indeed exacerbated in that context. Too many big issues in one comment :) Alex
Michael Tanner February 21, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Ok, here are a couple examples of rigorous, peer reviewed, scientific studies. A Harvard study - not exactly a right leaning institution; "Nations with stringent anti-gun laws generally have substantially higher murder rates than those that do not." http://theacru.org/acru/harvard_study_gun_control_is_counterproductive/ Here is another that contains copious amounts of numbers & statistics comparing gun restrictions to violence- http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp The logic that 2nd Amendment rights are already limited, therefore it is fine to restrict them even further brings to light the very slippery slope of reduced freedom. Once government takes away some freedom, it becomes easier to take away even more freedom. You use hyperbole in the stinger missile example that I think detracts from your argument. I'm not advocating civilians be allowed to own military missile defense systems, I'm advocating for a civilians right the bear arms - sufficient arms to defend themselves against home invaders & tyrannical governments. Finally, comparison of culture of violence and decline of family - take any city over any given period of time. The rise in violence in that city over that period of time will almost certainly correlate to the decline of the family in that same city over that same period of time - has nothing to do with the "good 'ol days". Heck, I thought we lived in the "good 'ol days" today. I know! Don't character limits suck? Just like gun limits!
Alex Mason February 21, 2013 at 07:35 PM
I will review those articles when I have a few more moments to spare. My point with regards to the limits of the 2nd Amendment is this: it is not an absolute right that should never be infringed. We as a society have deemed some types of weapons to be too dangerous in the hands of civilians. I use hyperbole to demonstrate that "arms" exist on a spectrum ranging from knives to nukes. There is a line that should exist in terms of civilian access. The debate isn't whether or not we should infringe American's 2nd amendment rights - it's at what point do we infringe their rights. Do you draw the line at knives? Pistols? Traditional hunting rifles? Shotguns? Semi-automatic modern rifles? Fully automatic rifles? Grenades? RPGs? Stinger Missles? Land mines? Tanks? Who decides where to draw the line? The Second Amendment made no distinction between types of armaments. How about who is allowed to have guns: children? Adults? Sex offenders? The mentally ill? Felons? People with Alzheimer's? Again, the Second Amendment made no distinction, so we are left to make them ourselves. So what is sufficient to defend yourself against a home invader? Even more difficult to answer - what is sufficient to defend yourself from a tyrannical government? Will they have the full force and support of the U.S. military? I was using the phrase "good ol' days" to reference the time you seemed to refer to when families were strong and there was supposedly less violence.
Alex Mason February 21, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Just an FYI - law journals are typically not subject to "peer review." Most of the time, they are run by law students.

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