Gun Control is an Act of Love.

Via on Dec 15, 2012

Remorse. Sadness. Grief. Disbelief.

And anger. I can’t forget about the anger regardless of how much I want to.

Those are just some of the very human emotions that overwhelmed me as listened to the news about the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. Just some of them; to list them all would create something unreadable.

As I sat on the I-95 near Philadelphia heading home from a long day at the office, I wept openly.

Visions of my own children danced in my head. Visions of children everywhere flooded my mind.

Those smiling faces, those wondering minds, those innocent souls. I could hear the banter flowing through those classrooms on what should have been just another Friday as children transformed into students eagerly anticipating a holiday season.

I could imagine parents not unlike myself rushing around that morning, trying to get their children ready for a school day, while trying to get themselves ready for a busy day at work.

I could imagine parents who, had they known this would be the last time they would see their babies, may have forsaken all worldly endeavors for those final few moments of complete presence in lives they had a large part in creating.

Yes, our worldly endeavors seem a bit silly in those moments when we are faced with the loss of innocence and the finality of death.

The Eagles losing yet another game is forgotten. The need to make end-of-year sales numbers seems meaningless when the idea of a tiny casket flashes across your mind. The arguments between lovers becomes very unimportant when the knowledge that one day you will not be with her and that one day physical and intellectual separation will be permanent.

In truth, very little seems important when faced with mortality, particularly when it is the mortality of our children, our innocence and our posterity.

We fear permanence even more than we fear impermanence. The only thing that is permanent in our human experience is death, and we seem to fear that more than we fear anything else. It rattles us, not only because we don’t know what is coming afterward, but because it is so final.

We not only fear our own deaths, we fear the death of our loved ones.

Yet, it wasn’t death that found me weeping on a busy highway during rush hour; it was the death of innocence and of promise. It was knowing that each and every one of those children, senselessly killed, likely had no idea of what death was.

It was knowing that each and every one of those sweet angels was left relatively unprotected, despite deserving our fiercest shelter. It was knowing the fear they must have felt and it was in feeling the ultimate betrayal as the shooter did the Devil’s work.

How utterly devoid of compassion he must have been; how much hatred he must have held on to. It is quite unimaginable to, fortunately, the vast majority of us.

Now, I’d rather not focus on the man who destroyed so much in such a small period of time. Instead, I want to focus on the reaction many of us had to his horrifying actions.

Many of us found love overflowing from our eyes; we found compassion pouring out of us.

We found empathy, sympathy and new-found purpose in each tiny droplet of salty water that made its way into air. We found that piece of ourselves that sometimes gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the illusion in which we “live.” We discovered a piece of truth in the lie and will hold on to that truth, at least for a little while.

We will hug our lovers tighter tonight. We will be more present with our children. We will be more present with ourselves.

So, when I am asked “Why?” I know what to say. I have no idea why a 20-year old man would lose his grip on his own humanity and divinity. Yet, those children did not die in vain if we, even for one second, pause to be more present in our lives and in our loves.

Those children did not die in vain if the final words I say to my own loves is “I love you.” This understanding gives the very thing I can’t understand some understanding. It gives the senseless some meaning. It gives those of us who are doubting some sense of hope.

That’s “why,” my friends.

So, get to it and don’t let those beautiful souls leave our consciousness while we have a chance to make good on the very thing that makes us who we are.

Make love like you have never made love before. Embrace each other like it is the last time you will feel those arms around you. Absorb the “Daddy” and “Mommy” moments fully, as if they will be the last. Don’t live in fear of the end, embrace it and make it meaningful in your daily experience. Don’t go to bed angry with those you love. Don’t do anything that will sour your epithet. Don’t hug anger, hug love and don’t let go.

Fight for it. Feel it. And cherish every moment you get to share it.

Love, laugh and live fully. Help others love, laugh and live fully. Let’s get rid of the need for instruments of death in our lives. Let’s cherish life and the living more than we cherish material things. Start saying “no” to your boss and “yes” to your family. Get high if you want. Whatever. Just start fucking living.

This is not an admonition to you. This is an admonition to me that I simply want to share with you—you are free to do as you please.

Me, I want to have no regrets at the end of the last day I share with someone; I want to know I lived it all fully, even the bitter moments and that in the end I loved more fully than I feared.

I am sure that soon enough we will see the smiling faces of those beautiful babies flashing across our televisions and computer screens. We will hear wonderful stories of victims, their families, and their own unique promise; we will cry again at the sight of young, smiling faces and we will make resolutions to end lunacy and seek love as our shelter.

We will live, even for an instant, in the warm and loving embrace of knowing ourselves as more than money, more than ideology and more than nationality.

We will find our own promise and potential before settling back into our very human roles of forgetful man as the memory of those smiling faces fades.

I will also remember that the killer himself was once one of those smiling faces and I will wonder what drove him to such darkness. I will wonder, because I don’t want any other child to lose that part of himself that makes him both human and loving divinity.

We all deserve our own sense of innocence and it is time we start treating our children like they remind us of our own innocence and freedom.

Children are not afterthoughts, they are not nuisances that keep us from work or our favorite reality shows. They are not weapons and they are not punching bags. They are wonderful creations that we had some part in and as such deserve not just the best of who we are as individuals, but also the best of who we are as a society.

We owe it to them to pass laws that ensure that it is far less likely that they will be staring down the barrel of a firearm as they cry for a mommy and daddy who aren’t there to protect them.

Yes, I am done being on the fence about gun control; I’m done seeing the “right to bear arms” as equally important to the right of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Those children lost their rights to life. They lost their rights to liberty. They lost their rights to happiness as a madman pulled the trigger over and over again of a weapon he had the right to own.

Gun control is not about the erosion of American rights, it is about the guarantee of them. So, fuck you, fuck your need to own a semi-automatic rifle and multiple handguns. You only have two hands and I doubt Nancy Lanza could have shot both handguns while handling a semi-automatic rifle in the process.

Face it, 27 people, including 20 innocent school children, could have been alive today if our government and We the People had the balls to get rid of guns as a “right” and, instead, made it impossible to get them.

End the War on Drugs, that failed social experiment that only ensures more of us spend time in jail than ever before and begin the War on Guns. Empty our prisons of drug users and fill them with gun owners who fail to see that they have absolutely no reason to own firearms if no one else does.

See, Nancy Lanza was not going to go hunting—she obviously did not find protection in the guns she owned as her son gunned her down.

In fact, the guns she owned ended up killing her, so I’m sure if given a Mulligan she’d probably take them back even without a refund. I’m sure she loved the children in her class, so I doubt she felt the Second Amendment worth the lives of 20 of them as well as six of her colleagues.

I doubt as she faced her end she thought of Charlton Heston and his famous “out of my cold, dead fingers” pronouncement.

I will not use the term “rest in peace” for those children and brave adults who died on December 14th in Connecticut; that’s offensive to the very nature of the crime committed against them.

Rather, we should have been blessing them with a “live in peace” on December 13th. We should have ensured their safety then, not given it lip service now. Prayers and love and compassion are meaningless to them now but how much could it have meant to them Thursday?

Yeah, that’s what I mean. Tomorrow is too late. Now is what matters.

And for Pete’s sake, let’s stop being married to an ideal written 250 years ago in a document that was meant to be changed when necessary. It is necessary now, more than ever, to rid ourselves of the scourge of firearms in this nation. Our children deserve it, and we, as loving, caring and intelligent adults need to ensure we protect them within a society that demands change.

Yes, our society is demanding change—that is evident in the gun violence that is destroying us from within.

It is so evident that all we need to is review the gun violence over the last 10 years and ask, “How is that Second Amendment working out for you?” I’d say not at all.

It’s time to move beyond the ideas that violence is the answer (that isn’t really working out for us either) and toward something a little harder to do but much more rewarding (as Gandhi and the independent India he helped give birth to without firing one single shot proved).  I love Gandhi and his example because he was a tiny, diminutive man who successfully rebelled against a world superpower without ever owning a gun.

It’s time we follow that example and bury Charlton Heston’s somewhere far away where we never need look at it again.

For now, I will follow other people who are crying, praying and empathizing with those victims of gun violence who decided to follow the pursuit of happiness rather than the right to bear arms and were shot in the process.

Yet, I will not let this fire within me be buried with those victims. Instead, I will use it to work toward ensuring that we create no other victims for the stupidity of a few who love the power of shooting something so dearly.

It’s time to end the lunacy and never forget those who died for nothing more than an ideal.

*This piece was adapted from my blog

~

Ed: Bryonie Wise

Like elephant enlightened society on Facebook.

About Tom Grasso

Tom Grasso is a seeker, pathological meditator, a veteran firefighter and rescue tech, a poet, a blogger (new site), and aspiring writer. More importantly, he is a father of three (meaning he is also a lecturer, teacher, chef, order taker, taxi driver, coach, mentor and aspirin addict) and has found great joy in sharing his life experience to the benefit of others. A disciple of Ruiz' "The Four Agreements", Tom works diligently to prosper through guidelines that have transformed his life even before he knew they existed outside of his own experience. You can follow Tom on Twitter and on Facebook. Don't forget to like his "blog page" at Tom Grasso, Writer on Facebook.

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17 Responses to “Gun Control is an Act of Love.”

  1. Irene says:

    I couldn't agree more Tom. Thank you for writing this.

  2. Mr.Science says:

    So… one doesn’t need to own guns if it is impossible for others to get them?

    Pretty naive. Go to Mexico, strict guns laws, lot’s of gun deaths.

    You will never keep weapons out of the hands of criminals.

    Just like the drug war has not kept drugs out of the hands of users.

    Yes, it is tragic when these things happen, but guns do not cause the violence. Never have.

    Look at Switzerland, all adults are required to maintain a weapon, very low violence.

    We need to solve the actual problems.

    I have generally liked your posts, but I can follow you on this one. Such a predictable response, as though someone had planned it.

    While these are tragic incidents, they are relatively isolated. Violent crime has been steadily dropping since the seventies, but reporting keeps going up.

    How about a few school staff with concealed weapons? would have stopped things better than calling the cops. Or the county in Georgia that requires all homeowners to own a fire arm, burglaries and violent crimes dropped through the floor.

    You can’t wish guns away. . . it is a fantasy.

    You just put the weapons in the hands of the cops and the criminals, too groups we should find equally suspicious.

    Obama cries on TV, after having been a party to shipping weapons to the cartels in Mexico.

    And now we demand that the government take responsibility for protecting us? No thanks. Not having it.

    How many prohibitions do you we have to try before we see that it doesn’t work?

    You really have to ask why the people with the biggest weapons want to ban them for everyone but themselves.

    I do appreciate your sincerity, but taking weapons out of the hands of responsible decent people will not prevent things like this. It is a matter of historic record.

    • Sam says:

      You say Tom’s argument is predictable but yours is 1000 times more predictable and typical of people who dont want to compromise.

      Seems like you have a lot to say about Mexico but I bet you’ve never been there. Coincidentally those who kill hundreds of people a year are those who have access to weapons , namely , the cartels and those who work for them . Gun laws are pretty strict and massacres like this one are pretty uncommon.

      • Mr. Science says:

        Sam, I live in Mexico.
        The whole point is that even though guns are not available, the criminals still have them.
        As far as compromising, no, I won’t compromise with someone who wants to ensure that only criminals have guns. Some regulation, sure, but this article implied an all out ban.
        Won’t compromise with that.

        • Sam says:

          Well, I live in Mexico too.

          Criminals will always have guns , but in the case of cartels they usually use them to kill other criminals , people related to criminals and yes ocassionally people who dont have anything to do with crime ( colateral damage) but the difference here is the motive .

          The good news is that you dont have to compromise because guns are banned for civilians anyway . In fact if you get caught with a firearm or even a knife you can go to jail pal.

          On a different note, Tom congratulations for changing your mind , From one of your posts after the Aurora shooting I remember you were a fierce defender of gun ownership , so good for you .

          Btw beautiful story man.

          • Mr. Science says:

            Sam, I know the laws here, I am talking about the laws in the US, pal. I am still a US citizen, so it does matter to me.
            There is a fair bit of your collateral damage, again caused by the policies of the fake crying politicians who want to take guns from lawful citizens.
            “The criminals will always have guns”
            So take them away from lawful people. Good solution.
            Why were there not more deaths in Oregon? Because the shooter was confronted by a regular guy with a concealed carry permit.
            But you don’t know that because it wasn’t reported.
            http://www.examiner.com/article/media-blackout-oregon-mall-shooter-was-stopped-by-an-armed-citizen
            Please, if you are going to argue with me, use facts. If you can find any to support you point, okay pal?

          • Sam says:

            Well, Lanzas mother was a lawful person , before this Adam was too. Lawful people can also lose their minds.

            The examiner isn't a very reliable source you know.

    • tomgrasso says:

      Why do "responsible people" feel it necessary to own weapons given the horrible tragedies those weapons have created?

      I've shared your position, and I've used your rhetoric. I understand your position. However, as I gave this matter the most serious attention and contemplation, I've come to the conclusion that you can't end violence in a society by engaging in it, and you can't change the world if you aren't willing to change yourself. In fact, the one great example you overlooked was Gandhi.

      I am not demanding the government take responsibility for protecting us, I demanding that it do what it is supposed to do and end the idiotic notion that somehow if we own guns we have taken personal responsibility for our own protection and that somehow the world has become a safer place for it. The right to bear arms has been granted by our government (not by any God I've ever heard of) and it should be revoked as a mechanism of protecting those of us who find no security in firearm ownership and who see no need to kill or be killed.

      Decent people should understand that when legally obtained firearms are used to murder 20 children something has to change. They should be willing to see that change enacted and they should be willing to do what is necessary to ensure that guns are NOT the mechanism by which we find security, safety or shelter. That's my opinion, anyway.

  3. Mr.Science says:

    ‘Why do “responsible people” feel it necessary to own weapons given the horrible tragedies those weapons have created?’

    Because of the tragedies those weapons have created.

    When seconds count, the cops are minutes away.

    It has been shown again and again that people on scene have the best chance of stopping a violent attack. If you read the article I linked, the one that Sam tried to dismiss with the ‘appeal to authority’ logical fallacy, and read the links at the bottom of the article you will see several examples.

    I do believe we need to ask why these things are happening. I just don’t believe that is is because weapons exist.

    Let’s look at some similarities between the movie theater and the school:

    1) Media reports change drastically from initial reporting to the official story.

    2)in both cases eyewitnesses identified multiple shooters(in Conn there is even a police scanner recording of the local cops which confirms this)

    3)both shooters on heavy meds.

    4)The fathers of both shooters were scheduled to testify in the LIBOR scandal. (an incredible coincidence.

    Firearms are used to prevent violent crimes at a rate of 80-1 over harming people in the U.S.

    When the public is disarmed, what is to stop gangs of teens beating the shit out of people on the street, like was all the rage in Halifax two years ago. (They called it swarming)

    Within the larger context, we do need a cultural change, but outlawing weapons won’t do it. As Sam said, you will never keep weapons away from criminals.

    You say you aren’t asking the Government to do it, but who enforces this weapon ban? The same people who ship weapons to the cartels. (or the contras, etc.) Why don’t mass shootings happen elsewhere(they do, just very rarely)

    I think we need to take a closer look at the CIA.

    Anyway, you are a stand up guy Tom, I appreciate that.

    • Mr.Science says:

      Let’s talk Ghandi, a few quotes:

      “I do believe that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence I would advise violence,” Gandhi wrote in his famous work, Doctrine of the Sword.

      “When my eldest son asked me what he should have done, had he been present when I was almost fatally assaulted in 1908, whether he should have run away and seen me killed or whether he should have used his physical force which he could and wanted to use, and defended me, I told him that it was his duty to defend me even by using violence.”

      “…Hence also do I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor.” – M.K. Gandhi, The Doctrine of the Sword.

      …He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by non-violently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden. He has no business to be the head of a family. He must either hide himself, or must rest content to live for ever in helplessness and be prepared to crawl like a worm at the bidding of a bully …

      …A man who, when faced by danger, behaves like a mouse, is rightly called a coward.

      So, No, I haven’t forgotten about Ghandi either.

    • Sam says:

      Well, like it or not citing unreliable sources weakens your argument.

  4. [...] will be the toughest gun control package in the nation….all in all, it is a comprehensive, balanced approach that will save [...]

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