REFLECTIONS ON GUNS AND SHORE BIRDS
I have been thinking a lot about guns and more recently about all the talk about guns since a madman ripped through an elementary school just before Christmas,
For the last three mornings, the block where we live has been host to a flock of little egrets. This is a rare sight – we are a few miles inland, but something in our grass is apparently a feast to them.
and I have been thinking how very early discussions included mental health and how mental health has since been lost in the language of guns, and I have been thinking about how legislating guns doesn’t legislate the heart and what the heart really needs, but I understand that we have become the country of Now,
and I understand how a parent might want an armed guard at his child’s school and how an armed guard can make herself useful on the days when Adam Lanza fails to show up and how often that is – every day in almost every school –
and how much better it would be to staff each school with a law enforcement officer who’s had crisis intervention training and mental health training and to allow that officer to develop relationships with students and families and help identify students in crisis and how, once identified, that officer needs a program or a therapist to whom to send the student,
and how in many parts of this country there is no program or therapist or not enough programs and therapists, and that one of the problems is parent buy-in because parents are naturally afraid of their children being stigmatized,
and by parent-buy-in, I also mean all of us, all of us recognizing we must be role models, that we cannot stigmatize or bully our children, that we must show them we hold all life as precious, and we must have no tolerance for any thing other,
and how that is not about guns, that is about people, and I have been thinking that by people I mean also our government and that our President and Congressmen and women must stop bullying each other, must stop using their bully pulpits and start listening and doing the hard work we asked them to do, and how that includes no longer listening to corporate bully lobbyists, and also means that we must do what we ask of them,
This morning, two knee-busting crows from the murder of crows that runs our neighborhood came to pay the egrets a visit. First watching, then finally asserting their crow authority.
and by asking of them I also mean asking of ourselves, and listening to ourselves, and not just to ourselves but to those who are not ourselves, to each other. Here are two examples:
If you are a gun owner, have you sat down with those who are not and heard their fears?
If you are not a gun owner and you are opposed to guns, have you sat down with those who own guns and heard their fears?
I’m not talking about listening to the bullies on either side of the argument who say ridiculous things, I’m talking about your neighbor. Have you talked to your neighbor, the one who feeds your cat while you are gone, the one who brings food in times of sorrow?
I think of the mothers who lost their children in classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary. I think of abused women who, finally free from their abusers and living in relative peace behind locked doors with a legitimately owned firearm in a drawer steeled against the possibility that their abusers will find them, find their names and addresses published in a newspaper where all the world including their abusers can find them,
In one swift motion, the egrets chased the crows up to tree level, and I watched as crow after crow flew out of the trees, the flock of egrets right on their tails, and then just as suddenly the crows turned into the distance and the egrets banked and returned to the same yard, feasting quietly in the morning sun.
and I think all this is so not about guns this is about how we treat the least among us, how we treat our neighbors, how we treat ourselves.