C.W. Dawson

The Rev. C.W. Dawson Jr. was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy at MU. He teaches at Columbia College and Moberly Area Community College and writes for the Missourian.

The speech Mr. Trump gave Monday in the aftermath of the tragedies in El Paso and Dayton was moving.

For once, he sounded like the president of the United States of America by denouncing racism, bigotry and white supremacy.

Of course, he did not address how his prior rhetoric fanned the flames of racism, bigotry and white supremacy ideology in America. Perhaps that is a speech or tweet coming in the next few days.

Suffice it to say that he did acknowledge that racism is real and that the growth of the white supremacy movement is a serious threat to this country. Domestic terrorism is not a figment of the imagination of a few.

Now we see if the president means what he says and will do something to unify instead of divide the nation. We shall see.

The other major issue we must address is the problem of guns and violence in America.

Reportedly, there have been 251 mass shootings in the U.S. this year. The death toll has reached over 8,700 people, with 17,300 or more injuries. A total of 33,237 shooting incidents have been reported across the country.

We know that many shootings are not reported. We cannot ignore the presence of gun violence in our society.

Clearly, there are no easy answers or solutions to the problem. Yes, we need to prevent the mentally ill from having access to assault weapons. Yes, violent video games seem to numb us to the horrific reality of violent death. Yes, we have some problems with social media.

But these alone fail to address the problem in its totality. Somehow we must break from our propensity to think all problems can be settled by violence.

From the old Wild West personae to the prominence of “gangsta” rap, one thing is painfully obvious: There is a hole in America’s soul.

We are killing one another. Our violent character has led us to disaster.

The time for talking about gun violence and gun control is over. There have been enough seminars on communities and violence, books suggested and prominent speakers pontificating about the problem.

We need our national, state and local leaders to act. It is too easy to get a gun in America.

I have grown up with guns all my life. My father (and later me along his side) would hunt every winter.

We filled our freezer with wild game. But never did we use an assault rifle to hunt. We hunted rabbits and deer, not Bigfoot or Godzilla.

My point is the availability of semi-automatic and automatic assault weaponry is unjustifiable. Common sense states that we must change our thinking about guns if we are going to survive.

I am learning, however, that common sense is not all that common.

It is interesting how tragedies bring us as Americans together. I hope that we will come together about gun violence and violence in toto.


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To build the common good, we must enact laws that keep us from killing each other while we work on methodologies that can teach us how to love each other.

So, Mr. President, I hope you are being real with what you said Monday and pull Republicans and Democrats together to reform gun laws in America.

Our condolences to the families who mourn in El Paso, Dayton and Chicago.

May we one day learn to beat our swords into plowshares and study war no more.

The Rev. C.W. Dawson Jr. was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy at MU. He teaches at Columbia College and Moberly Area Community College and writes for the Missourian.

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