A Very Atypical BeingBreath Post
Very important: This is not the usual type of post I create here.
Here's why I'm sharing it here (and you'll see this repeated below):
1) It is art. It is art as I define it, "expression of experience". It is part of my experience I don't usually share, and in a format I don't normally use, but it is part of it and a form of expression nonetheless.
2) I'm sharing it here because Facebook kept reformatting the dang post. (I wanted to share it there because it is easier to have interactive conversation.) I encourage you to head to Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/LisaReneeWilson) to join in the conversation if you are interested.
Without further ado, ...
I believe there is a compassion with which anger can be expressed. Anger is an energy – as such, it can be harmful or helpful.
So, with the most compassion possible in my heart, I want to share something that I’ve been holding back from falling off of the tip of my tongue for the past several weeks (or years)….
A few important caveats:
1) This is a negative post. If you aren’t in the mood for negative, skip it.
2) This is going to piss off at least 10 (that I know of) members of my friends and family. (Oh. 2a.) I’m going to use a bit of foul language.) For those who are close enough to me, you know that I still love you, still want to set down and share a coffee or a beer with you, still deeply respect and honor you and your opinions. For those who aren’t close enough to me to know that, please feel free to unfriend me after reading.
3) Obviously, this is not one of my typical, “BeingBreath”, find-your-peace, create-art type posts. However, this is just as much a part of me as those parts. I’ve decided to share because, one, I want you to fully understand that I’m not all rainbows and love, two, I define art as, "expression of experience" and I'm feeling called to create this art, and three, I’m hoping to open a RESPECTFUL dialogue between those of you who have joined me on Facebook. (Did you read that? RESPECTFUL.)
For those that find my below expression hypocritical to the views I normally express, I refer you to this quote: “ Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.” –Walt Whitman
4) This is nothing new. You’ve heard me say this before, just not in such detail. Sorry if you were expecting a big reveal.
Why this came about:
This is not a new view. However, in light of recent local events (Indianapolis – 3 yr old killing himself, child getting shot answering the door, etc.) and redirected attention towards the anniversaries of certain events (Columbine, Sandy Hook, etc.), it is a view that has bubbled back into my conscious awareness.
I HATE GUNS.
I hate all forms of guns. In 95% of cases, I hate any use of guns. I hate guns in households, I hate guns in public places, and I hate guns with green eggs and ham.
There are a few points I wanted to address:
1) Keeping a gun for safety in the household. I’ll start with those who have children in the household. Either a gun is kept well out of reach and unloaded, or within reach and ready to use. (Well-out-of-reach and loaded I will skip over. As any parent knows around Christmas who is trying to hide gifts, there is no place that is truly out of reach for a determined child.)
A gun out of reach and unloaded does not serve the purpose of providing one with immediate safety should someone break into your house (which is, as I understand it, the purpose of keeping one in the household). The likelihood of you being able to reach that gun in time is slim. A gun kept more easily accessible and loaded? That is exactly what leads to the countless tragedies we’ve heard where kids have accessed those guns and shot themselves, a friend, or a sibling.
And I will share: It doesn’t matter how well you think you have educated your child about the safety surrounding guns. The curiosity that we try to dampen as adults rages strong in children and teenagers. They know it is dangerous to touch the stove when it is on, to climb on the bookcase, to drive 90 mph on backroads. At certain ages, they learn, one way or another, the consequences of these things. And because they know adults wouldn’t approve, they often explore these things unsupervised. Such curiosity about a gun has unthinkable consequences.
For those without children in the household? Obviously, what you do in your house is your own choice. What is sad to me is your belief that you need one and your acceptance of the consequences of using one. An unquestioned belief in the value of Your life over the value of another’s is … frightening. Non-lethal techniques are one thing: You protect your valuable life and the valuable life of the other. Having a lethal tool that lets you respond from that place of fear and to create an irreversible consequence – to take a life? Again … frightening. See more below…
2) Guns for protection. Here, a bit of my “spiritual” beliefs creep in. I believe we all are suffering and are all afraid of something. Seems universally logical, right? We want to alleviate that suffering and keep ourselves out of fear as much as possible. (I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to check for the monster under my bed every night.)
Guns have become a go-to medication for that suffering and fear. Guns give the owner a false sense of protection. A “false sense” means this: The gun might prevent another from taking your things or from acting from their own place of fear and harming you or another one around you. But the gun does not take away your suffering nor your fear. (I’d argue it actually increases your fear about the world, but I won’t digress.)
Acknowledging that it stops one act-in-progress and using that as the basis for your argument that guns are awesome is a very shallow argument. The much deeper and HARDER work of examining your own beliefs about why you need that gun, fears about losing your own life and the lives of those you love, fears about impermanence, fears about safety of that which we call, “mine”… THAT is what is going to provide true peacefulness. Because as you begin to understand that we are all in the same boat of suffering, you begin to see other as self. Every “other” as self. The deep desire to protect “self” remains, of course. But when that person comes at you with a gun of their own, protection takes on a different meaning. You want to protect not only your life, but ALL life.
I’m not suggesting giving up by any means. There are countless non-lethal ways of defense that stops the aggressive act and allows both parties more precious moments of life. The gun is a tool of protection, yes. But what is it protecting?
Please try to answer this on your own. Self-awareness is much more powerful. But in case you aren’t into that, I can hear you answering, “the gun protects me. It protects the people in my house when the bad guy breaks in. It protects those in public who would otherwise be defenseless against the asshole who DOES have a gun.” Again, I refer you back to the “me” vs. “them” views above.
I will also add that this view creates an unending cycle. If THEY have a weapon, I need to have a better weapon. Each party keeps building a better weapon. Each party keeps finding a way to strengthen their own defenses. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to see where this path leads.
3) Getting personal. I don’t settle into views lightly. (In fact, I’m usually happily dancing along the fence.)
I have thought again and again about whether I would change my views if tonight, someone snuck into our house with a gun and threatened the lives of my CHILDREN. Would I want to have a gun in my hands to ensure they don’t get hurt? I will be honest: I don’t know. As a mother, I want to say I would do everything possible to protect the lives of my children. (Never ever ever cross a mother defending her children.) (Staunch gun advocates can sit back smugly now and say, “I told you so”. Or you can not be an asshole and keep your mind open. Whatever floats your boat.) But as an aware being, I want to say I would do everything possible to protect the lives of all beings in the situation. It takes much more consideration to understand how that might happen, but then, I’ve never been one to take the easy way out.
All of this has taken me 90 minutes to write. It has been a process of self-reflection, of feeling my own fears and pain, and then of expressing it in a way that honors my own truths while (hopefully) addressing and respecting the truths of others.
I have much more to say on this topic. (I've re-read it and keep wanting to add more.) And I probably could’ve written the above in a shorter, longer, or more eloquent manner. But for now, what I feel is important is that I share what has been bubbling within me for months. That I create art (expression of experience) through my words. (The art might not be pretty, but it is what it is.)
And I invite you to share your reactions in comments on Facebook. Agree with me, disagree with me, add new thoughts to consider or debates against my own. I will remind you, RESPECTFULNESS is a requirement, not an option.
With deep reverence for all views, opinions, and truths – Namaste.
(please head over to my personal page on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/LisaReneeWilson - if you are interested in conversation surrounding this topic)