Elusive Panacea & Tragedy

Today’s post is in response to WordPress’s Daily Prompt: Panacea. I did not know this word looking at it, but Google tells me that it’s “a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases.” Why is there a word for such an impossible thing?

All humans can agree that our world is full of difficulty and disease, but the concept of something that would cure all of our ailments and mend all of our troubles seems like the beginning of science fiction novel where the reader will immediately begin wondering: what’s the catch?  If there were a solution that fixed everything, wouldn’t we have found it by now?

I think panacea is an idealistic illusion. It’s something that everyone would want, but would require sacrifices we would not be willing to make. I imagine that the necessary sacrifice would be our individuality. It’s both what makes us human and what prevents us from reaching a panacea.

The tragedy that happened in Texas this Sunday killing more than two dozen is something that could have been prevented. If you’d like to debate that fact please do so elsewhere, I won’t be engaging in that conversation.

I’d instead like to focus on one of the reasons why these events keep recurring in America while other countries like Australia effectively ended mass shootings decades ago.

When it comes to reforming gun laws many Americans immediately think of something being taken away from them. Beyond that initial fear they are paranoid about what the government will do after reforming gun laws: the possibility of more of their ‘freedoms’ being ‘violated’. The concern for life is immediately eclipsed by our need for individualism and we fall back into the same pattern: tragedy > outcry for gun reform > outrage at possibility of gun reform > no reform > tragedy.

We’re trapped in this stubborn cycle and there doesn’t seem to be a way out. I know I’m not alone in feeling so hopeless and helpless. What can we do about it? I can’t lie, I’m normally not one to call my representative directly unless all the information is laid out for me (after writing this I looked it up, it is SO easy through Call Your Rep). I have tried to boycott companies before, but have gotten lazy. I found a list of companies that support the NRA for boycotting, but most of them aren’t relevant to me.

What can we do about it? We can stop fighting each other on social media about it. The change we need isn’t going to be coming from the comments section of a news article or from an insightful post shared to your followers. We aren’t getting any closer to a solution when we rip one another apart. Instead of sharing your fury online, share it with your representative or share it with the companies you support. Leave your social media for funny memes, cute pictures, and compassion.

Will we ever find a panacea? No, but we can always do better.

 

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