Friday, December 14, 2012

living life for today & thoughts on guns in the wake of the #CTshooting

It seemed surreal to me when I first heard about what happened in Connecticut today.  This morning I spent time outside with Olive, building a snowman and playing with a sled.  I'm fairly certain that I saw Olive express the most joy I have ever seen her express while sitting in the sled while I ran around the yard and while falling off into a big pile of snow.  During those very same moments, when we were both so full of joy, someone so full of hate was ending numerous lives halfway across the country.  Lives of little children barely older than Olive.  No one, not even criminals and terrible people, deserve to have their lives ended in such a way, let alone young children in Kindergarten through fourth grade.

It's so difficult to fathom how that could happen and to understand the emotions you feel when hearing this news.  Unless you're directly involved in the events and feel that loss it's very hard to understand.  But regardless, we all try to and we all feel a heavy weight of sadness, loss, disbelief, and a lack of understanding.

There isn't a thing that can be said to make situations like this any better.  And what can we learn from this going forward?

Gun related massacres seem to be increasing in our country - mass shootings seem to be in the news at least once a month varying in scale.  Just yesterday there was a shooting in Oregon.  Last month there was a shooting at a salon in Wisconsin, a temple in Wisconsin just before that, the horrific theater shooting just before that.  The list goes on and on and they seem to be getting closer and closer together.

On a more local scale, guns are constantly in the news.  My neighborhood is riddled with shootings and gun related deaths - mostly involving teenagers.  It's so tragic.  In the last few weeks a man shot and killed his OWN SON when he thought he was an intruder.  Another man shot and killed two unarmed teenagers that had broken into his home.  Not long before that there was a mass workplace shooting in my neighborhood.  Not only did the shooter kill his former boss and coworkers but also the UPS man who happened to be in the building delivering packages at the exact moment the attack occurred.  Last week a boy took his parent's gun out of a locked safe and shot and killed his little brother.

I don't like guns.  If you heard gunfire rather regularly on the streets where you lived, sometimes in the middle of the day, I assume you would also dislike guns.

In junior high a boy brought a gun to school as well as a hit list.  Actually, in high school we had a bomb, too. I don't like guns, or bombs.

I'm not an expert on guns.  I don't have all of the answers.  But I can't see how guns are helpful.  I've been looking through the numbers and I can't find any statistics that say guns protect more than they harm.  If guns weren't in the hands of anyone.. they wouldn't kill anyone.

I know I know... other things kill too.  Bad people have bad intentions.  But I would be way more willing and able to protect myself, a stranger, or a room full of innocent children against a person with a knife or a baseball bat than with a gun.  A gun is a cowardly choice of a weapon - you don't need to be in close proximity to your victim.  You can be anonymous even.  This reminds me of the terrible things people seem able to say on the internet.  Things they would never say to someone's face.  I'm willing to bet that quite a few people who are able to shoot other people would not have been able to severely injure those people in a more hands on face to face manner.  I highly doubt that this man would have killed TWENTY CHILDREN with another form of a weapon without someone first intervening if he did not have a gun.

How do we stop gun violence?  How can we fix what has already been done?  I really don't know..  It would be impossible to take all of the guns away.  Completely impossible.  But some sort of gun control has to happen.

A limit of one gun per person.  Making it impossible to purchase assault rifles and weapons (WHY on EARTH is that legal?).  Strict rules on hunting weapons.  Strict rules on where and how to store guns.  Gun education being required, screenings required.  I don't know.  But obviously something has to be done.

There is nothing you can say that will make me feel any better about guns being available to every day people.

Maybe you own one for safety or for hunting.  Maybe you're not going to kill anyone.  But what is to stop someone else from using your gun - stealing it from your home.  Or a relative using it.  It sounds like today's shooter used his mother's guns.  Whoops.

I just saw an interesting tweet on Twitter.  One "shoe bomber" and suddenly we all have to take our shoes off at the airport.  Every day.  No exceptions.  For years.  62 mass shootings in the last 30 years - SEVEN this year alone... but not a single gun law change.  How is that justifiable?

I also read a tweet from Australia.  Their last gun massacre was in 1996.  And then they changed the gun laws.  Period.  The end.

I used the example earlier that not everyone is responsible.  Sure, plenty of people who buy and own guns are responsible but not everyone is.  Most people are responsible enough to wear their seat belts in their car but not everyone is - so it's a law.

Guns aren't the only issue here.  The state of our society is almost in disrepair.  I don't know how to make it better.  There is mental illness, there are challenges people face beyond my imagination, there are gangs, etc.  There are so many contributing factors to terrible things but let's make it harder for these things to happen.

Let's make it easier for people who need help to seek it and get it - make it free, make it easy to find, make them not feel "crazy" for needing help.  Encourage people to speak out when something seems wrong - when someone seems wrong.  Make tools of mass carnage more difficult to posses.

And for myself, as a Christian, all I feel capable of doing right now is praying.  Praying for those affected by this horrible mess but praying for society as a whole.  In so many ways so many things are getting worse.  We need so much help.  We need God's guidance and His comfort.

We also need to live our lives to the fullest each and every day.  Our lives are so very fragile and even while I type that, I don't completely believe it.  Even the most down to Earth of us have somewhat of a sense of invincibility.  Maybe it's a good thing in some sense but also a bad one if it makes us value the minutes.. the seconds.. of our lives a little less.

I do not want my life to be comfortable or easy.  I want to do something with my life.  I want to live my life for the Lord, I want to touch people's lives, I want to raise a family that will do the same.  I want to effect positive change in the world and, if anything, what today's events have done, is remind me of this.  I need to live my life for today - for right now.  I know this and you know this but we need to be reminded that we may not be here this evening, tomorrow afternoon, come 2013, or in four years.  We just don't know.  So don't wait for tomorrow, or next week, or when your financial situation is more comfortable.  Do something today.

If you believe in God - what would you have to say to Him about your life if you were to die today?  You didn't get a chance to get around to doing His will yet?  You were going to talk to someone about Jesus tomorrow?  You were going to give change to the guy on the street corner next week?  You were going to start tithing or donating to a worthy cause once your debts were paid in 1, 2, 10, 20 years?  You were going to adopt a child after you had a few of your own?  Do something now.  Stop waiting - you may only have tomorrow left.  Your children may only have tomorrow left - so teach them to value this very second and teach them to devote their entire being to whatever cause they live for and to do it now.

No comments:

Post a Comment