Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fear and Gun Control

I've avoided writing about the tragic shooting in Connecticut because my gut reaction is simply to run away and be "safe" on Lopez.  Not very productive or responsible, I realize.  A good friend posted a link to a thoughtful blog, portions of which I want to share below.  She found the words, when I could not.

Here are my five observations from the past couple of days:

Prayer and activism are not mutually exclusive.

For many of us they are inextricably connected. We don’t need to criticize those who are praying. You don’t have to pray or even believe in prayer, but be respectful (or at least quiet).

Politics is easier than grief.

To skip over feeling and rush to policy-making dehumanizes the process and weakens policy.

Blame is simply the discharging of pain and discomfort.

It has nothing to do with accountability. Accountability requires long, difficult, respectful conversations. Blame fizzles out with rage, where accountability is in for the long haul.

Self-righteousness is a sign of fear and uncertainty.

It has nothing to do with activism or change. The loudest and most vitriolic among us are often the most afraid. As my friend Harriet Lerner says, “Change requires listening with same level of passion that we feel when we speak.”

You can't shame a nation into changing any more than you can shame a person into changing.

Shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, violent behaviors than it is to be the cure. We need courage, vulnerability, hard work, empathy, integrity (and a little grace wouldn't hurt).

I believe we need common sense gun laws. I believe we need better access to mental health services. Neither one of these things will happen unless we’re willing to listen and to speak up about our own experiences and share our ideas. We can’t afford to be the silent majority on these issues.
Yes, I think I will need to follow her blog more closely.

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