Part I – Reflect
“Reflection” is created when a reflective surface sends back to the eyes an exact image of a reflected thing. Yet, is this meaning accurate when it comes to looking deeply into our own eyes?
As an exercise, look into a mirror. Not just a passing glance, rather, take a long look. Stare at yourself. Check out your forehead, your nose, lips, cheeks, and neck, all of your face. End up at your eyes. Lock on them. Focus, and then look deep. See the exact hue, the sparkling moistness, the thin, red, spidery veins in the white of the ball. Zero in on the iris, the dark part in the middle, peer into it. Stare hard.
Now hold that penetrating look for a moment longer than feels right. You will see something not normally seen. In fact, you will go beyond just seeing you; you will feel you. You will know the moment of crossover because you will sense a slight but visceral change, perhaps a bit unnerving, but maybe not. Stay in that moment. Stare and feel. Is what you see and feel the person you think is you?
I recommend everyone do this exercise because it will have an enlightening effect. It will tell you that there is more to you than just the surface, the shallow image we all carry of ourselves. And if you do this often enough, you will get in touch with a deeper you, a truer you, a clearer you.
Part II -Feel
“San Bernardino.” The name speaks to the most recent mass shooting in the land of the free, the home of the brave. Yes, in this America we so prize, this nation we claim is the best in the world, we have had yet another mass shooting, another fourteen families grieving their dead, another seven families wondering what the future holds for their wounded loved ones. Aside from war-torn countries, America is the singular country in the world with this gun problem – too many guns and easy access to military-grade weapons. America is morally bankrupt when it comes to guns.
We grieve again and again over senseless killings, all the while thinking, believing, hoping each time somehow, some way, we will see a future outcome different from the one we continually get – another mass shooting with more dead and wounded. So far this year, we have done this 353 times – sickening, heartbreaking, yes, any change to affect the future, no.
America loves its guns, and the Supreme Court of the United States has reinforced the right to love and possess guns of all manner, power, and capacity to kill rapidly and surely, and here in lies a big part of the American gun problem – the second amendment to the US Constitution.
America needs a current interpretation of the “Right to keep and bear arms.” Any interpretation thus far is outdated. Would anyone care for an anti-tank missile or a grenade launcher? Until we change it to reflect reality, or a majority of the nine judges interpret it rationally, than the military-grade weapons in American hands will remain in American hands, which is to say, expect more murder and mayhem.
At a minimum, though, common sense dictates that we immediately outlaw those guns with the capacity to kill rapidly – we need to outlaw assault weapons, large magazines, and every other gun not utilized for hunting, target shooting, or intimate self-defense. Once we do that, we have to implement a program that collects the offending weaponry. This is not unprecedented. Australia has done this successfully, and we have done it in some cities right here in America. And in Switzerland, a land known for seriously defending the right to gun possession, you can buy the same weapon as was used in the San Bernardino massacre, but it would have taken a series of criminal and mental health background checks over six months before you could pull the trigger. The bad people in San Bernardino more than likely would have been flagged for their fealty to the murderous thugs wreaking havoc in the war-torn countries of the Middle East.
This effort does not intend to take away gun-bearing rights for anyone. Simply, the issue is how much firepower does one need to hunt, target shoot, or self-defend? This is the question to answer, and our answer is moral, make no mistake about it. Our moral response to these gun-related horrors is where we stand now. If ever there were a time, now is our moment for true morality, a morality that represents goodness for our individual selves and our common country.
The debate is over – we have a morally unconscionable problem we need to rectify, or our religious and righteous identity as a nation is over; our lack of morality as nation will be clear.
Part III -Act
Now is your moment to stand in front of your mirror, to take that moment of silence, to look deep into your own eyes and ask a simple question – does the repeated horror perpetrated in America with military-grade weaponry morally offend me?
If your answer is “no,” then you stand among those who believe Americans have the right to keep and bear all fire-powered weapons, even military-grade weapons with the capacity to kill rapidly and surely. If this is your position after reflecting on who you are, then I challenge your morality, especially if you profess a belief in a god, if you practice a religion that firmly rests on the sanctity of life, respect for others, and a commitment to community.
If your answer is “yes,” then now is the time to defend America, to demonstrate a commitment to a moral code that holds as its center the right to life, care for families in our communities, respect for those community members, and a true commitment to a community that believes in the opening words of our Declaration of Independence, the words that are the heart of our constitution.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
How can Americans exercise their fundamental right to life when any thug, mentally-ill person, or terrorist can walk into a gun shop and buy a military-grade weapon that can kill any of us when shopping in a mall, attending any grade in school, watching a movie in a theater, or performing any other normal, everyday activity in America?
How can parents feel liberty when they are afraid to send their children to K-12 or to college? How free does a couple sitting in a restaurant feel when every person entering is suspect? How easy is it to speak firmly in public about the malignancy of guns in America?
How can anyone pursue happiness when attending a Christmas party with fellow workers is an opportunity to be murdered in less than five minutes, along with 13 other people you know well?
In any moral world, our right to life takes precedence over the right to keep and bear any and all fire-powered weapons. If you are like me, morally outraged that our politicians cannot shake off the powerful gun lobbies and pass legislation that addresses this obvious denial of our fundamental American right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then:
1) Call your elected officials at all levels and raise hell.
2) Email your elected officials at all levels and raise hell.
3) Stand up. Politely but firmly say what you feel when others suggest guns are not the problem.
4) Take action. Anything is better than the acquiescence we seem to have now.
Click on the link below to begin your expression.
Listen, observe and, learn – Attend Life