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What's Eating Us?

It has been said that a society that allows its children to be killed is ambivalent about its future. If that is true, then the United States is deeply ambivalent. One wonders how to think about our willingness to allow our children to be slaughtered while sitting in what is supposed to be one of the best spaces a child can be, their elementary school room.

Instead of it being a good space for our children, it is a space that is subject to the worse type of violence and a great possibility to be killed. What is the matter with us as a nation that we are unable to put this issue at the top of agenda and address it as the urgent matter that it really happens to be?

It is time for all of those who wish to play the guns don’t kill, people do, game and who are filled with platitudes laced with thoughts and prayers to be silenced. They need to be silenced by the noise of the footsteps of all of us who take the streets and by our loud voices declaring, “not in my name anymore.” It is so far past time for this nightmare for our children, parents, teachers, and other school staff to STOP!

All of the folks who love assault weapons so much and who believe that we should have a “national gun” the same as we have a national bird, flower, tree, song, need to hear that no one considers their notion a good one and that in fact, we wonder what is the matter with them. I was appalled to see Congressmen in Washington, D.C. wearing AR-15 lapel pins a few weeks ago. Why?

During the holidays Tennessee Representative, Andy Ogles (R) sent out a family Christmas photo with all of his family showing off their assault rifles. He represents the district where the Covenant School is located, the site of the recent school shooting and he has young children.

What could possibly be the point of making this your Christmas greeting card?

Is the power of being an elected official and the perks that come with that status more important than the lives of innocent people who are showing up each day to work in our schools and our innocent children that we are sending to those schools? Is the effort to keep the support of the gun lobby and the money that can be gotten from those folks who scream so loudly about their 2nd Amendment rights worth more than the life of all of the folks who are being shot to death by some person who has been encouraged to go shoot up a school because it is one of the easiest things that you can do?

Of course, it is going to take more than simply banning these weapons that never should have been made available in the first place, they probably should have never been invented. We have an addiction to violence, and we have a mental health crisis that is accompanying this matter and these facts make all of this even more problematic. But we are not going to solve the problem by continuing to have leaders who act and sound as if they have lost their minds, their integrity and any connection with human dignity and the possibility for compassion continue without accountability.

I think that we should protest both in the streets and in our elections. When the leaders see that their refusal to do anything about this matter will not keep them in power, they will hurriedly seek to take up whatever it is that they need to do to restore them to the positions that they crave.

But in addition to these actions, all of us have to work on our collective addiction to violence. We have to interrogate ourselves and pay attention to what we learn from such questioning. We have to stop allowing violence to be entertainment. We have to be more careful about how we interact with others both in our behavior and in our thinking. We need to become more aware of the subtle forms of violence that go unnamed but contribute energy to collective violence.

The planet cannot continue to sustain this violence and its ability to create brokenness. We have to turn the corner. The children know that. We have to join them. We cannot keep sending them to do what we refuse to do. Let’s be a half shade braver!

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