Yes, we have a gun and violence problem. But ultimately, we have a heart problem

Posted at 10:39 AM, Oct 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-06 10:39:28-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Thursday evening I watched the sun set at beautiful Riverview Cemetery by the James River.

Minutes later, up came the harvest moon through a light, scarf-like shroud of pastel-tinted clouds.

Then suddenly, from seemingly across the river, came a long rat-a-tat sound very similar to the horrific rifle fire in Las Vegas on Sunday.

My heart skipped a beat.

And then the distant and familiar blare of an air horn revealed it was just the clatter of another passing coal train.

Still, I felt lost as I sat in the cemetery and wondered what has happened to us.

Everything is like a hurricane these days - our politics, our protests, our social discourse, our violence, and yes, even our storms.

I don't know about you, but Sunday's slaughter has made me feel homesick - like we've lost our way and can't go back.

Or don't know how.

We hear the usual voices shouting the usual slogans, solutions and positions. Politics. Conspiracies. Agendas.

While we wait for it to happen again.

So here we are on the raggedy edge, to quote one of my favorite shows.

Not only do we have 300 million firearms in this land, we have almost exactly the same number of cars and trucks. (86 dead and 458 maimed in the truck attack in Nice, France last year. And one killed and many others broken in Charlottesville.)

There are almost 40,000 airplanes in this world. (2,980 people were killed and 6,000 wounded by just three aircraft on 9/11.)

And we have millions of tons of fertilizer and other commonly available mixers and fuels that go bang. (The Oklahoma City bombing killed 168 and wounded 680 others.)

We can and should work together to find gun control solutions that can actually make a difference. It is crazy how we shoot each other.

But we have a deep sickness among us, and endless ways to detonate it.

It's like a race to be more creative, more diabolical, more shocking, in the body count Olympics.

Meanwhile, the more "normal" among us claw at each other's eyes over monuments, kneeling during the anthem, gender potty parity, the weather, policing, "justice" - it's a weekly/monthly frenzy fueled by our divisions.

There's hardly any healthy backbone left of news information, just competing agendas fueling our own as the tension mounts on social media.

We scream at each other because everyone agrees on just one thing: We hate to be lost.

How can we find our way?

I believe we must regain a sense of gratitude, a knowledge of how lucky we are to take one breath in this beautiful world, in a country blessed like no other.

Our real and perceived slights and burdens can be shared and discussed while we sit together and work it out like grown-ups, even if our leaders won't.

Our lives - our future - depends on it, because all we have is each other, and even that for just a brief moment in time.

Yes, we have a gun problem, a mass killing problem, a day-to-day violence problem, an ugly social media problem.

Because, ultimately, we have a heart problem.

Watch for Mark Holmberg's Take Thursday's on CBS 6 News at 11 p.m.