I would define contemporary American society, in 2015, as one that is driven by technology. Many of us have heard our grandparents or parents talk about a much simpler time when they were our age. If you were to ask them what was simple about it, one of their answer would be that it was less complicated because technological advances of today such as computers, social media and the constant need to stay in touch with current events did not exist. People were not tied to their phones or laptops 24 hours a day the way they are today. One of the reasons this is true in 2015 is that we have the ability to stay connected all of the time. Take away that ability — going back, say to 1970 — and people had more time to interact with each other face-to-face, write letters to each other and not feel the pressure to work from home late at night.
Technology has done some amazing things to advance science, medicine, education and the way we gather information. One cannot argue, for example, that the iPhone is an amazing invention. However, technology has a downside. My generation and the generation after mine will have had less experience than our parents in learning to write well because texting, abbreviations and imogis have replaced writing complete sentences that are grammatically correct. Also, communicating via text is not the same as doing so face to face. People end relationships, terminate employees or share devastating news via text or email instead of having conversations. Email and texting is not the same as having a conversation with someone. Emotions and tone can be misinterpreted when communication doesn’t take place face to face.
Another downside of technology is the use of social media, which can be used as a platform for shaming or bullying. Social media is a great tool to stay in touch with people and share news, but it’s also an uncontrolled platform for people to post harmful things about other people and do it anonymously.
I consider the most significant social problem in today’s society to be gun control. In light of shootings that have killed people in schools, movie theaters and clinics, in addition to the most recent shooting in San Bernardino, CA, it has become too easy for anyone to purchase a firearm. This topic is as personal and political as abortion and while elected politicians, and those running for office, talk a lot about gun control, none of them want to confront the NRA which uses the Second Amendment as they’re reasoning for people to stockpile hundreds of assault weapons.
While I realize some of these shooters bought their guns legally, and I don’t have all of the solutions, you would think Republicans and Democrats would band together, especially after what happened in Sandy Hook, and ask the NRA — or ask in general — why people feel the need to have assault rifles? There’s a difference in the damage than can be done with a hand gun versus the kinds of weapons used at Sandy Hook, San Bernardino and even Columbine.
Until politicians confront and challenge the NRA, and care more about the people who put them in office rather than the money funneled from the NRA to their campaigns, not much will change. If the senseless murder of small school children doesn’t change the way we think about guns and the Second Amendment, I’m not sure what will.
There is no one solution but there is a combination of actions that could take place to work toward a solution that would make it more difficult for senseless gun killings to happen in the United States. The last time I heard this on the news, this is not happening as frequently in any other country.