The NRA and Guns and Schools: A Balancing Act Not Completely Thought Through
By Liesl Garner on December 21, 2012
On Monday morning of this week, after the horrific shooting in Connecticut, I woke up wanting the NRA to pay for armed security in our schools. And now, it seems, that is exactly what they are proposing to do amid a frenzied national outrage. I feel like a heel. In the moment, it seemed like a great idea.
One of the most pointed responses was a post on Twitter by Chris Murphy, the Democratic senator-elect from Connecticut: "Walking out of another funeral and was handed the NRA transcript. The most revolting, tone deaf statement I've ever seen."
- from an article by By Matea Gold and Melanie Mason, Washington Bureau, on Friday, December 22, 2012in the Los Angeles Times
After reading through the article, I am surprised at how closely my idea mirrors the NRA's plan. I am a little disgusted at myself. Clearly, I didn't think this through all the way. I knew deep down that if the NRA were paying for it, there would be plenty of people against it. But I am a grieving mom. I am borrowing hurt from a community on the other coast that lost 26 of their own in the last week. I do not want to put myself in their shoes, and I find it impossible not to put myself in their shoes.
I am buoyed by the hope of the 26 Acts of Kindness movement and all the people reaching into their hurting hearts and finding ways to help others as a way to heal themselves. The outpouring of good deeds in response to the tragedy is truly heart-warming.
We are looking for ways to help, to heal, to challenge the status quo that somehow made it possible for this to happen. We want to find things to stand up for and possibly speak out against. I am not one for violently opposing anyone. I understand that mental illness played a part in this tragedy, and that is something that we are not dealing well with in our country. I see so many sad parts of this story. At the same time, I see so many helpers and healers and givers.
I want to believe that Ordinary Americans can turn the tide of violence and disengagement that is keeping us isolated from one another, little islands of sadness and doom. Sadly, there are many Ordinary Americans living under such enormous piles of sadness that they are ready to break, and bolt, or fall to pieces, in public places, with violence. Tragedy lurks in the sidelines.
I want to believe that all this joy in giving will help. I want to believe. I see too much evidence to the contrary - that we are increasingly an immature society that cannot have civil conversations of varying views. We break out into name calling, and pulling hair and throwing sand. We are ridiculous. We are an embarrassment. We are grownups with good educations and a wealth of words at our disposals. We have vocabulary, for Pete's Sake, and we know how to use it. I just wish we had decorum to boot.
My idea of Monday now falls in with a raucous crowd, and I am somehow one of the bad guys. That was not my intention at all. My intention was to not be afraid to send my children to school. I wonder if that is a hope that is not available in America anymore. We refuse to be ruled by fear. We just have it sitting on our shoulders throughout the day. This is the new normal?
Oh - help us all. Perhaps the Mayans were right. Today was supposed to be the End of the World As We Know It, or as we are now beginning to see it, the beginning of a whole new world. If that means learning from our losses and growing in our humanity, I am all for it. Perhaps we are at the end. Perhaps we are at the Beginning of Something Better. Maybe we will be forced to get some balance and stop fighting one another. Maybe we will stand together and protect our most fragile. Perhaps we will do nothing, and continue on as we are doing. That seems the loneliest of all possible options. Perhaps we will grow. I am usually so much more upbeat.
What are you thinking about School Security? Are you wanting to stop the world and jump off, or are you wanting to find some solutions we can all live with? What are your thoughts? I would love a discussion. Not a fight. I don't have any fight in me.
photo from here