Guns, Loss, and Neurons

It seems somewhat at least out of touch and maybe disrespectful to go on blogging without acknowledging the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary. But we will go on. Some of us were touched directly by this tragedy, but we all are touched by tragedy. And we go on. Hopefully, we go on having learned and resolved to make other’s burdens lighter when we can and to make the world more safe and loving when we can.

More than add anything of my own to the conversation in the aftermath, I feel compelled to highlight some wonderfully thoughtful voices.

I’ll add this preface:

There is tragedy here,  and, I think, an ounce of travesty - the debate on what is preventable and how, is already emotional, but maybe there is no travesty in the past. Travesty is preventable, and in the present we cannot prevent the past from being other than it is.Let’s look at this tragedy and our response with open minds and hearts and politics. There are wonderful examples of politicians laying down their swords already, lets forget red and blue states and just remember that we are all states that morn the violent deaths of children.

I’ll close my preface with a plea to not limit this. 

The Arts Organization is about expanding the conversation, finding solutions to problems that act on every level, scientific, emotional, religious, philosophical - every level.So lets be open to confronting the uncomfortable issues of mental health, violence in media (notably American media), and the role of guns in magnifying tragedy (one death is to many, but if we can make it harder to kill one hundred people in a movie theater lets talk about that).

The travesty now is to argue that only one of these factors matter. There is a New Testament precedent for the approach I’m advocating. When Jesus was asked which was more important, tithes to the church or alms to the poor, he recommended that we “do the one and not forget the other.” Pay the tithes and feed the poor. Here I see an opportunity to, regardless of your feelings about the Bible, confront the cultural, legal, and medical components of this epidemic of tragedy.

Now for what other people have said better than I could.

  1. You might not read the Fatcyclist’s blog unless you’re a cyclist, or into fighting cancer. Eldon, The Fatcyclist (or Fatty), lost his wife in a long painful battle with cancer. He shares some of the best insight into how to be there for people who are suffering loss in his post: “Loss”. To me, developing the empathy Eldon advocates will help as much with healing as it will prevention of future tragedy.
  2. Daniel Lende a neuro-anthropologist, who wrote a thought provoking piece on the Aurora, Colorado shooting, lives near Sandy Hook and offers a personal and thoughtful update to his earlier piece under the title “Newtown and Violence: No Easy Answers.” I recommend Daniel’s posts on this topic because he acknowledges that the two active parts of the debate (guns, and mental health) are important, but pushes us further toward understanding that we need to confront questions about the role of violence in our culture.

People, guns, and our violence culture are all parts of this terrible puzzle. However we may agree or disagree on the difficult issues surrounding this tragedy, lets resolve to work together solve this puzzle, heal this hurt, curb this violence. 


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Guns, Loss, and Neurons | TAO • The Arts Organization


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