Creative Series 1: Writing and Perspective – How Controversy Can Become Unforgettable Stories or Articles
So, what kinds of problems can we find that could make “killer” stories or ideas?
Well, controversy sells. One issue that is hotly debated by politicians, communities, friends and family alike is the issue of guns. The NRA (National Rifle Association) is a non-profit organization that is predicated to the United States 2nd Amendment Right to Bear Arms (if you don’t know). There are countless organizations and groups which ally themselves to this organization.
There is a non-profit organization that is diametrically opposed to the NRA.
The organization opposed to the fundamentals of the NRA is Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit grass roots organization of “Americans fighting for common-sense reforms to reduce gun violence”. Founded in 2014, two existing groups came together: Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Our world continues to become smaller and smaller.
We are bombarded by tragedy every day. Perhaps overcrowding is beginning to seep into the metaphysical soul of our world. Perhaps, like caged rats, we are beginning to eat each other, scratching and killing each other to make room. As our world continues to shrink, we feel pummeled by death and destruction that prompts some people to shut off the local news. Our news media has proliferated to become social media, the worst of the world outscreaming the best. The worst tragedies relate to muggings, shootings, break-ins, robberies and other violence occurring all over the United States, even the world.
As far as we can tell, it is (for many of us) as if our world has gone crazy.
Perhaps that is not what is happening at all. Due to the proliferation of cell phones in the hands of billions of people, news that once was delivered by professional journalists and photographers is now in the hands of anyone who snaps a shot on their cell phone, and posts to a news site, or a social media site such as Facebook, Instagram or SnapChat. Therefore, tragedy that was once the purview of the News Editor is now in the hands of any person who owns a connection to the World Wide Web.
The most prevalent discussions, by presidential candidates or news media, have been about terrorism or religious extremism. Yet, all other violence that is depicted, pales compared to the annual rate of gun homicides in the United States.
This chart was released in June of 2015, 6 months before what many of us now know as a very controversial speech from a candidate running for president in December.
Guns, unfortunately, have been a part of the American culture since its inception in 1776. If you are one of those people who denies this fact, just ask any person outside of this country is depicted as, and they will tell you. Americans stand out as “gun-toting”, gun-crazy zealots in a country that shows as much pride in its gun laws, as in its contributions to our modern way of life.
Though I grew up on military bases, I was not raised to arm myself with a gun.
I served as a weapons specialist in the military for 20 years, was taught by my friends how to hunt for food as a teenager, using a rifle to bring down my first deer. I am an avid lover of violent action movies and have been one since I was a child. The difference between billions of mature males and myself who enjoy action and adventure as entertainment, is that we know the difference between right and wrong, believing in the predication of an agreeable common code of ethics and respect over violent extremism.
Entertainment centers around guns.
Take one of the most popular movies in the world, Star Wars. Its characters employ guns. They may be the stuff of science fiction, but they are weapons nonetheless. Look at some of the most popular movies throughout the passage of time, and you will find a great many of them (probably the higher percentage of shows) featuring guns as a part of the “story”.
Is this post against guns?
I am NOT writing this post for or against against guns or as a political platform for gun control. I am writing this post to mention that guns have been a part of our American and world culture for at least since the year 1364.
Guns have become as common in the United States as the cold virus.
The United States has become a country of hypocrisy. Laws have been enacted to control the sale and use of firearms. Laws have been drafted, lobbied and supported by hundreds of thousands of mothers. Yet, more firearms are carried by women than men in The United States. There are people however, who have in one way or another, stockpiled weapons, ammunition and illegal firearms in conflict with laws that were created to protect us as citizens, believing that they are within their rights as citizens. There are many countries with laws more stringent than those the United States has created to control the onslaught of more and more private citizens licensed to carry weapons for protection. Unlike many countries in the world today, the United States has been in a state of war, or involved in at least one world conflict since its inception in 1776.
The world continues to develop technological marvels.
Thanks to the advent of the 3D printer, a person can search for, download and manufacture their own weapon in the privacy of their home. Perhaps we should take it upon ourselves to not only become more proactive about those around us, but develop preventive actions to neutralize the possibility of an individual developing into a killer by setting specific monitors in place or gangs purchasing 3D equipment to manufacture unregistered firearms which can be deployed anywhere. I have linked two different articles. If you are reading this paragraph, please note that the person’s optimistic speculation about the future of 3D printed weapons, did not take into account the reality of our world. Not a good thought.
Focusing on targeting problems before they become problems.
Instead of pointing fingers or conducting witch hunts of specific religions, cultures or countries, perhaps a better solution would be to come up with solutions to the serious problem of gun-related killings. Our present-day culture takes pride in our ability to develop, create and manufacture superior technology. If someone does not understand the difference between right and wrong, or has arrived at the point that the murder of innocent people are part of their plan for global domination, perhaps we need to devise a technology or methodology that is able to pinpoint such a personality before it reaches the point where it wants to do harm.
Are we all driven by some kind of causality to act on our emotions?
Such a motivation can drive us to fulfill certain behaviors. Perhaps what must be developed is a drug or technique that modifies the behavior of a potential murderer. Suppressing the receptors in the brain that motivate a person to act on specific emotions that would cause others harm could be such a solution. Knee-jerk reactions after people have died from wanton mass murder is hardly a solution. Lives have already been lost, therefore, no solution has been made.
Guns are an effective deterrent to violence.
Yes, there are people who will argue with you until they are blue in the face that guns deter violence. Really. They do. I know many of these people. Yes, they are my friends and I place much value in them as my friends. They are entitled to their opinions as I am entitled to mine.
Summing up how a controversial subject can make for really good writing.
If this article is driving you to say something, post a response or even click on a raised or lowered thumb, I have done my job. I have effectively shown you how to take a subject that can be highly controversial and turned into a story, article or book idea that any writer can use to evoke responses emotional enough to garner attention to what they are writing.
What will we discuss next? The highly controversial subject of writing well.