It used to be that zooming-in on a target meant bringing your rifle to your shoulder, sighting your object through a small ‘v’ on the top, squeezing the trigger, and one bullet would zoom straight to your target. This marksmanship took practice. And if you practiced enough with a pistol you could grasp if from the holster on your hip, point it in the general direction of your target and still hit it.
But times have changed. Now, anyone can hit the target from either hip, or from both at one time for that matter, without any practice. All you need is one or two Bushmaster .223 Caliber rifles, the gun used by the killer at Sandy Hook Elementary School to spray 155 bullets in less than 5 minutes. And NRA members say hunters need these guns so they don’t have to reload as often!
Those who have allowed this way of life have come through thousands of years of thinking that they must protect themselves from those they distrust or fear. They feel that these weapons give then the upper hand even when they often bring death to the innocent.
Let’s shoot straight from the hip in considering the ‘why’ of our reliance on guns for safety today. Let’s begin by spraying our love energy in all directions to ALL involved – starting with ourselves! Hundreds of children have died from guns since that terrible Dec. 14, 2012 occurrence that still grips our nation. Would we be so caught-up in this particular massacre if it had occurred at an inner-city school in Richmond, California? I think not. I, a white woman, taught early-childhood education classes there for years, and in a similar situation the pictures of most of the children would not have shown them neatly dressed but in hand-me-downs. Their mostly single mothers would not have been able to leave their jobs to campaign against guns. In four months their story would have been delegated to the back pages of the newspapers. Hopefully, the Sandy Hook killings will continue to be on page one and will make a difference in our gun laws. Our tears indicate a universal feeling of sharing the suffering of others, but particularly when the children involved remind us of our children.
The fact is that this empathy from those outside that community involved is dampened when hearing about the daily deaths in the mean streets of Chicago, or the thousands of children killed in Bosnia, Africa and elsewhere. Does this show some below- the-surface racism or social classism? I think not. Rather it shows an ignorance about these areas of our country and our world that until recently seemed far away. But I believe the biggest factor is our lethargy that comes from thinking that there are no solutions to these problems of inequality, or that this is not our problem. These feelings, both here and abroad, are fueled by the armament and gun sellers and the politicians in their pockets, so we’ll feel the ‘need’ of protection from these ‘others’. Let’s shoot from the hip with the reality bullets that show there are no winners in war but also no winners when locking up most of the black young men in our cities. Then we can begin reclaiming our humanity by finding creative solutions that benefit everyone.
To do so we need to see where our mid-set that nurtures violence lies. It is shown in the ways of living by those who buy, barter and lie their way through life – and then try to take what they think is theirs. This is often done without breaking laws and so we, caught up in success= money, fail to see the wrong because they seem to prosper. These ways of living lessen the community as these thoughtless ones take for themselves by leaving others out. But we pretend not to notice because we don’t want to rock-the-boat. Former President Bush told us to ‘go shopping’ as this would improve the economy – and keep our focus off of how his war was escalating. Now this busyness of life has taken over so that life is not always fruitful in the gracious sense. Rather, we live by taking but not giving, eating but not planting and touching but not loving. This has escalated in our families and our communities.
Government is the next rung of this ladder needing shaping-up through a barrage of straight-shooting thoughts. Our nation took this same road of individualism to the extreme which caused many to see us as the world’s most powerful nation when we were becoming less so. We’ve supported actions by pretending not to see how national security was a cover for our governments many forms of terrorism: from torturing prisoners to selling munitions to all sides of a conflict. In our pretense that our leaders are telling us the truth, we continue to let our country breed the terrorists that our leaders then tell us to distrust and fear.
Through this fear we’ve allowed our youth to become fodder in wars to annihilate all who would keep us from controlling the resources of the world. These youth become robots who follow the commands of those sent to do the work of their officers, their Presidents, and the masses (including you and me) who support them. This path to killing a so-called enemy is debilitating to everyone involved. And the hate and suspicion spawned continues through many generations.
In forgiving ourselves for our part in much human suffering, including the part played by the mentally deranged man who killed those 20 children, we’ll more clearly see the ‘why’ of the deranged political infighting over ‘what’ to spend ‘where’. Healthy families verses military bases all over the world! How can we expect to raise mentally healthy youngsters in a country that starts wars through lies or secretly kills thousands with unmanned drones? We owe our children freedom from fear – not armed teachers.
It’s now time to shoot-from-the-hip by shouting down the walls of ignorance that allow a few to continue breeding fear and violence as a way of life. This includes those who tie-up the workings of government so we think we can’t make the needed changes. It’s time to tear open the hearts of those not moved to action so they see the blood of children flowing in the streets. But in the process we need to remember that these others we blame are also us in various disguises. It’s time to reclaim ourselves as the spirits we are. Then by putting all posturing aside we marvelous creators will also find ways of re-aligning ourselves with Mother Earth by making the needed changes there. We each see this, we feel this. Now we need to act – but not in fear, only love!