I don't usually like to tackle politically charged topics like guns on my travel blog but it's really hard to ignore the increase to shootings happening in our schools and on our streets all across the country lately. As I was starting to write the posts for my newsletter featuring Kansas, I remembered this funny picture my kids took in Wichita. As we were about to walk into The Exploration Place, a wonderful and very kid friendly museum, we were all shocked to see a picture of a gun with a red slash through it. In fact as we wandered around throughout the state we noticed these signs on just about every storefront and restaurant.
Coming from California seeing these signs made all of us very uncomfortable. It wasn't long before my kids were asking what was going on to which I explained that in Kansas folks are allowed to carry concealed guns on their person but are not allowed to bring then into certain establishments such as the museum. I know my kids are smiling in this picture, but trust me when I tell you, they were quite frightened (as was I) later that day when we saw a man with a pistol tucked into his pants at the cafe during lunch. My kids and I had a real hard time figuring out who he might encounter in Wichita that he felt so threatened that he had to walk around packing heat. Did he think he might need to engage in a shootout over a burger fries and a beer?
I understand the idea that owning a weapon is a liberty under the second amendment in the constitution. And I get owning a rifle or a pistol that you might keep hidden at home for protection or even in some cases recreation-in fact I have no issue with it. But I think we really need to ask ourselves what kind of society we live in if we feel the need to walk around carrying a deadly weapon. If we don't trust law enforcement maybe we need to start exploring why. If we are afraid of getting robbed or killed, maybe we need to address the underlying reasons that drives some people to hurt or kill innocent people. Are the mentally ill being adequately cared for? How do we turn the economy around to create more jobs so everyone can feed their families? How do we punish greed? How do we tamp down all these frustrations that boil up in our society that make folks feel the necessity to carry a weapon openly?
There is no easy fix, but I am just not sure that allowing everyone to carry a loaded firearm openly is the solution to all of society's ills. Today too much greed by corporate America and mismanaged government threatens to upend the very fabric of who we are making us feel helpless, abused and frustrated. Guns really don't make us feel safer-in fact they keep everyone on edge. People today need to take back the power in their voices, to demand change and demand to be heard. We have come so far from the lawless days of the wild frontier. It's time to put our guns away and get to the business of rebuilding the American dream.