Saw this in the parking lot at Costco.
My daughter and I were perplexed.
He sighs as I speak
I’m his teacher
why talk about guns?
He loves them
I recount my weekend
driving up steep hills to find a lake
gunshots all around me
men with rifles and cans of beer (target shooting)
My dog was quivering beneath the seat
I express my distaste of weapons
Have I crossed a line?
It’s a funny time…
When two comes before one
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.
I detest guns. I’ve never even held one in my hand but I hate ’em. I read headlines about gun violence every day. This one was buried in AZCentral.com, but it just goes to show you that gun violence doesn’t even earn front page real estate anymore.
I wish there were no guns. But I know they’re not going away, not in this country. So I’m not rallying to take gun rights away.
I’m writing tonight to confess.
The new Bourne movie came out and I went to see it. It is FILLED with gun violence (stabbing and choking, too). I couldn’t help it. I am a huge fan of Matt Damon’s. And I like action movies. I like intrigue and psychological thrillers.
But people, it’s FANTASY.
And I think that is where some of us are going wrong. It’s a movie about bad guys vs. good guys/gals – the oldest story structure of all. And some Americans believe – truly believe – they are the good guys and with guns, and that they can fight and win a (gun)battle against a bad guy.
But more often – way more often – the good American gets fearful and shoots his wife/girlfriend/child/neighbor. The disgruntled employee shoots his boss and co-workers. The embittered, bullied student shoots his classmates. A 5 year old shoots his 2 year old brother. And too many bad guys have guns. Too many mentally ill people have access to guns.
So, I confess. I gave into a guilty pleasure. I supported a movie that glorifies gun violence and I know that’s bad.
I’m going to repent by teaching kids really well this year.
Chris, our neighbor across the street, and my husband were playing whiffle ball at 5pm on Memorial Day. Less than twelve hours later, Chris would shoot his wife and a stranger with his rifle while on a cocaine binge.
Through a series of clues (helicopters flying over head, freeway closing, news reports and three patrol cars in their driveway), we realized what happened. Willey wanted to knock on their door and let the three boys know we were there for them. Their mother was gone and their father was in custody. Were there any family members around for them? We didn’t know. But it felt too soon to “bother them”. A police officer stayed most of the day at their house and we took solace in that.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when a news truck came to our cul-de-sac and knocked on all of our doors for interviews, just twelve hours after the crime. And I was mystified at the lack of visitors – no friends? No family?
Should we go and check on them? No, I thought. They would not want to see anyone right now. And what would we say? I was afraid to say the wrong thing. Maybe in a week…
But this morning, we spotted the two older boys in their open garage. One just graduated from high school, the other is a few years older. We walked over and wordlessly hugged them, all four of us crying. They moved in a few months ago and I had only spoken to their mother a handful of times. Each time, she flashed a huge smile and stopped to talk in a way so few people do these days: with full presence. She spoke with a kind voice and affectionate eyes.
Willey said, “We want you to know we are here for you. If you need ANYTHING, do not hesitate to let us know. Anything.” Tearfully, they expressed their gratitude.
“Up until now, everyone who has called us or come to our door wants to know what happened. They want to know for their own sake. So it means a lot that you say that.” I did not realize that insurance companies, leasing agents, creditors and news organizations land like vultures on a house of survivors. When they need comfort and love the most, it’s the last thing they get.
In the wake of the ever increasing gun violence in our country (there was a murder-homicide on the UCLA campus today), it will be more and more important for us all to retain our humanity. Don’t be numb to it. Go over there. Hold them tight and express compassion.