Listening to the discussion following the tragic event in Connecticut, I have heard intelligent discussion on gun control. By intelligent I mean realistic given the limitations of the law and the balance between state and federal governments. It was different from the reactionary cries after the other recent killing sprees. There seems to be an effort to look at things in more critically and more holistically.
For example, a lot is being said about mental illness and the consequences of cutting funding for help to those who are mentally ill. One speaker addressed the historic shift that occurred in the 60’s when slashing of government funding resulted in the closing of institutions where those who are deemed a danger to themselves and others could be cared for while keeping the populace safe. A father in Minnesota who has a mentally ill son spoke of the isolation of his family during the years its members feared for their lives and the lives of others but were unable to get help. His son is now being cared for in an institution but he admitted, “The person who harmed the children in Connecticut could have been my son.” What courage it took for him to speak out!
There is talk about creating safer schools by arming principals and teachers, providing police presence or building schools with iron doors and no windows. Some say we need more counselors and swift action when a child is deemed to be “troubled”. But these ideas were countered by the saner voices of parents and teachers who said that what they really want is a peaceful society, one in which all citizens feel safe every day as they work, go to school, shop and play.
Here is what I would suggest: let’s take our guns and melt them down to make bull dozers that can be used to build hospitals to care for the mentally ill. We could even use them to repair our coastal cities that are being devastated by storms. The guns I am talking about aren’t just those automatic rifle things. I am talking about the handguns that people have in their homes because of fear. If no one had guns, there would be no need for guns for self defense. Let the hunters keep their guns. As for those collectors who like to see the guns fill the walls in the recreation rooms, they can take some of that melted stuff and fill the barrels so they can be seen but not used.
I am a dreamer. I know that, but Isaiah was one, too. He said that when the Lord comes, “He will settle disputes among great nations. They will hammer their swords into plows and their spears into pruning knives. Nations will never again go to war, never prepare for battle.”
Peace Pilgrim was once asked what she thought about all the negative prophecies in the Bible. She answered, “We have seen enough of the fulfillment of those prophecies. It is time for the prophecies that promise peace to be fulfilled.” And Peace knew that the fulfillment of those prophecies is the work of…us.