Saturday, December 15, 2012

Once again

Once again, our nation reels in the aftermath of the unthinkable. We see our friends on fb and message boards trying to come to terms with the horrors of a mass shooting. It's been a difficult week for our national psyche.

It's been a hard week for our personal psyche.

I wrestle with this as someone whose body and psyche bear the scars of gunshot wounds from random gun violence; as the widow of a man killed by a drunk driver;as the parent of a young adult male blessed with autism; as someone who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 19-and has managed to have a good life;as someone who who has friends who own guns, and friends who don't. There are no easy answers, but it is past time for the conversations to take place

There are many levels of conversation that need to take place.I cringed when I heard the words autism and aspergers in the news yesterday. It is difficult enough for my gentle giant man-child to walk through a public place without hearing hateful words being directed at him. We don;t need the additional stigma. There are those thinks meds should be banned-we have no knowledge of any meds yet. I take meds for mental health issues, and they make my life better.There are those of us who think reasonable gun control laws will help.There are those who think we all need more guns (have to admit that one eludes me)There are just so many different issues here. I admit that when I heard that the guns belonged to his mother I had difficulty wrapping my head around a mother with a child with some issues having a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle and body armor in her home. But, saying that gets me lambasted by my friends who own guns. There has to be a way for us to discuss ALL of the issues in a reasonable way.I don't know that there are any easy answers, I do know that we have to discuss these things.

Many Americans want reasonable controls on who can purchase firearms, when, how, and what kind. They don't want to interfere with hunting or keep non-violent law abiding people from having a registered handgun at home for protection, but required safety classes, no semi-automatic weapons, waiting periods, registration, and no criminal records seem reasonable enough. But,I get that there is disagreement, I just think we have to stop lining up against people with differing opinions and seek a reasonable compromise. Come let us reason together.

I see my fb feed filling up with people who are asking their friends to post 20 stars for the children and 6 stars for the adults who were killed yesterday. I get that. But for me there were 8 adults killed yesterday and my prayers have to include the young man and his mother. I have to pray for them all.

I see comments everywhere referring to the young man as a monster, a psychopath, sociopath, evil, etc. I get that, but I cringe when I read that, because we have no idea exactly what happened in this young man's brain. I can agree that what happened was monstrous, horrific, and has changed us all. I have to include him in my prayers, because in my faith traditions, he is being held and healed by a loving Creator.More than one person has commented that they looked at his picture and could tell he was evil. I looked at his picture and wept for the sweet child I saw. I  have to pray for the father and brother who are left to mourn in the midst of unthinkable pain.

So many conversations need to happen, and while we are numb with shock and grief,we can still begin to have those conversations. Conversations about gun controls, conversations aobut mental health issues, conversations about a society that seems to glorify violence. All of these things need to be discussed. Not with finger pointing and rancor. Not with defensive posture towards those whose ideas are different than ours. But with compassion, and caring, and civility. We seem to have lost that, and perhaps that is also one of the things we need to discuss.

We're all reeling over the news. Believe me, I get it. In addition to the sense of helplessness, disbelief,and shock we all feel when these things happen, it brought lots of memories up for me. I am a gun violence survivor. Random, senseless violence. It leaves us all reeling. But, it is time to move forward after the shock wears off. It is time to come together, to reason together over the multiple issues at work here. It's past time.

As I pray for each family of the 28 people who were killed I will go back to the poem that has brought me solace in the violent death of my husband...may each one who mourns be comforted...

Love is stronger than death.
So I must be content to know that
love is not affected by death--
it doesn't end, it doesn't diminish,
it doesn't change.
Instead, love is immortalized
and eternalized through death.
And the possibility of that love ever
being damaged or broken
is eliminated forever.
I'll put my trust in love.


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