Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse regarding the political turmoil in the United States, I was proven wrong... again. I turned on the television that morning expecting to see what's become the status quo in the daily news reports, all of which are focused on either tearing down President Donald Trump or defending his actions.
When I read the news crawl at the bottom of the TV screen and learned that a member of Congress had been shot, I knew this was something that wasn't going away anytime soon. Even the horrific high-rise apartment fire in London that has so far claimed the lives of more than a dozen individuals barely measured a blip on the 24/7 news networks.
Within a matter of minutes following the attack that wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, it seemed that people were all too eager to start pointing fingers at one another and trying to blame someone else for what happened.
On one end of the political spectrum, we had Republicans lashing out at what they called "rhetoric-fueled violence" that came in direct response to the presidential election that put Donald Trump in the White House. I don't think there's anyone out there that hasn't at least heard about the photo of comedian Kathy Griffin holding up a severed head of our current president or the Central Park theater company presentation of "Julius Caesar" that showed the president being stabbed to death.
In all fairness, I need to point out that there were conservatives in this country who were openly hostile to our previous president and supported or committed similar acts. However, I don't recall any incidents that involved people setting cars on fire, robbing stores or destroying people's property.
On the other end of this political spectrum, meanwhile, we have Democrats calling for tougher gun laws. They seemed convinced that firearms were somehow the only reason why this Congressman was attacked.
It was the latest attempt to put the issue of gun control back on the "front burner." We have a number of people in Congress as well as members of the Hollywood elite and professional athletes who somehow feel that tougher gun laws will make the country safer.
Remember that these are the same individuals who live in secure, gated communities with armed security guards that don't live the same way that 99 percent of America does, but I digress.
While the initial reports seem to indicate that James Hodgkinson (the man behind the attack) was extremely hateful in his views of Trump, it opens up a number of questions. Among them is whether people on both sides of the political fence will finally realize they need to calm down and stop the rhetoric or whether this was just the beginning of future violence against our elected leaders.
I seriously hope the answer is the first option. People in this nation need to get a serious grip on themselves because this violence and hatred is getting way out of hand.
As I've mentioned at least once before, there are too many people out there that are only fanning the flames of discontent by turning to the Internet to fuel their hatred and distrust. They count on like-minded individuals to then share these views with their family and friends.
I've honestly lost count of how many posts I glance at every single day on social media sites that only add more "fuel" to this fire. I sometimes wonder whether Mark Zuckerberg would've reconsidered creating Facebook if he knew that it was going to turn into the online version of a cesspool.
From my perspective, guns are not the reason why Scalise was attacked. The rifle Hodgkinson fired at the Congressman was simply the instrument that he used to carry out the attack.
Even if we were to do away with every firearm in this country, people will find other ways to commit acts of violence against others. If they don't have a gun at their disposal, I'd wager that they'd pick up a knife, a large rock or a baseball bat.
If that happened, what would we do then, hmm? Would we outlaw kitchen knives? Would people be prohibited from creating stone gardens? Would there be a national movement to abolish the game of baseball?
But then what we do about people like Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols? They're the ones who used a truck packed full of fertilizer to create a bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Okla.
That attack on April 19, 1995, killed 168 people and injured 680 others. At the time, it was the worst terrorist attack ever reported on U.S. soil.
Banning guns or other weapons isn't the answer. Instead, what this nation needs to seriously address is repairing the "moral compass" that once guided this country and people looked out for one another instead of themselves.
If you'll remember, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated the principles of "nonviolent resistance" during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. In 13 years, he did more to promote racial equality than anyone has ever achieved by using violence to enact change.
Before Doctor King, there was Mahatma Gandhi, who used his own version of nonviolent civil disobedience to led India to gain its independence from the British Empire. It was his actions that inspired similar movements for civil rights and freedom around the world.
Perhaps that's what this nation needs more than anything else — someone willing to continue the legacy created by people like King and Gandhi. We desperately need to hear a message of unity among all Americans versus the "us versus them" mentality that has persisted in this country for at least the last 20 or 30 years.
We need to stop being obsessed with focusing on our own selfish needs and desires or taking pleasure in inflicting pain and misery on others. Instead, the 325 million people in this country need to find some common ground and extend a hand of friendship or compassion to those who need it the most.
It's an extremely lofty goal and one that I think would take years or decades to get started. However, we need to do something now before this country heads into an abyss that we may never be able to climb out.
— Brian S. Orban