The United States as a nation does not do government well.
This is widely known.
Talking heads and trendsetters across the country–and across the ocean–regularly point out how America struggles to offer universal services to its citizens (i.e. education, healthcare, employment and retirement benefits).
From my understanding, this is because the U.S. wasn’t made for this kind of across-the-board policy. It flourished as a diverse nation with plenty of wiggle room for inclusion and a high risk-high reward culture. The upside is freedom, prosperity, individual actualization, and the chance for anyone with guts and creativity to go from rags to riches. The downside is that the poor fall further than in other developed nations, mental health and incarceration rates are high, and the federal government’s attempts to implement universal policies are clumsy if implemented at all.
This is a reason why federal education, labor, and health policies aren’t as effective or predominant as many would like. Having traveled quite a bit, I’ve come to realize it’s simply not in the U.S. culture to be good at (or oftentimes in favor of) such universal initiatives.
This includes federal law enforcement and security. And this brings us to the Florida school shooting and gun control.
We all know the TSA is rarely praised by anyone and has shown a lack of effectiveness when tested. What about the FBI? Well, they had many chances to prevent the killing of these 17 students and staff. They didn’t.
What’s odd, then, about the reaction to the Parkland, Florida school shooting, is that those who like to point out the shortcomings of American national policy should want to take issue with this example of federal failure: People had let the federal authorities know about a deranged individual, the authorities failed to act, the deranged person killed 17. Yet the main reaction has been to blame the weapon.
Gun policy has become such a hot button issue for many Americans, that even when it’s not the main culprit in a tragedy, these folks dominate the social conversation to make it about guns (and Trump, who many of them dislike).
I’m of the belief that government is medicine. A country should only have as much as one needs. Thus, if such shootings exemplify a society in need of more medicine, then maybe we ought to prescribe more. But remember that the federal government is what failed those students in Florida. Federal law enforcement, which can’t handle the number of tips it receives, was put in charge of this deranged person and let him go.
In a country designed for minimal overarching policy and more local governance. Maybe the solution to America’s social ills lies not in directives from Washington DC but in leadership in our communities.