All across the United States, articles, videos, and other types of commentary are filling our screens, our print media, and all our other types of social media about gun laws, gun violence, and what went wrong in the case of Nikolas Cruz. Strong opinions are being expressed on both sides about what should be done. Americans protesting across the nation are waving signs and screaming out opinions about what should be done. Twitter and Facebook are full of outrage.

Russian bots, backed by people forever on the lookout for issues the American people can be torn apart over, are pushing hashtags, memes, and outrageous posts and tweets that angry people grab on to all across our nation and retweet and repost over and over and over again. We as a people are tired of being ignored by the National Rifle Association and the politicians that the National Rifle Association paid for. One too many children and one too many teachers have been slaughtered by an American wielding an AR-15.

We are hungry for things that will get under the skin of our opponents, because they are under our skin. They are under our skin with their unreasonable gun views and ignorant gun ideas, and also by retweeting and reposting things highlighting these views.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the Russian bots are working away at our society, tearing at our very societal fabric.

What can be done? Is it wrong to forward a post that shows a 1950’s-style father in front of his clean-cut 1950’s style children, wielding a hunting rifle and telling his family that guns are just like shovels, garden hose, and pencils, no more and no less dangerous, because they are just tools, tools, tools, and only tools? Then again, is that really true? How many people would’ve been killed if Nikolas Cruz had gone into that school with a garden hose?

Then again, another question would be whether or not it is wrong to forward a post that says, “Recent evidence reveals that Nikolas Cruz did not act alone. He was aided by than 250 members of congress, two US presidents, and the National Rifle Association.” I admit that I myself forwarded that one and I feel that it’s true, but should I have forwarded the post? Heck, I don’t know. I felt like the point should have been made.

At some point, we need to stop fighting and start talking. However, I don’t feel like anyone is listening when I talk. The flip side of that is that when I use social media to talk, I may be helping Russia and its campaign against my own country. You probably know that several Russian nationals were indicted by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, in the past several days for using social media to hack our elections, to undermine our faith in our elections, to undermine faith in our institutions, and to sow discord in the United States. A lot of Democrats are accusing Trump and his campaign of colluding with those Russians. Are we colluding with them ourselves, now that we know what they’re doing?

Jamie Watts 2-18-18