When will the violence stop?

It’s another sad day in America.  Why?  Why do these mass shootings  keep happening?  I sure don’t have any answers.  I have opinions, but I don’t know how to fix it.  I do know that what we’ve been doing isn’t working.  We’ve been fighting each other with hate and anger and it isn’t working.  But it’s so easy to jump there because we all feel like we’re right and everybody else is wrong.  I mean really, if people just thought the same way that we did, the world would sure be a better place.  Right?

I just fell into this same trap yesterday.  I read a story about a top legal executive at CBS getting fired.  She was talking about the horrific shootings and she said “I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters.”  I jumped right to anger at that statement.  Am I justified in my anger?  I think so.  Am I at peace when I’m angry?  No.  Am I helping myself or the country by being angry?  No.  So what do I do?  Am I supposed to just sit back and let people say awful, mean, prejudice things?  No.  So again, what do I do?  Well, I have no idea if this is right, wrong, or indifferent, but this is what I do:

  1. I say to myself “I’m really mad at her cruel way of thinking and that’s ok, but I’m going to work to bring peace to my life because I don’t want to be full of anger”
  2. I don’t know what she was thinking when she said that or what is going on in her life. I don’t know if she meant to be so hurtful and cruel.  I can’t know what has happened to her that has made her so thoughtless and prejudice.
  3. I’m going to say “I’m so grateful that I live in a country where we have the right to say what we feel (although as she found out, there are consequences). I’m so grateful that I live in a country where I have the right to be different.  I’m so grateful that there are people in my life who love me and support me, even if I don’t do and say what they want me to.”
  4. I want peace in this world, so I’m going to be a peaceful person. I don’t wish her any ill-will.  I’m not going to act with anger or self-righteousness.  I’m not going to allow anger at the idea that others could agree with her to take hold of my life.
  5. I’m going to visualize myself surrounded by people who don’t agree with me and who think guns are evil and who are angry with me for owning them. I’m going to visualize myself wishing them much peace and happiness.  I’m going to visualize myself sending them thoughts of love.  I’m going to visualize myself having inner peace, even when they are full of hate.

That’s it. If I do this enough, my anger will break up and be replaced with peace.  So, you might be saying “Do you just let people do and say whatever they want?  Do you just let people walk all over you and be mean to you?  How are we supposed to make things better if we don’t fight back?”

My answer to that is education and love.  We have to educate people and we have to do it with love, not anger.  So for the woman who thinks “gun-toting Republicans” deserve to die a violent death I say….

“I am a person who votes for whoever I think is the best person for the job.  I’m not a Republican, I’m not a Democrat.  I’m actually somewhere in the middle.  But on primary day, when you have to declare one or the other, I’m a Republican.  I’m also a kind and loving person.  I’m not a closed-minded, prejudiced person.  I care for all people, not just the ones who look like me and think like me.  I’m not a rare Republican.  There are many, many, many Republicans who are loving, kind, open-minded, non-racist, non-prejudice people.  Oh yeah, I like country music.  But guess what?  I know lots of Democrats who like country music too.  Wait for it…… there are even Independents who like country music.  Crazy.  Again, I haven’t counted everyone up, but I’m guessing that the vast majority of country music fans are kind, loving people who care about all people – not just the ones who look like them and think like them.  I would never judge someone by the music they listen to.  I would never judge a person by the ballot they cast.  We are all entitled to our opinion, even if it’s different from other people’s.

I grew up with guns in my house.  I enjoy target shooting.  My family and I are responsible, safety conscious people.  I would love to educate people about what the gun owners that I know are like.  We don’t kill people.  We don’t condone killing people.  We aren’t crazed lunatics running around shooting things.   We value human life.  ALL human life and we are “gun toting” Americans.

I understand that people want this violence stopped.  I want this violence stopped.  But, consider this before discussing gun control.  Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the nation, and they have the highest rates of gun violence in the nation.  Why?  It’s against the law to buy a gun or ammunition without a FOID card in Illinois – criminals buy them anyway.  It’s against the law to have a modified, automatic weapon – the killer in Las Vegas had one anyway.  It’s against the law to kill people – murderers do it anyway.  Laws don’t stop the violence.  Laws just let us put them in prison if they get caught.

What do I think will save lives?  That’s a broad question.  Speeding is against the law.  I speed.  I knowingly break that law.  Why?  Because I don’t think it’s a big deal.  I don’t go more than 5 or 10 miles an hour over the limit and that is ok with me.  Maybe violent people and murderers break the law because they don’t think it’s a big deal (I know there’s a big difference between speeding and murder, but the principle is the same – just on a bigger scale).  How do we make it a big deal.  How do we make people value human life?  I would say we need to drastically improve the care we give to our mentally ill.  In this country, the mentally ill are vastly underserved.  They are often times ignored until they reach dangerous levels.  We need to find a way to strengthen our families.  We need to stop the drug problem.  We need to start loving each other and not saying we don’t care if someone is killed because they’re a gun totin’ country music fan.  We need to find peace in our lives and extend that to others.  How do we do all that?  I have no idea.  Other than loving each other and bringing peace to our lives.  That’s my opinion for what it’s worth.

If you disagree with me, I respect and value your opinion.  I’m not saying that you’re wrong.  I’m not saying that I’m right.  We aren’t supposed to all agree.  But, we need to respect each other.  Just my opinion.

Ok.  I’m done.  If I’ve offended you, I’m truly sorry.  I sure don’t mean to.  I would love to hear what you think!  What are your thoughts?  Any questions?

I wish you all the peace and love in the world,