It’s hard not to feel as though the world is caving in, that the sky is falling. After eighteen children lost their lives to an 18-year-old gunman in Texas this week, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham responded by saying,
“Let’s arm and train the teachers.”
Yes, indeed, you f*$@!wit a*#@hats. Let’s turn our schools, a place for formative young minds learning about life and the world around them, into prisons in which they learn to fear for their young and burgeoning lives. Let’s teach them that the world is filled with greed and special interests as the NRA, and that on any given Tuesday afternoon, they’ll be running for shelter or closets in terror and trauma, for the occasion of another aggrieved and come-unhinged-in-life young man, armed with an automatic weapon, who showed up to express his displeasure with life, and take away an opportunity for them to pursue theirs.
A society is only as moral as the members within. A collective is only as compassionate as its most troubled person. As we lie in witness to depraved acts of gun deaths taking away people’s right to live, their actions are being actively supported by the very ones stealing away a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body.
If Republican extremists are so concerned with preserving life, what of others’ right to life? What of others’ right to live without fear it will be violently, suddenly, taken away on any given Tuesday?
The late Thich Nhat Hanh believed in engaged Buddhism. Let’s bring our practice out into the world, and push back against human-made policies allowing more guns in American culture than there are people to carry them. Let’s get rid of Republican extremist ideology that believes in arming a society at the peril of others, and vote in the midterms, to change these death-oriented policies that take away the right of others to live peacefully and well.
If mindful, compassionate, morally conscious citizens stand by in silence and do nothing, we will lose our quality of life to which we are all entitled, armed or no. If we fail to speak up when given the chance and turn our attention elsewhere, we give our tacit approval, that this is the way we want our country to be.
Let us not fall silent in the face of gun violence. Just say no, today and this November, to a country in which there are more guns than citizens.