choosing life over mass shootings…

Besides sharing an initial post and some friends’ posts, I haven’t shared much since the most recent mass shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I’ve just been at a loss for words. The expected debate on media and in social media has been the same as the previous times with lame comparisons to death by motor vehicles, the assertions that if a killer wants to kill they will kill, calling the perpetrator evil, scapegoating the mentally ill, blaming media, etc. all the while claiming with clenched fist that having horrific weapons is a right that supersedes life. It’s insanity. Of course the issue of gun violence is a complex one including issues of mental illness (and it is clear that this young perpetrator was failed in this regard), a culture that at times glorifies violence for entertainment, and at times encourages cynicism. These should have our attention as should other issues that have been brought up recently, issues of toxic masculinity, toxic individualism, and white nationalism. Yes, we need better health care for all that includes mental health services. All of this should be looked at, but much of this isn’t unique to the United States, but mass shootings at the level we are seeing are.

The elephant in the room is the AR-15 and weapons like it, created for one thing only – killing as many people possible in as short a time as possible. They are meant for war. But we aren’t allowed to have a debate about it even though the reality is most American and even most gun owners are in line with banning such weapons (not all guns! Just mass killing machines) and having sensible gun regulation. Yet, the NRA and some in political leadership won’t have the discussion and refuse to give up the “right” to have a killing machine, valuing that right over the lives of children, and life in general.

Seeing all of this come up again and again is enough to bring on despair and cynicism, but something changed this time. Like a soldier who has seen the unspeakable horror of war and speaks out against such atrocity, these children, these young citizens having seen the horror of gun violence first hand are not backing down. They are the future and their message is clear: Life is what is to be valued. There is a path being cleared within all of the usual insanity, with cutting clarity by these young people. I’m inspired by them, I want to reignite my voice to join with their strong voices, supporting them, standing with them.

There is hope.

~j

“We serve life not because it is broken, but because it is holy.” ~ Mother Teresa

#GunViolence #EndGunViolenceNow #GunRegulation #MassShootings #FloridaShooting #Life #Hope #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #LoveWins #enso #JMWart

there is hope…


[photo credit: Hu Yuanjia]
i keep these photographs in my phone to look at every once in a while. 
briefly, the story around them, goes as so: the photographer heard someone yelling and then people gathering around an elderly man sitting on a bench in a train station. he had apparently fallen asleep and then passed away. out of the crowd, a Buddhist monk walked over and began chants and prayers over the deceased man, holding his hand. after completing the ritual, the monk bowed to the deceased man and then disappeared into the crowd.
i find this story and these images so moving. there’s so much beauty in seeing such empathy and compassion in action. the monk, treating the deceased man with an incredible depth of dignity and compassion.
keep images and stories like this close to your hearts during this time, friends. where we don’t see it, we can be it.
we are currently seeing a grave lacking of empathy, of treating others with dignity, of compassion from the highest offices. it is worrisome. however, these values, these ways of being still exist, and where they exist there is hope.
~j

always…

 

our path is to contribute to the work of love, in smalls ways and large, planting seeds for the long arc.  we can take heart in our work, knowing that even as we face what seems an overwhelming darkness at times, even the tiniest of light brings hope.  after winter there is spring, after night there is the dawn.

~j
05.21.17