No Place Is Exempt

Gripped once again with grief for the violence in Charleston, South Carolina, we as a country have lots to grief.  As I sit looking at my Facebook feed and listen to news updates on my computer, I realized we have lost something we may not even realize is gone.

Yes, there has always been violence since the beginning of time (read the story of Cain and Abel).  Not an excuse just reality.  Hatred continues to be taught to future generations and it seems to happen with more speed and effectiveness than ever before.  Access to weapons is easier than voting (at least in my state) where to show your citizenship is required to vote while anyone can purchase a gun or weapon of mass destruction (such as a AKA 47) as long as they have the money.

What has crossed my mind alongside the prayers I have offered for the city and victims is the realization that we no longer have places we can go where violence doesn’t come crashing in.  Schools, temples, churches, movie theaters, airports, daycares….and what really tears at your gut is that our children are no longer safe.  As adults, we don’t expect violence to enter into our personal reality but as parents we desperately seek places of safety for our children.  Places of worship and elementary schools were some of these safe places.  No place is exempt.

Lots of people are asking “why” and that is what we do when something this tragic grips us once again.  It is beyond our comprehension to understand and for me, it is hard to believe this will be the last time we are faced with a tragedy of this kind.  So where do we go from here:

Spread love.  I know it sounds simple but obviously given the current affairs of life in the United States it is much more difficult that we would like to admit.  I have believed and will continue to believe love is stronger than hate.  People are not born to hate, it is taught.  Love and empathy are taught…take the time to show and teach love to the young people in your midst, to those on the fringes because it has the power to change a person’s path.

Advocate for gun control.  I realize that this one will cause many to respond that I am tramping on your constitutional rights, but the reality is if it is easier to purchase something that has as its intended purpose to kill (whether an animal or people) and if you can give me another purpose they serve (protection doesn’t count because someone else will eventually get hurt), than we are in one screwed-up society.  Somehow we have veered way off course.  If we need a license for everything else in this country, why not guns?  I am not saying people shouldn’t own guns.  Everyone has a right to own a gun if they choose.  HOWEVER,  I am saying if we need Identification to vote, fly on airplanes, when getting a driver’s license (because we don’t just want anyone behind the wheel of a car that would be deadly—yes that is sarcasm), seeing certain movies, getting a job….well hopefully you get the point, than guns shouldn’t be off the list (at the very minimum showing legal age and just like we would never dream of letting persons getting a driver’s license without training and a permit, we should have the same requirements for owning a gun).

So tonight as I grief once again the unnecessary loss of life, I also grief the loss of safety.  Sanctuaries are no longer exempt and as when Sandy Hook occurred, our elementary schools aren’t either.  The question is:  Is there such a place in America today that is exempt? I am not sure there is a place.  Please correct me if I am wrong….it is one time I will welcome such a correction.

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