What I Am Actually Personally Going To Do About Guns in America And You Could Do It Too

וְכִתְּתוּ חַרְבוֹתָם לְאִתִּים, וַחֲנִיתוֹתֵיהֶם לְמַזְמֵרוֹת—לֹא-יִשָּׂא גוֹי אֶל-גּוֹי חֶרֶב, וְלֹא-יִלְמְדוּ עוֹד מִלְחָמָה.

And they shall beat their swords into plowshares; and their spears into pruning hooks. And no nation will raise a sword against another nation, and they will not teach war.”
— Isaiah, 2:4

They say the world is a mirror, and all we see is our own reflection.

So when tragedies abound and catastrophes rage, it means something’s going on, deep inside, and although we can’t change what’s happening in Orlando or Syria or down the block in Brooklyn, we can change what’s happening inside us, and watch how that has a ripple effect.

How that moves from inside our hearts and bodies and minds and changes into an actual deed, something kind or open or grateful to another that makes them feel happy or grateful or loved, and thus spins on a chain reaction.

So I’ve been looking at the news, and looking at Facebook, and wondering what it means.

People up in arms – literally – about how you can’t take their guns away, their right to protect themselves.

People in fear, certain that even if they don’t carry a weapon, the fact that weapons exist and can be used for protection gives them some sort of status among others, knowing the good guys might swoop in and protect at the last minute.

People waking up in concern over how it’s possible to live in a civilized country yet be the recipient of attacks; others paralysed in fear that going to a nightclub can result in massacre, all crying out in pain yet with nothing to do except cry.

And others, reminding us of the core of the issue, bringing forward their feelings of pain and invalidation over the years they’ve had to hide their true selves, their identities as gendered or sexual beings, and the lack of safety they’ve felt all their lives purely for who they are as people.

And it makes me think.

It makes me look deep inside, and wonder.

Where have I felt the compelling need to defend myself, so much so that I won’t give up whatever toys or tools I feel give me that power, even if I know it’s at the expense of others?

Where have I placed others under pressure to submit to my need to feel powerful and strong, whether through a destructive piece of metal or something apparently more innocuous, yet just as destructive?

When have I felt shocked, disempowered, confused at the fact that I live in a country where my own needs aren’t taken into account; and where have I been that person, that country that professes to be “one of the good guys” yet doesn’t have the needs of my own close ones – “constituents” – at heart?

Where am I being apathetic, fearful, defensive or destructive?

Where have I made remarks, even offhand, regarding another person’s sexual preference, essentially taking the privacy of their bedroom into the public arena, even if it’s only to remark on the way they cook or dress. Where have I made an assumption about somebody else’s lifestyle choice without acknowledging that sexuality is something private between one person and another, and not something up for discussion? Where have I failed to give a person the safe space they need, whether for gender or sexual reasons, or something else entirely, when they’ve come to a place of refuge or sanctuary?

Where am I being dismissive, callous or disrespectful?

".. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares..."

".. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares..."

The prophet Isaiah refers to the end of times, when war will not be taught any longer and all efforts towards defense, military, guns and ammunition will go towards agriculture, prosperity, feeding the hungry and tilling the soil of the earth. 

So I wonder how we can take this conversation, one bred of swords and spears, into one of creation and cultivation, of prosperity and moving forward as a nation?

And so it is, the way we react to tragedy. We read articles online, we share them, we sign some petitions and get bogged down in long Facebook threads.

We know it’s not our fault, and our fingers are itching to point, so point them we do: At the media; at the lobby; at the government; at the terrorists; at the homosexuals; at the God that could do this to others; at the God that does this in punishment; at the God that allows this to happen.

But this time, I’m going to look at the Godliness deep inside me, the soul we all have within and wonder:

How can I allow this to happen?

How am I fostering these energies in this world, and how can I prevent it?

Where does this exist in my own world, and how can I change it, right here, right now?

Let’s see what happens.