It’s been a terrible few days here in the USA. A shooter opened fire on a crowd of concert goers and killed at least 50, and injured hundreds more. Social media went wild with reports and speculation and videos…and of course, the usual fare of those who think no one has the right to own a gun for any reason, and those who are willing to die fighting for their right to keep and bear arms…even if it’s just sitting in the closet, untouched, for decades.
And, as always, all this rhetoric only serves to divide us further. We are a nation divided against ourselves on this issue and in the words of Abraham Lincoln: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Having grown up on a farm where guns were normal, and then spent most of my adult life married to an ex-Army Sniper-turned gunsmith, I am definitely on the side of the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment. But I can also hear and feel the pain of those who lost their lives or loved ones, and I can understand their need to understand “why” and their desire to try to do something about it so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.
But, let me digress for a moment…
As you all know, I’ve been driving a truck for potato harvest the last few weeks, as I’ve done every fall for the last twelve years. Every year, I pick up the loose potatoes left on the ground by the diggers and carry them home to my neighbors; many of whom, are poor. Two days ago, I arrived home late and, not wanting to wake anyone up, I delivered sacks of potatoes to people’s front steps, tip-toeing around and feeling somewhat like Santa Claus while I attempted to make my deliveries without rousing anyone’s dog.
A few minutes ago, the elderly woman who lives next door, arrived on my front steps with an ice-cream container full of homemade “Vegetable-beef soup” that was really more like “potato-hamburger soup” that had clearly been made with the potatoes I had just delivered a few nights ago. Smiling from ear to ear, she handed me the container that is enough to feed me for a week and I have to say…it’s delicious. I envy her broth-making skills.
As we stood there on my porch, exchanging niceties and chatting about current events, her confusion was clear. Bouncing back and forth between telling me how her sister owns a gun because she’s alone out in the boonies and it makes her feel safe, and her concern about how much her sister could hurt someone else with that same gun, I could never quite discern what her opinion is on the subject…even as she admitted she and her husband are gun owners as well, but, “It’s fine because we’re not going to hurt anyone.”
We said our good-byes and I returned to my house and proceeded to chow-down two big bowls of her delicious soup while I contemplated our conversation and current events. But mostly I contemplated her confusion and mixed feelings. I think a lot of us are feeling that way right now. We hate to see so many innocent people senselessly mowed down…but we also feel protective of our constitutional rights that are threatened every time someone breaks the law and commits murder with a gun…and it creates a quandary for us. We empathize…but.
Throughout the Quest of the Guardians saga, Malakai has been learning about how magic can be powered by fear or love, and the choices he makes can directly impact the outcome for an entire world. Everyday, he faces the decision to choose love or fear and I think that’s a decision we all face everyday, as well. Especially in times like these. Will we be ruled by our fears, or will we choose to put our energy into love?
A few days ago I hopped out of my truck to pick up some potatoes off the ground and gave them to people that I know struggle to make ends meet and often rely on food pantries to be able to eat. Today, one of those people gave back in the form of a giant tub of potato-hamburger soup with the best broth I’ve ever tasted in my life. I gave and she gave back. I think the lesson here is that if we can give just a little love to our neighbors, it will come back to us ten-fold. Perhaps we can apply this thought to more pressing issues as well; like the one about gun rights. A little give on both sides of the aisle has the potential to narrow the divide and bring about changes that are acceptable to everyone….making our country safer for us all.
So maybe we could all stop stubbornly “sticking to our guns,” (you’ll pardon the pun, won’t you?)…and instead, let’s bring soup to our neighbors and work this out like rational adults.
P.S. FWIW, while I welcome your comments and I do read every one, I won’t be engaging in any flame wars.