Caution

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out.” Robert Frost

It would be wonderful to go back to living in a country where young men didn’t  take machine guns into schools and kill first graders, or into movie theaters and kill attendees, or into shopping malls and kill shoppers. But all those young men were American citizens, not foreigners here on visas. Screening visitors to the United States wouldn’t have prevented any of those senseless murders. Neither would a wall.

It would be wonderful if young men didn’t kill each other every day across for perceived slights; if disgruntled husbands didn’t kill their wives for asking for divorces; if angry drivers didn’t fire shots at other cars. But all these are enacted by American citizens, not foreigners here on visas. Screening visitors to the United States won’t prevent any of these senseless murders. Neither will a wall.

If we abandon simplistic solutions to a very complex set of problems, we are left with the hard work of deep change. We would have to confront our country’s love of violence, our fascination with guns, our romance with revenge. It would require humility, a commodity in short supply this election season.

 

 

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