Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bearing Witness

Now comes the hard part.  The funerals for the children and teachers who died at Sandy Hook are not getting as much press.  Who wants to keep thinking about our unbearable vulnerability? You'd never go to the movies again if you let Aurora get to you.  Remember Aurora?  That shooting took place at the hugely hyped premiere of a violent movie.  These people were shot there:
The little girl had been taken by her father to the midnight premiere as a special treat.  That gunman showed up dressed in combat gear.  Here is a quote from one of the survivors, Stephen Barton, who was shot in the face and neck.  He was interviewed by CBS:
"I thought we were going to get somewhere after what happened in Aurora and frankly, all we got was silence."
Sunday morning a stalwart advocate for peace at my church had a table with some bumper stickers and buttons for sale.  I picked up one lone sticker that said "Don't buy War Toys," but then got distracted signing a petition and put it down.  I had already wondered if I should put that on my car, or if it would just lead to some violent response such as keying my poor old Civic or, worse, puncturing tires.  After all, the opposition believes in violent action, and you've heard how they're talking online.  Women, too. 

I have just experienced today's 15 minutes of frustration looking online for that sticker, to put it up on this post, but didn't find it in a jpg, which is all I know how to use.  There is this article, though - you might want to read it.  I got the above photo off that site. 

I have vowed to continue bearing witness to these tragedies.  This is the essence of the awareness Buddhism teaches, that we take in the whole thing, all the suffering in the world, and not close our eyes to it.  Compassion and working for peace and social justice are all one thing.  I came up with a couple of ideas for activism today.  One is writing to the President or CEO of Barnes and Noble to remind them that their shelves are stocked with stuff like this.  WalMart knows better than that just now.  I imagine no one at Barnes and Noble has thought about it.  These are books I happened across looking for a Zen calender for next year.  You can buy a 365 day calender on guns, but not one on Zen.  Irony is not dead.
 Not thinking about it is what the pro-gun forces want us to do.  So stay with your sadness and anger, and suck it up.  This is a political process.  It takes work of a different kind than arguing with the violent people who show up on your Facebook somehow. Trading insults with them isn't going to get us anywhere except a little sick in our stomachs.  It takes money and publicity and encouraging the President to use his power and sticking with it.  Mother Jones had it right when she said, "Pray for the dead and work like hell for the living."

And, you could share this post.  Thanks.


  1. Here the ATF has been so decimated, Rachel outlines the problem:

  2. I was shot at numerous times as an 8 year old with my friend in Iowa, in the winter, in the snow when we walked down a frozen creek....luckily we were close to a neighbors house I knew, and hid tree to tree until we got there. There is no reason anyone "needs" guns to defend themselves.

  3. Jeanne, I've been sharing your wisdom like crazy! At first I had this thought that maybe I have put enough things on my facebook showing how I feel about these stupid guns, but then I realised I'm not done talking about this yet.