I found the following to be a very emotional read, as my wife and I also lost our first child many years ago as did this women and her husband. The heart wrenching experience is one that never fully heals. If you read through my past posts you will find I am a very strong advocate for our 2’nd Amendment and you will see some very disturbing posts concerning what humans are capable of. What she says in the following is Truth. Truth that can not be ignored and god forbid we ever forget or fail to understand.
This excerpt from the right (in the side bar) comes from a US Marine Combat veteran, and sober Alcoholic, and at one time one of my AA Sponsors. (paraphrased and modified into my own words)
It’s time we learn to understand the Beast
We’ve all faced the beasts and demons from time to time.
But the beast is not to be feared.
The beast is not as big and bad as we tend to make it out to be.
We must learn to understand it.
Make it our friend.
Down size it.
Only then can we take away it’s power over us.
A friend commented that she had cried on and off today, thinking of the babies—and yes, in our minds those lost at the Parkland School shooting all seem like our babies in need of protection and love. The incident and those that it followed leave us overwhelmed with sorrow and instinctively searching for answers.
My own thoughts and answers have varied from those I’ve read. They go back to the time when I lost my baby. The losses are hardly similar, still exactly the same. Ours was not a chaotic or terrorizing event, with guns, rushing rescues, a teenage model of hide and seek that was not a game. Ours was the slowing of a softly beeping monitor, the silencing of a respirator. No shouts or screams or sirens, just the soft flow of tears and then no camera shots or reports to the media.
It was just us.
So very different.
But, though there was no mound of flowers, no other parents to look to in shared agony, for us our loss was as real as the death of any person, child, teenager or adult, who ever lived—or died by gunfire.
And as different yet similar the events, I theorized the answers are related.
The depth of shock, grief and anguish are more the same than different. We all despair and grieve, and nearly in the same steps and patterns. Hearts broken, empty, lonely, we live numbed until we begin to feel pain then even happiness again. Oh, we will never be the same and we don’t expect to be, but we survive, nearly all of in the same ways to the same degrees.
Then why the national uproar? Why the national panic? It seems we are going through a coast to coast anxiety attack.
No one felt that for me or my baby—except me and my husband.
Suddenly the problem which is reintroduced within hours of the first acknowledgement of the shootings, is the only news worthy of notice or discussion. Inevitably, the topic turns to gun control.
Seventeen dead. Seventeen dead within five or ten or fewer minutes. Dead by gunfire.
But those seventeen dead are not the only seventeen who have died that day during those precise minutes. How long does it take for a large, inner-city hospital to lose seventeen patience? How long does it take for seventeen people to die in car accidents, from cancer? How long for seventeen people to die in war?
Ten years ago, an average of 6640 people died in the US every day. That is 11 every minute*. The 17 deaths by gun are tragic and distressing. If they were to continue as they did in that five minutes for twenty-four hours, there would be 2048 deaths during that singe day. In 2007, there were 2209 deaths due to cardiovascular disease every day. That is 92 deaths per hour, 1.5 per minute, but for every minute of that hour, day, and year, not just for one five or ten minute period.* Why are we so taken up in fighting guns, not heart disease, not cancer? Why do some fight for greater gun control while simultaneously fighting for the right to abort babies at the rate of 926,200 in 2014 in the US**?
We become unhinged when one set of seventeen, and only that particular set of seventeen, are taken from us and vow to make a change for them, but only because they were killed by guns. We plan to take away the rights given us by our Constitution to own guns for those but certainly do not acknowledge the other thousands of seventeen who also died due to other circumstances like hazing, illegal drugs, and car accidents in the same style of continuing media coverage.
You wonder how I can speak so callously having lost my only son.
DON’T I CARE?
Oh, I do care. More than a few thought I grieved beyond all acceptable limit, that I let my emotions totally overwhelm me. Yes, as cruel as I may sound, I had to pull my feeling back and consider reality and ACCEPT REALITY.
As much as I love our son, reality said my situation was not unnatural or unique. My mother’s family records show at least one death of a child in every family for five generations (279 families between 1790 and 2000). It is a modern miracle that allows the majority of American families now days to avoid that pain. But in reality such a loss to the seventeen families was not unusual. All it took was a small outbreak of influenza, Cholera, or diphtheria.
A second reality, harsh but solid, is that a hundred years from the day my son and every baby born that year was born, basically every one of them will have died. Everyone dies. These seventeen’s demise was notable not because they died, but because they died together at the hand of a killer and the media chose to memorialize them. A term which I find refers to this type of cultural manipulation aptly is, “stir them up to anger” thus causing violence.*** Did the gun make their deaths any more heartrending or terrific than those of seventeen teenagers killed in separate car accidents?
Thirdly, for those of us who believe that there is a divine being who watches over us all, was there no remedy for these deaths had divine intervention been needed? A dentist appointment, an upset stomach, a flat tire; most miracles go undetected but when there is reason they occur; had it been essential for anyone of the seventeen to remain here they would have been protected. For those who do not believe in this, please consider that we all have our rights to believe as we choose and I, personally, will not debate this issue or encourage others to debate it. Sensitive comments are fine. To me it is significant and worth consideration, but it is too emotional and sacred for a debate on this type of media where discussions often turn to angry, demeaning comments.
On the other hand, is there any reason having a gun could balance out the possibility that the weapon might be used take a life? Is there any proof that a tool that can be used to destroy life can also be used to preserve it OR anything else of such significant value? A human life generally “self-destructs” in less than a hundred years. Is there anything more valuable than that?
The Magna Carta Libertatum (Great Chart of Liberty) was signed in 1215. It signified the beginning of recorded rights given ordinary citizens by their English rulers. It took five hundred and sixty years of demands, conflicts, concealed meetings, threats, imprisonments and deaths, then wars to establish those rights for the basis of the laws of a country in 1775—OUR COUNTRY. Five hundred and sixty years in order for us to have freedom of religion, speech, and among other things, the freedom to bear arms. Those same guns were used to secure those rights by approximately nineteen generations of men—sons, fathers, grandfathers. Those generations lost not 17 or 170 or even 1700 people but many, many more to acquire those rights. Those patriots thought their rights, including gun rights, were of greater value than their possible hundred years of life.
Would I give my son’s life for a gun?
No, not for just one gun, but for the life and liberties a number of guns owned by law abiding, caring people use their guns to protect?
Thousands have depended on guns to maintain liberty; hundreds of thousands have given their son’s, father’s, husband’s lives to ensure that we retain those rights including the right to own guns with which to protect ourselves. Given the lack of restraint and the morality of our culture, one can question whether any gun regulations—particularly those formulated in ways such that they still allow for the preservation of our Constitutional rights—would be significant enough, even if enforceable, to stop the deaths we are now experiencing. Sadly, the better answer to the problem—changing our culture into one of responsibility and respect—seems improbable to many who find gun restrictions an enticing solution.
So after each horrifying mass murder we have the same discussion. Is the right to own a gun worth the deaths in which the guns are used? Sometimes in order to get through the emotional reactions of such situations rationally, we have to focus on reality. Part of this reality is that it took 560 years and many lives to form a government which ensured the rights of mankind—one of which is the right to own guns—and when one begins requiring registration and narrowing down the types of guns considered legal, one runs a strong danger of losing control of which guns are considered illegal, and eventually, the total sum of those available to common citizens. It has happened and left not 17 dead, but large groups of populations without their natural laws as in Germany, Russia, and China. The death of 17, or 27 is too many but what can we say of millions?
We can and should cry for seventeen. We CAN’T imagine the deaths of millions let alone grieve for them. BUT WE CAN REMEMBER THEM and value their contribution to our lives, the lesson they gave us through their deaths, and do this without disregarding or demeaning the loss of those seventeen or twenty-six or one or two. We need to recognize reality and disregard those who would “stir us up into anger,” encouraging us to turn to measures that can turn into dangerous paths for us and our descendants. Our government was formed using the wisdom collected in 650 years of struggle by commoners whose determination and love of freedom gave us our liberty. We need to despair the changes that have turned us into a culture where such deaths happen, but we need to recognize that the most desperately sad part of all of this is not that seventeen who would ultimately have died were killed, but that a man/boy/child grew up in a society feeling the need and desire to kill them.
That is also is very real reason to cry.
*calculated from San Jose’ University, Average Number of Daily Deaths in USA, 2001 to 2007.
** according to Abortion Incidents and Services, Guttmacher Institute, Vol.49, Issue 1, March 2017
*** The Book Of Mormon Another Witness to Jesus Christ, Deseret Book Company, 2013. There are 58 scriptures referring to this action taken to cause groups to resort to anger and violent thoughts and activities.