To heal a sickness, one must point back to the environment in which they were healthy in order to determine the variables that lead to their disease. So let us consider the maladies of the present day, as we reflect on the recent massacres in California, Texas, and Ohio.

Emotionally speaking, I understand why people, when searching for solutions to ending these massacres, default to conversations about gun control. It’s one highly visible common denominator in these tragedies, and people are desperate to see these events cease.

Practically speaking, it doesn’t make sense to me to isolate this variable. Americans have always had access to firearms, and historically had even easier access to automatic rifles. Why then the recent uptick in shootings? For answers, we have to look to the environment as a whole.

But here’s where it gets tricky. Conservatives and traditionalists will point to dissolution of the family (especially fatherhood), public faith (with the exception of Islam), and virtue (Christian). Liberals and progressives will point to issues like hate or supremacy (especially from whites or normative “cis” types), victimhood (marginalized people acting out in response to “systemic” oppression), and access to firearms and certain types of public discourse.

Once we have selected a paradigm, it becomes difficult to empathize with the “other side.” To further complicate matters, American intelligence has a long history (a century?) of Machiavellian public deception. Regardless of how much one might entertain so-called “conspiracy theories,” we can all agree that the reality projected is not entirely true. So it’s important to exercise skepticism when forming opinions around highly publicized events.

We have no problem doing this when it’s in reference to “the other side.”

We can go back and forth trying to get to the bottom of why these tragedies occur. But it’s especially difficult to disconnect ourselves from our own confirmation bias which causes us to cherrypick information to satiate our worldview.

I have my own views regarding the environment in which we live, and how it’s making so many of us sick. And you have yours. We don’t have to agree on the solutions.

There are entities who want us divided, dispirited, and defeated. Virtually all of us want this violence to cease. We are not all going to agree about the solutions. But in the very least, can we come together to consider the unhealthy environment and to resist jumping to conclusions?

Resist the temptation to be divided. This won’t ever be possible with deep and honest love for one another.