October 2, 2015

The mass shooting of yesterday continues to weigh on me. Life feels heavy today. I’ve never been in a boxing ring, but I imagine one feels slammed, battered and worn down the next day. That’s how it feels today.

And this from someone far away with no direct connection to Umpqua Community College! But I am a citizen of a gun happy country, the day after the latest in an unending stream of murderous gun violence.  And a very dispirited one at that. Just feeling depressed about the reality of life in the US–the powerlessness of knowing this is insanity and watching as our politicians lack the balls to stand up and do the right thing. About living in a country of people with whom I so profoundly disagree and for whom I have so little respect.

The state of our political system. Good lord. The hypocrisy and ugliness that is nationalism.  Just a big fat ugh.

I expected to be a bit knocked upside the head when reading Mark Morford’s day-after column in the Chronicle, and was. Here’s the last half of it… he pulls no punches:

“….religious and spiritual traditions the world over agree: Guns are for cowards. They provide only the thinnest illusion of authority, the ugliest veneer of control, the most artificial aspect of authentic manhood.

Proof? Simple: Just remove any gun fetishist’s (or terrorist’s, or mass shooter’s) stockpile of weapons, and watch what happens. They are instantly deflated, lost, rendered vulgar and human. All illusions of power and machismo vaporize, leaving only the base energies of hate and fear they often don’t understand, much less know how to transmute into something like kindness and love.

Do you wish to pretend otherwise? To claim that guns are effective for safety, or self defense, or a warped sense of patriotism? This is not merely laughable, it’s the opposite of the truth, of established fact.

Put it this way: If guns really conferred stability and protection, we’d be the safest, most peaceful nation on Earth. We are, instead, the most violent and deadly. We are viewed the world over as the most dazzling of bullies, and of hypocrites: We pretend to promote the values of democracy, peace and freedom the world over, and yet we kill one another – and anyone who disagrees with us – more horrifically, and more consistently, than any terrorist cult could ever imagine.

The bottom line is simple enough: America is, by every metric you can name, a far worse place for all our guns. They bring nothing of positive, uplifting value: no kindness, no strength, no peace, no divinity, no sense of community or human connection. Quite the opposite. Guns are the antithesis of love and compassion; they advance the human experiment not at all, and in fact, shatter and humiliate it with every pull of the trigger.”

It is so.

Well… the day was okay otherwise, due largely to a wonderful morning spent talking to David regarding the editing of his next book. It was certainly a welcome antidote, if momentary. We talked a lot about what he wants a reader to be left with after reading the book, what I, as a reader, would want to experience and know… things like that. I actually think, as the book documents a year on the road talking with people all over the country about compassion, that it could be quite an instructive and even hopeful book, especially as he spent time in some of the most conservative regions of the US, and spoke, generally, to people of all stripes. The binder, which he is giving to me this weekend to look through, contains the deepest thoughts and feelings of people from Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma on the subject of compassion. Not that I think for a second people from these areas are without compassion! I don’t at all. But I think it will make for a healing process to realize there are common threads that run between us, even as we hold our guns, money and bibles close. (Well, they.)

Between an acupuncture appointment and a massage (it’s hard work healing an inflamed arthritic hip), I took myself to lunch at Symposium.


Retsina and spanakopita on the patio. Warm breeze blowing.

2 Responses to “Bruised”

  1. Elliot Margolies Says:

    I heard on NPR that there are 250 million guns owned by our fellow Americans. What is that about? Geeez. But hey, that’s a very scrumptious spanokopita you shared. xo

    • Kari Says:

      A person in my facebook sphere posted a graphic that I swear (I SWEAR) I thought was an Onion post. It wasn’t. Its solution to the ever-present danger in our society from guns is…. (of course, you know this is coming): more guns. I can’t reproduce it in these comments (nor do I really want to), but it suggests that we already protect the things we value with guns (important people, jewelry stores, office buildings, sports venues, factories), so why not our kids in schools? The graphic suggests schools would be safer if not gun-free zones…. that if we armed teachers, (ministers, citizens, too) we’d be safer. That is one bullshit idea. And they’re dead serious.

      I really just had to laugh. THAT right there is a case of severe lack of education and good sense. There is no arguing with that level of ignorance.

      And… the spanakopita was great. The world looked very soft after that retsina, too.

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