Blown Away by Kindness and Love, Rather than Fear and Hatred | Military Suicides |

Since the last massacre, while Obama talks of setting up legislation to somehow deal with the gun lobby and the NRA’s strangle hold on the U.S. Government, in the meantime, a massive amount of gun sales have been taking place all over the country. Those people who think that they need to preserve their right to have arms to protect themselves against criminals and the US Govt., are buying up every single weapon that they can get their hands on.

On December 21st, I hitchhiked to New York city to spend the day celebrating the winter solstice with other people in Make Music New York – taking place on each solstice. One of the people who gave me a ride, was a man who had just returned from Iraq the day before. He woke up at 5 in the morning, and decided to come to this massive ‘outdoor retailer’ with the intention of buying a weapon. He talked briefly on his cell phone with a friend, to whom he explained that ‘the shelves were almost empty’, so many people had been doing the same thing as he, going out to buy a weapon before his right to do so would be taken away.

Though I didn’t feel unsafe riding with this person, the fact that he had a weapon in his trunk, didn’t exactly make me feel secure. He wasn’t able to go under the river and through the tunnel into NYC, because of this weapon. He had to drop me off outside of it. The next driver who did take me through the tunnel was a taxi driver, who I explained as I waved that I’m hitching, not wanting to pay a cab fee. He said okay, said he’d drop me off as soon as we got into Manhattan. But before he let me out of the car, he insisted that I participate in a prayer with him. He said that he had previously had someone hold a gun on him and shoot him, and he survived, obviously. He explained that he had been blessed by accepting Jesus Christ into his heart. He wanted to ‘pay it forward’ and made me repeat after him, a prayer to acknowledge my sins and to accept Christ into my life as someone who had died for my sins. His intention was to protect me.

It brought tears to my eyes. This very dark skinned man from somewhere in Africa, truly moved me with his words and gestures of kindness; not only towards me, but towards every other individual with whom he had contact- a friend on the phone, people he paid the toll to, some other stranger who he interacted with. He showed so much kindness and respect. I was really somewhat blown away…fortunately not by bullets coming from fear or hatred, but by his love.

Yesterday a 5 second sound bite on the national news (they may have given the subject 10 seconds) mentioned that more U.S. soldiers have died from suicide in the last year, than combat.

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Gun Violence in America | Sponsored by Hollywood Ills | Sensationalized in News Media

Several days ago there was the case of a bright, witty and caring 17 year guy shot several times and killed by his 72 year old grandmother,with her automatic weapon. In a separate incident, an emotionally sick individual (ironically who had studied the biological origins of neurological and brain disorders) open fired in the packed midnight screening of the Batman sequel “Dark Night Rises”, living out his fantasy, and getting a hell of a lot of media attention for his, in Obama’s words, heinous act. All of this points to the absurd availability of guns, and with their accessibility, how ridiculously simple it is for an individual to, in a matter of seconds, pull a trigger and end someone’s life. Let’s wake up AmeriKa. As written in this New York Times article, “Once again, with a squeeze of a trigger, just 20 miles from Columbine High School, scene of the 1999 student massacre, the nation was plunged into another debate about guns and violence. He had purchased four guns at local gun shops.” Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/21/us/shooting-at-colorado-theater-showing-batman-movie.html This is not about the right to carry a weapon, we aren’t living in the Wild West. We already slaughtered the Native American Indians with our weapons 200 years ago. This is not about the ‘right’ to bear arms, it is about the absurdity of thinking that one ‘needs’ to bear arms. We need to rethink, educate and really rock the boat in a different direction. Obama’s message of valuing life and acknowledging your blessings, could not have been a better response. This isn’t about the enemy and evil empires (Bush’s response to 911), this is about what this empire has spun and created. Now it’s time to start gracefully taking a dramatically different stance. Respecting life, respecting one another. War is a crime. Battles between gangsters is a crime. Intolerance is a crime. Anything can become a weapon, even something healthy, food, can be used for toxicity rather than nutrition, but that doesn’t imply that it’s okay to mass market extremely unhealthy food, nor mass market extremely dangerous weapons. Eyes wide shut with the gun lobby greed, let’s wake up and get our priorities straight!

Though this report took place soon after the incident, at which time Amy Goodman had not had a lot of information, it nevertheless approaches the subject of the endemic gun violence in the United States. She interviews Mary Kershner, a registered nurse, gun control advocate, and founding member of Nurses Advocating Gun Safety, speaking from Denver, Colorado. http://www.democracynow.org/2012/7/20/denver_shooting_rampage_leaves_12_dead Ironically, the Gun Show will be taking place in Colorado in the next weeks.

Here’s a more recent interview on Democracy Now with Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting who was shot 4 times, and is now an active participant with the Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence.

And well, what’s more poignant than this /-)) http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-july-23-2012/aurora—gun-control

Here’s a more recent article in the New York Times, “Military Suicides Rising a Focus on Private Weapons” discussing the rate of suicides among soldiers, and the fact that they are predominantly occurring with the individual’s private fire arm. “According to Defense Department statistics, more than 6 of 10 military suicides are by firearms, with nearly half involving privately owned guns. In the civilian population, guns are also the most common method of suicide among young males, though at a somewhat lower rate. When active-duty troops who live on bases or are deployed are identified as potentially suicidal, commanders typically take away their military firearms. But commanders do not have that authority with private firearms kept off base.”