The past few days has created more open wounds in our country than ever before. And even more heartbreak and fear than anyone should ever feel.
As I hear the conversations swirl about through the media; by the political talking heads and various religious groups and communities, I begin to think that we are asking the wrong questions on how to keep the right cows in the pen and to sort out the rest that will be relocated to different pastures or off to the sale barn.
A cow's life is pretty predictable on a working ranch. We all know that you raise them for beef and/or to build your herd. However, the behavior of each individual cow in theory varies from a calm, placid demeanor, to the very maddening fence jumper, gate rusher or charger.
Anyone who has had the pleasure of sorting cows, knows that a cow is not going to follow the rules. They may or may not rush the gate, tear through a barbed-wire fence or lead a revolt through miles of sagebrush, rocks or trees.
Here are some things to consider while we face the latest deluge of violence, trauma and loss of life. Are we really asking the right questions?
Throw everything that you previously thought about sorting out and preventing mass murders out and ask yourself to look at the situation in a different way.
(1) Has the person or persons in charge of our country adequately defined the problem or the danger to society? If you are a rancher who runs a slipshod operation, chances are your horses are poor, your fences are in need of repair and your cows are hungry. Coyotes know when a herd is at its weakest state and we have more than our share of coyotes lurking in the darkness right now.
(2) We cannot deny that cows will not jump the fence, lead revolts or rush the gates. No more than we can deny that people will use every instrument of death or destruction on hand if they have murder in their hearts.
(3) No one on a working ranch is ever surprised by the unpredictable behavior of a cow. Why should we be surprised that there are people out there who want to kill or main innocent people?
(4) Have we adequately supplied our "cowboys" with the correct equipment and information? When we start taking away the very things that helps us keep order in this country, we lose track of the task at hand. Which should always be keeping our country safe.
(5) What have we learned from this tragedy? It is not about the weapons chosen or the venue. It is about people who may have been like the most gentlest cow in the herd suddenly changing direction and charging the gatekeeper, a cowboy on a horse or other cows.
(6) How can we possibly prevent a stampede when everyone is talking at once and NO ONE is listening? The noise level for each tragedy leads to misinformation. The shouting and pointing of fingers has simply got to stop.
(7) Who is considered a law-abiding citizen? This is about people wanting to maim or kill. It matters not if they do it in the name of religion, a personal belief or to silence the voices in their head. We don't brand all of our cows because of color or breed. Nor do we sort them that way.
(8) Can we agree that each tragedy has its own separate facts; villains and circumstances? We will continue lose crucial ground in the fight because we are bogged down the rehashing of talking points, political posturing and the tendency to lump everything together.
There will never be a clear cut way to deal with individuals who have no concept of the value of human life. What is Evil, What is Good? Who is Evil and Who is Good?
Real hate is not on the face of a child or a law-abiding citizen going about their daily business. Hate has no color. It is an action not a person. And there are those who fan the flames of hatred in the guise of Religion, Politics and Authority.
America has been a refuge to those who wanted to make a new start. Yes, we have made mistakes, who hasn't? And we will continue to encourage those who want to make a new start to come to this country legally just as our own forefathers did.
It is past time that we remember that we are Americans and and take pride in the heritage of the melting pot of our cultures.
The key word is melting pot. We should not lose sight that America is a great nation who has been generous to many countries and will continue to do so.
The final question that we should be asking ourselves, "Have we done enough personally to ensure all lives matter?"