I am praying for peace as I write this, hoping that we aren’t too lazy and distracted to go up against the National Rifle Association as we mourn our country’s latest victims of gun violence.
When I started writing these pieces, I was advised that I should not write about political issues. Jizo & Chibi, mindfulness and psychotherapy, grief and anxiety and stress were my focus. Writing about political things would take me ‘off message’ and hurt my ‘brand.’
But mindfulness is not a brand. It is being awake. To be enlightened is not some amazing act at the top of a mountain in Nepal, it is to be awake and compassionate to whatever the present moment is for any of us.
And presently, I cannot catch my breath. I have not finished with my feelings about what happened last week in Newtown, Conn. I am at critical mass. My Washingtonian blood, my parents, my culture are boiling up inside me and I am writing this instead of screaming at the television. With each mass shooting this country has seen, I started growing more and more numb. I spread oblivion over the shock so that I could just go forward in as little pain as possible. But with this most recent shooting, I am sick with grief and I need to use my voice to protest.
For months prior to the killing of more children last week, some people of Newtown were doing target practice outside of the accredited shooting ranges. The townspeople, who like their guns, wanted some form of ‘control’ over the proliferation of exploding targets that were sending huge booms and shock waves to homes nearby. They wanted shooting laws that prevented shooting practice 20 feet from neighbors’ homes. The love of guns and automatic bursts of bullets was spreading and many residents were concerned. They weren’t, and aren’t, alone.
The reason 20-year-old Adam Lanza was able to kill so many children so effectively is that he knew how to use an automatic weapon. He knew how many bullets to shoot at a time so that his gun would not jam.
No child or young adult needs to know how to handle an automatic weapon so effectively. And that is just the beginning. We need so much more control over how and which guns are allowed in our country. We must demand such change from our leaders. A Facebook friend passed me a petition by a woman named Staci Sarkin calling for gun control. Please find it here.
Let’s come out of denial. Let’s not let all these lives lost be for nothing. Please speak up. We will never be rid of guns, but what kind of guns and how many bullets are allowed in the United States is something we can aim to address.
We can aim for a shot at peace.
I am out of words. I just needed to say this. And send it. And let it go. And grieve some more. And lean into the robes of my Jizo-nature that can keep me grounded in a world that is growing increasingly sad.