October 06, 2017
I once shot a rifle, and I hated it.
It was on a vacation about 10 years ago, and the opportunity afforded our family to go to a shooting range. The boys were all over it. Of course they were. What young adolescent male wouldn't be?
But not me. Pointing a gun made me feel jittery, out of sorts and unnerved. I closed my eyes, took one shot and opened them to see the bullseye heart of a paper silhouette some 25 yards away splinter. I put the rifle down. It didn't feel natural to be holding something with such power to destroy. I haven't shot or held a gun since, nor do I aspire to ever again.
I was really hoping to write about apple picking this weekend, or leaf walks or pumpkin patches or any number of activities that make up the glorious month of October. But I can't because the pit in my stomach won't go away, the one that has been lodged there since Monday morning.
Las Vegas. Here we go again, another hashtag to remind us that life in this country has changed irreparably. As of this writing, 58 people died and more than 500 were injured by a gunman spraying bullets on an outdoor concert venue packed with 22,000 fans.
It's insanity. And if we let this go by as just another act of violence without effecting real change, then the insanity will never stop.
This is a weekly community newspaper, and maybe this is the last thing you want to read about in this space. But it seems to me our local community is where we should start.
Write your Congressmen and ask them to vote no on the latest legislation that will loosen firearm regulations. Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt and Rep. Ann Wagner all welcome comments from constituents on their websites. Use that platform. Then use it again and again. Or better yet, write an actual letter instead of an email. Your voice matters.
Here's something else: Maybe instead of avoiding the chaos that this world has become, we should confront it head on simply by being present to one another in everyday moments. By smiling more and arguing less. By limiting social media as a way to express ourselves. By taking care of each other in the kindest, gentlest way possible.
In 2013, Catholic theologian Ron Rolheiser wrote an essay called, "The Slow, Imperceptible March of Goodness." He has written thousands of essays – look him up while you're searching for those congressional websites.
Rolheiser tells the story of a young German woman who wrote poetry in Nazi Germany, always looking for the seed of love.
"God often bypasses the places where we're looking," Rolheiser wrote.
And so now it's time to look deeper.