Every day worlds end, violently and peacefully. One week ago, 26 worlds ended in Newtown. Today, the news nods to the week-old tragedy, and moves on to all the people waiting for the Mayan apocalypse to happen. Seriously?
Part of me can’t believe that people actually think some dramatic End of Time might happen, pre-scheduled for centuries. But perhaps that’s because I’m more pessimistic, and in general, I think the end of things tends to be rather slow and painful. And in general, I don’t think we get to plan. Though we do try to prepare.
This week (and hopefully the next and the next), we are preparing in a hopeful direction: to shift our nation toward a less heavily armed citizenry. The concept is so simple: do not keep doing the thing that hurts you. Guns hurt us. Let’s stop getting guns.
I understand all the arguments on both sides, really. And I think, this time, the gun advocates are just gonna have to get over it. Keep your hunting guns, have a ball. But the other stuff—let it go. (Didn’t we learn anything from the cold war? Building up a big “good guys” arsenal to protect us from the “bad guys” arsenal, really, did it get us anywhere besides deep in debt?) To my brain, it’s clear—we have to start somewhere, here, now.
Yet, the topography of my psyche is vast and varied, comprising many nations. Most of these are busy signing treaties to ban assault weapons and make guns less accessible. It’s the right thing to do, for the greater good. There are, however, a few rogue states: in truth, part of me is wondering if maybe I should run out and buy a gun or two before they become harder to get. To protect my children with, of course, should the slow-burning apocalypse decide to come along. Because there’s the greater good, and there’s my children, and although I like to talk in an “all-for-one-and-one-for-all, love>fear” mode, there’s a deep, deep fear of that particular loss in me, and I might just want to have a gun or two in the back of a closet, high up and hidden. Because what if? What if I could save them? What if?
I know I’m sounding a tiny bit like an insane, possibly evil NRA spokesman. It’s just that somewhere deep in my American brain, the misguided NRA spokesman lurks, hawking his messages of fear. Thank god for my community, and my critical thinking skills. And my ability to hope. As an act of willful hope, the United Nations of Me will maintain a weapons embargo on the rogue states: I’ll use that nervous energy to build a new garden bed instead of buying a gun.
Right after Newtown, a local (to me) mom sent out a call for a mass demonstration of mothers against guns. No-brainer, right? Except… I, a secretly gun-desiring pacifist, was the only one who responded. So instead of marching down Main Street en masse, we shared a pot of tea, and tried to figure out how two people, or one person, or 10, 20, 100 people can best leverage their energy to effect meaningful change. By the time we had finished our tea, we were no closer to any real answers. President Obama had already promised concrete proposals within a month. Petitions* had already been created, and we’d signed them. We sighed, and decided to wait and see when and where pressure will need to be applied. We’ll save our strength for when action is needed, and hold on to hope. Because without hope, the world does end, every day.
Show your hope here: