With guest co-author Sylvia Gordon (aka Mira’s mom)
On December 14, 2012, Sylvia turned 71. Also on December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza made sure 28 people at Sandy Hook Elementary would never turn 71. Sixteen of them wouldn’t even turn 7.
If that memory is a shadow over Sylvia’s birthday, we can’t imagine the extreme trauma that families in Newtown feel every December 14. Or families in communities that are torn apart by preventable gun violence every day.
The murder of more children on someone else’s birthday in Uvalde TX moved us to tears. Again. Not only tears of sadness for the parents and children who will never celebrate another birthday, but tears of anger and frustration.
Why does this keep happening? The thing is, it’s not just Adam Lanza. Or Dylan Roof. Or Payton Gendron. Or Omar Mateen. It’s the hostage situation the extremists have put us in and our culture of violence.
Out-of-control lobbyists have taken us hostage, preventing legislatures from passing common sense reforms. Also, there is a huge, gaping, black hole of leadership on the pro-violence side of this issue. (Yes, we said “pro-violence.”)
We must free ourselves from our captors and pass some new laws. Universal background checks on all firearms transfers, even gifts. Mandatory firearms training and liability insurance. Safe storage off-site, staffed by a licensed attendant. A ban on assault weapons. A ban on ghost guns. No gun ownership before age 25. A ban on large ammo clips. A national registry of gun violations so someone whose gun has been taken away in New York can’t get a new one next door in Pennsylvania.
And here’s the big one: repeal the Second Amendment. We have a well regulated militia. When the framers wrote the Constitution, there was no common defense of the newly-established nation. Now, we have the best trained and equipped military force in the world. We trust the members of our armed services to keep us safe. Also, if you support the police, then support their calls for stricter gun regulation.
Even if our wish list was fulfilled, it wouldn’t be enough. If we don’t address our culture of violence, then white supremacists, extremists, and plain old angry white men will find other ways to take their anger out on innocent people. Where is the leadership from gun owners? From conservatives? From the NRA?
We don’t ask people of color to solve racism, so why are we asking people who don’t own guns to solve gun violence?
Gun owners and people opposed to common sense gun reforms must step up. Real leaders will send the message to their sister and brother Second Amendment advocates that frustration, anger and fear of change are not excuses for violence.
Being angry is ok.* Owning guns is ok. But not together. It is not ok to take out anger by spraying gunfire on innocent people.
We are waiting for the pro-gun crowd to prove to us that gun rights advocacy and hate don’t go hand in hand. Until conservatives and gun rights advocates start shutting down the replacement theorists, white supremacists and otherwise disaffected (mostly) white (mostly) men with guns, we will continue to call them pro-violence.
*Anger that’s not ok: white supremacy. Transphobia. Misogyny. Homophobia. You get our point.
One Reply to “A Culture of Violence”
HEAR YE, HEAR YE……agreed that the 2nd Amendment has passed is use by date.. Further, I would add that a few thousand years older than our 2d Amendment is an even older written rule of laws, with much of it as valid now as it was then: the Ten Commandments…a pretty simple, straightforward set of laws for us to follow in our daily lives, in everything we do, say and think, and most of all, a pretty good guideline for all laws we lay down within our government, businesses, and homes, etc.
The Ten Commandments were written at a time in history when people were also looking at life going awry.
It matters not what religion or race, or ethnic group put forth these laws as these laws are now and have been pretty much parallel throughout all religions, races and ethnic groups and for a very simple reason; because they are the baseline for all humanity, for all of us, no matter in what corner of the planet we reside.
In plain words we are ALL each other’s neighbors. And ‘loving’ each other is a very deep and humane emotion and commitment that will allow us to survive and thrive as human beings.
Love need not be selfish nor self-serving. Love is from the heart and soul of each of us towards each other as equal residents on this planet.
Too many of us strive for success in ways where there is gain, but this gain is for power, wealth, and property: that is, the many us who are born into the right race, religion and ethnic group wherever we reside on this planet to be able to make be on that narrow road give to us.
But too many of us have lost sight of what history tells us, that these gains are false gods, and every war, or murder or enslavement is a result of these false gods.
And the pity of it is, many of us know that we are but are swept up in this striving as if it were the only way to ‘success’; and yet everyday we see that this false striving is simply a perpetuation of that which divides and degrades us allowing the hatred and violence to find purchase as a malignancy does.
So we work harder, strive harder, and those of us who must pull ourselves up by the bootstraps strive even harder to fine equal stepping alongside those who have maligned them and kept them down. And then they find themselves arriving at the same place-a place that by its very nature keeps fostering the belief in these false idols, and then we all find each other needing to use the same hatred and violence against others to keep ourselves aloft by more subtle by just as deadly means: neighborhood restrictions, quotas for learning institutions, small ‘diversity attainments’ (with big publicity): and the most onerous of all charitable giving!!! Charitable giving one of the best means of keeping the class divide of the powerful over the powerless (and at the same time give the power classes a tax right off).
So yes, what we need after the new gun laws are passed, and in order to actually repeal the 2nd amendment is to turn our cheeks to a new order: and new learning by returning to the Ten Commandments and its spin offs and start to practice, practice, practice with our ourselves, with our neighbors, and with our perceived adversaries. To dissolve that which enslaves us all,, ridding ourselves of power and grow working together for the common goal of survival on this planet with the one common bond- that we are all human beings with our many variations and all our variations are indeed found in nature itself: as we are indeed, akin to the rainbow-all the colors and nuances that make up the rainbow as one entity, as we do as the genus homo sapiens.
Only love makes the world go ’round. Without the deepest meaning of love, we will perish as we have already begun to do; and within the deepest meaning of love, we will do more than just survive, we will thrive.
But to be able to express and act with love’s deepest meaning, we all must acknowledge that each of us must put in the work, that all of us harbor hatred and violence in many forms, subtle and overt, hidden and outward. It is this acknowledgment that must happen in the first instance: this is the pain we must accept that each in our own way have allowed this desecration of humanity to take hold. And then we can march together towards gaining success: its goal to being humane to each other in all the ways we can.