ON Kilter: What do repetitive shooting incidents say about us?

OPINION–Sincere condolences to the family, friends, and fellow officers of Utah County Sheriff’s Deputy Cory Wride who was killed yesterday by what appears to be a lone gunman on a rampage. There can hardly be words expressed when life is senselessly taken this way and it is that much more painful when the victim is a person who has dedicated their life to helping society.

The news headlines reporting shootings by gunmen with varying degrees of deranged backgrounds that lead up to these incidents are reaching critical mass. It is becoming so commonplace that, collectively, the events pass with little fanfare save the people directly traumatized.

This is a problem.

It is said that the identification of a problem absent a solution is nothing more than a complaint. And it is a troublesome state of affairs that a solution to the particular problem of deranged gunmen shooting people at their homes and offices, children at their schools, or police officers on the job seems so out of reach. This is in no small part due to the predictably inevitable standoff between gun ideologies where the argument gets reduced to two extreme positions. On the one side of the extreme is the advocate for the removal of guns altogether. And on the other side is the defense of a right to not have guns taken away because of the bad behavior of someone else.

Is it possible that both sides have valid points? Is it possible that this is one of those issues where one can see so clearly both points of view that an almost stagnate-like fog permeates any formidable action going forward?

In a stalemate, no one wins. Both sides hold their ground. But in this stalemate, someone definitely loses. Just ask Officer Wride’s family. Just ask the victims past, present, and future.

Because if there is one thing that seems certain from the frequency of these kinds of shootings, there will be more of them. This is a problem that demands an answer. It demands of us a refusal to accept the stalemate.

It may be acceptable not to know the exact answer but it is not acceptable not to find one. Moreover, it must be understood that repeating the same tired arguments to achieve the same results is neither a solution, or a method by which any reasonable person should apply themselves.

This is to say that the insistence upon the continuance of trying to make a flawed system work, is indicative of the health of our society.

And there it is. Not the answer mind you but perhaps the place where we need to start to solve the problem of gun violence.

There are no doubt people who have spent a dedicated portion of their years trying to solve this. They have solutions but invariably are met with opposition. This is the nature of problem solving. As one problem is addressed, another presents itself.

For example: if the solution is to ban guns, the problem presented is the issue of civil rights and the right to keep and bear arms.

Perhaps the problem is in operating from the vantage of the singular and all-inclusive solution or the complete answer.

Perhaps the answer lies in who we are as a people. Perhaps there is something out of sync within our society that creates an environment which leads to violence.

This is not at all to imply abdication of one’s responsibility. One like a gunman who kills indiscriminately should receive no quarter for their crime.

But what of the responsibility of a society to its people to not create environments where the collective frustration with their ability to simply afford to live is ever present and on the forefront of their experience?

What of the responsibility of people who cannot make the connection between a government who lies to its people, functions from the modus operandi of the corporation, and profits from the abdication of the peoples rights?

We have these conversations every day but they are compartmentalized.

First, the conversation of gun violence. Then after a stalemate there and lunch, the conversation of a corrupt elected official sealing the deal on a public project for themselves while simultaneously passing a law that penalizes a citizen for doing the same thing.

To deny that there can be correlation between these or similar things is not to invalidate it, but merely to refuse to acquiesce to the truth of it.

Simply put, the gunman who killed Officer Wride is not an isolated incident and in fact it is a repetitive one. And this is indicative of the health of our society as a whole. We are sick and need to be well.

We can begin by acknowledging at the very least, this irrefutable fact regardless of political bent and ideology. That would be common a common ground from which to begin a dialogue on how to move towards getting well.

See you out there.

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Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @dallashyland

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.


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  • Jason February 1, 2014 at 8:51 am

    It doesn’t say anything about ‘us’

    It says there is a jackass cop killer who needs to be executed.

    congratulations on politicizing the death of a police officer.

    Stay classy liberals.

    • skippy February 1, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      The “us” thing is most certainly a problem. Generalizing rarely approaches the truth. (And too much of it occurs in everywhere.)
      I would, though, argue that nothing is outside the scope of politics, which isn’t necessarily a good/bad thing. If, for example, the horrible murder of Officer Wride results in stronger laws aimed at protecting police and/or even tighter regulations of firearms, it will be a result of political debate and action. And even if nothing results, it will still be preceded by political discussion.
      Please, please, though, don’t call me a “liberal” simply because I mention this fact. You’d be wrong, for one.

  • Bub February 1, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I know the solution of one group was to train and arm (militarize) all the school teachers. Do we really want to live in an America where a first grade teacher has a Glock strapped to her waist?

    And the congress couldn’t even pass a bill for background checks at gun shows… So really what we need is new ideas…

    • JamesB February 1, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      I would love to see teachers armed. It would cause would be shooters to think twice. Notice how most of the mass shootings occur in “gun free zones”. I would feel very safe having my first grader being taught by a well trained carrier. Bad guys don’t like the possibility of people shooting back. Many people who are against arming teachers are those who are not familiar with firearms and are afraid.

      • Bub February 1, 2014 at 7:40 pm

        Well maybe it will come to that. Maybe we should all be required to carry a side arm at all times. Could be a great idea I don’t know. Would seem a little odd at first having the gun in church, be i guess we’d get used to it. I’m not a fan of pocket guns, and anything bigger becomes a PITA to wear IMO. Think chest holster 😀

      • Legs February 2, 2014 at 9:21 am

        Aside from arms, I’d like to see teachers have legs, too. Gun people act like everyone should carry guns all the time. They probably have to take a gun with them into the bathroom when they take a dump, just in case they find some suspicious looking stool in the toilet bowl they feel compelled to shoot.

    • Brian February 1, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      The most dangerous place in America? Gun-free zones, because anyone that takes a gun there (and the is nothing to stop them) know its like shooting fish in a barrel, which is exactly what these coward want. The second someone starts shooting back they almost always take their own life. So why not have someone start shooting back sooner? Gun-free zones are idiotic. Why not just have crime-free zones, then we’d never have to worry about crime again?

      • Bub February 2, 2014 at 9:54 am

        A question: If we are essentially turning citizens into a police force, who is going to pay for all the training required? The police are heavily trained, and their training is being kept up to date all the time, and they pass tests to make sure they’re being kept sharp. Starting to sound a bit like Israel where the people are always prepared for terrorists. Maybe a solution?

  • JamesB February 1, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Good food for thought Dallas. Question: Are the frequency of these incidences increasing or is the wide spread reporting of these incidences increasing? I would like to see some statistics.

  • Gary February 1, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    No bub, no one wants to live in a world where first grade teachers have a Glock strapped to their waists. What we need is new ideas? Here is a new idea for you. Lets punish those who break the law (shoot up a school, church, movie theater, mall) and leave those who do not alone. Let’s execute with NO FANFARE those who murder; stop giving these people their ”15 minutes”. Don’t give them any ‘minutes of fame’. But the government needs to stop harassing those who do not break the law.

    • Bub February 1, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      I often feel like the gov’t infringes on my rights. I feel that local and state govt infringes on my rights more directly than the us govt. I wont go into more detail than that.

    • MIke February 1, 2014 at 9:05 pm


      How do you plan on asking CNN, CBS, NBC etc to not present this information to the public giving the perpetrator his/her 15 minutes that they are so entitled to? I also for one am more than fine allowing and would prefer to have my child (in lieu of the alternative) taught and educated by a teacher who is also taught and trains with a weapon. A Gun free zone is a Utopian ideal and as JamesB pointed out nearly all of the mass shootings occur in this type of pie in the sky “GUN FREE ZONE”.

    • Gun Question February 2, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Soon we will have a society like the radical middle east where everyone is walking around with their AK-47s ready to defend themselves from impending attacks by radicals walking around with guns. Can’t you see parents riding the St George carousel with pistols strapped on (real cowboys) ready to defend themselves and their kids from carousel assaults? How about guarding the splash pads with assault rifles from those imaginary attackers with their assault rifles? People in St George are extremely paranoid, and they are the problem, not the cure for the problems.

  • Bub February 1, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    I keep hearing that overall violent crime is down since the 80’s. I don’t we’ll ever be able to legislate out the evil, stupidity, and insanity out of society as a whole. Freak shootings are a side effect we may have to live with for being a well-armed nation. I’m also on the fence about banning military style weapons from the public, because do we really want our military that much more well armed than the citizenry?. The far right-wing needs to quit their bed buddy arrangement with gun manufacturers, so that we can compromise a plan to keep all arms out of the hands of nut cases and criminals, but preserve rights of citizens. And hopefully we can avoid having to arm a kindergarten teacher with an M16 just so we can feel the kids are safe (Yes, that was the NRA’s official stance).

    • Bub February 1, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      *2nd sentence: I don’t *think we’ll

  • MIke February 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Sooooooo in the real world, bad people DO exist. In UTOPIA there are no bad people. In the real world the great equalizer IS the gun! In UTOPIA rainbows and unicorns abound, there is no shortage of skittles, bon-bons or kool-aid—you can not even say the word GUN there because it doesn’t exist and there aren’t any. BUUUUUUUT Back to reality, guns were invented and will always be available regardless of LAWS. If you take them from the law-abiding, well you get the point. The right of the people to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed—-this is an inalienable right. The discussion is straight forward

    • Bub February 2, 2014 at 9:59 am

      There is no utopia, but some folks are too stupid to own guns. Look at the excop who blasted that guy in the movie theater for tossing popcorn. I don’t know if a wild west gun culture is the solution but who knows…

  • Happy Happy Happy February 1, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    My condolences to the Wride and Sherwood families. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.
    Just a few of my thoughts. The real problem lies within the amount of violence the media continues to produce. It’s pathetic that a 12 year old can come home from school, sit in front of a tv, and earn points for killing people (earning double points for head shots and unique kills). The problem lies in the lack of parenting, the amount of violence in the media shoved down our throats and the lack of help for the mentally ill. I am all for gun control, but I do not believe guns are the issue here. Sure we could ban guns but that does nothing for the issue. Take a look at the crime rates in our Nations Capitol, and they have a ban on firearms. Yet DC continues to be in the race for most violent city. Until parents step up and do their job, the media takes some sort of stance and accountability and the mentally unstable get real help, things won’t change. Gun control will help the issue but those that truly have a desire to find a gun and us it against another human being will still find ways. I won’t pretend to have the answers or fight others opinions. These are just my simple observations.

    • Gun Question February 2, 2014 at 9:27 am

      What about those parents who let their kids take a real gun to school a few years ago as a play prop? Killed himself with it. They weren’t happy, happy, happy… more like stupid, stupid, stupid. Gotta love them guns, right?

      • Bub February 2, 2014 at 11:04 am

        It was actually a blank shooting gun oddly enough…not a real gun

        • Gun Question February 3, 2014 at 7:59 am

          I heard it was a real gun loaded with blanks. You sure gun owners aren’t trying to say it wasn’t a real gun as if to say “Starting pistol (blanks only), bad. Real gun, good”

  • MIke February 1, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    As long as crime organizations, LIKE the drug cartel for example “crazy” people will always have access to military style weapons! UTOPIA does not and will not EVER exist. Doesn’t mean that I want crazy people to have weapons. It just means I understand that the circumstances are what they are. I have the personal responsibility to take my own safety into consideration.

  • S Steed February 2, 2014 at 8:01 am

    If I allow somone to take my guns from me, I am giving them the responsibility of protecting my rights and property. Incidentally, the people who want that job have a history of corruption, and putting their personal interests first; plus they don’t seem to match the passion and motives I have for my own protection. In short, I don’t trust them to be there when I need.

  • Gun Question February 2, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Why are the areas where people claim to be most religious and conservative usually the places where there are the most gun problems? Look at all the shooting incidents around st george, shootings, murder/suicides. Easy to pretend it happens elsewhere, not here or blame the problem on other people even though some of the most violent people here are people born and raised here. Oh well, many people say that large “D” on the side of the hill does stand for DENIAL, because DENIAL is what people around here are best at doing.

    • Bub February 2, 2014 at 11:13 am

      your logic is flawed. stg has very few gun problems

      • Gun Question February 3, 2014 at 8:01 am

        Actually, StG has a lot of gun problems and a lot of domestic violence. Not long ago, some StG homeboy (loyal to church & guns), killed his girlfriend, her child and then himself. Your answer is a perfect example of DENY and pretend it doesn’t happen here.

        • Steve February 3, 2014 at 4:35 pm

          If you think st. George has a gun problem, go live in Chicago, New York, Ca. Etc, where there is the strictest gun control and then give me your thoughts on gun problems. When are anti gun people going to learn?

  • Bub February 2, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    “What do repetitive shooting incidents say about us?”

    To answer this: it says nothing. Society is no more violent than its ever been, probably much less so. Different story in other parts of the world…

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