What Message Are We Receiving?
It isn’t often my son gets passionate about what is happening around him, at least not with people outside his immediate family and friends. And, to be honest, I live in my present more and more each day so that I might create my life with ease and grace as opposed to living in the past and worrying about my future. This week we both were challenged. I have refrained from comment other than to express the compassion in my heart for those who have lost much, but I feel the need to share my thoughts if only to myself and my Higher Power.
Here is some of what my son had to say:
- 420% more likely to be murdered here than in China.
- 1400% more likely to be murdered here than in Japan.
- 42000% more likely to be murdered here than in Hong Kong.
- Twice as likely to be murdered here than in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran or Israel
- Four times more likely to be murdered here than in Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Span, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
How can we sit in our recliners and point to the “terrorism” of some countries, while we continue to put guns in the hands of people who should not have them?
Using guns for hunting, and arguably for protection, makes sense for those who have those values. However, in neither case is a rapid-fire, multiple round firearm necessary. We don’t use these types of weapons to kill pheasant, deer, elk or any other animal we hunt to feed our families. And, in most cases we don’t require them for protection.
In short, there is a place for guns. But it is not in the hands of the majority of Americans. Get your head out of your a**es, America, and do something about it. Our forefathers did NOT intend for this when they wrote the constitution.
Why is criminal punishment much more severe for those being caught with drugs enough for personal use than the punishment for sexually abusing a child, manslaughter, and rape? Why are people allowed to continue driving with multiple DUIs; putting other people’s lives in danger? Why is texting while driving a misdemeanor, with police unable to stop you unless you commit another infraction warranting that you be stopped?
Many of our activities have been deemed an “inalienable right”, with strong reactions to stricter regulation as an encroachment on our civil liberties.”
Joe is a debater by nature, and gathers facts and figures around him like rolling thunder. They are astounding! His emotions are strong, and highly expressive of what he values.
Others would argue with him, stating their right to bears arms to defend themselves and to feed their families. They clamor “It is a right given to me by the laws of our land.”
Still others point at the lack of God and religion in our schools, as did Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, and GOP presidential candidate. He went on to say that “this is a heart issue – laws for stricter gun control don’t change this kind of thing. We shouldn’t be surprised that schools would become a place of carnage, because we have systematically removed God from our schools.”
Still others point at “how much we have lost our way as a nation of people; how much we value things over people spending more time working to afford the things we want than spending time with our families. We would rather put our elders in nursing homes than be bothered with taking care of them. We no longer care for those who are mentally ill, creating huge hurdles that must be leapt before health care is available. We also under value religion in this country, compared to many of the countries mentioned earlier. While we may not agree with many of the religious practices in the Muslim and Jewish worlds, it is a huge part of their daily culture, taking time every day to pray. We in the U. S. can’t be bothered with prayer, can’t have it in schools. We no longer fear being judged by God, and if you have no fear of being judged by a higher power, then you have no one to answer to for your crimes.”
In church this morning, we learned another person’s perception of what might be happening. “We are receiving messages from our Higher Power, asking for harmony, love and light. Asking us to move from a belief of sin and error, to one of life and light.”
How much of this is truth? What is truth for me, and perhaps for you? Is it rhetoric or does some of this resonate with you?
I’ve given this much thought. Parts and pieces of what people have said make sense to me, and this is what it comes down to – for me:
The many mass shootings over the last several years have been absolutely horrendous. That this was small children and teachers does not make it more or less horrendous than the shooting in the Aurora theater, Von Maur in Omaha, Columbine or at Virginia Tech. The inexplicable cruelty, anger and hate, whether because of mental illness, bullying, or otherwise squeezes our hearts and stretches our ability to understand. We are eager to externalize the pain, because it could not be because of anything we have done. And yet, we as a nation must stand in front of the mirror and acknowledge what we see.
- We have not stood up and said this type of behavior will not be tolerated. Our justice system is so warped that often there are little or no consequences for violent and often fatal behavior.
- We do not acknowledge our inability to recognize that we are not a nation of people who live the life of love as defined by all the world’s religions. Rather we insist that the Christianity that has become mainstream in the United States is what our citizens should be forced to live by. A religion that is more and more being defined by hate, bigotry, violence – and fear. When, in fact, we are a nation of many religions and our country was founded upon a desire for the right to practice the religion of our choice. The result of this is that more and more people are turning away from church and religion because they can’t reconcile their values with the values being expressed by church leaders.
- We excuse bullying (or at best ignore it) in our schools. Teachers are fearful when alone with groups of children who so easily spiral out of control, creating maelstroms of aggression and cruelty, and even carnage.
- We pass laws at our local, state, and federal levels of government to distinguish between people who are entitled to more rights and those who are forced to live with fewer or no rights, rather than guarantee that “all (wo)men are created equal”.
- We smile, and often laugh out loud, at rudeness, sarcasm, and meanness rather than teach our children to be kind, civil and respectful to everyone.
- We insist upon our civil liberties, even while we take advantage of them to such an extreme that we encroach on the civil liberties of those around us – up to and including taking lives.
No, Mike Huckabee, we don’t need prayer or religion taught in our schools, but we do need to be respectful of those who choose to say their prayers in our schools, and room should be made for that to happen. I do agree with you, in one way – it is a heart issue. And, as I understand it, God is still there – in every room of every school – and called by many different names. We just cannot force people to worship your God – but must allow them to choose to worship their own higher power or none at all, and respect their choices. Schools allow for a variety of clubs and other activities to take place – and many are extremely careful to allow for ALL, or allow for none.
Prayer and whatever religion a family chooses needs to be taught at home and in our churches. In my opinion, it would be wonderful if all religions would be taught so that everyone would understand that every religion, at it’s very core, has one principle – love. I would never want my child to be taught that they need to fear God.
We do need to teach love for others, kindness, respect, responsibility and accountability in our schools, with consequences for choices that are harmful to others. These consequences should create a learning experience that encourages our people to step away from intolerance and violence, whether verbal, emotional or physical. The same should be taught in our corporations, our non-profits, and in our government.
Guns have their place. However, no one needs multiple round, rapid fire guns for hunting or home protection, and they should not be allowed in the general public. The number of guns per household should be limited. The power of guns needs to be respected, and training needs to occur, with proof that safety measures will be taken at all times.
Our love affair with entertainment based on violence has gotten out of hand. Video games, TV, movies, music, etc. – parents, grandparents, siblings – why aren’t you monitoring what the children in your life are learning?
We have become a materialistic and selfish society, with more concern for having and doing than being. As more and more of us begin to intentionally move toward being the kind of person we are meant to be, I am convinced we will see a change begin to occur. We have reached a turning point – a fork in the road, so to speak.
You may not agree with my thoughts. I respect that. You are entitled to your beliefs, and I’m open to hearing the possibilities of a kind and generous response. In fact, if it helps me learn and grow, I look forward to it. I am enough of a pragmatist to acknowledge that I am skeptical even of my own beliefs, and my best option is to listen. And the more I listen, the more I will know Truth.
We were born to touch each other. What does your touch feel like to others? Do you reach out in anger, disdain, or resentment? Do you need to please, or need to push away? Can you do what is appropriate, act with an open heart, and trust the Universe? – Gary Zukav
We have reached a turning point – a fork in the road, so to speak.
What messages are you receiving and acknowledging?
What will be your next right step?