"Words, words, words, I'm so sick of words…."1
"You keep talking…but you're not saying anything"2
"Inconceivable! You keep using that word…I do not think it means what you think it means…"3
We are such a verbally oriented society; the 24 hour news cycle along with the FCC rules that there can be no silence has created an incessant chatter – words, words, words. Newscasters try to explain what happened, repeating words like "here's what we know" when we don't know anything new, or interviewing friends of friends of acquaintances of the person who lived down the street from the shooter, whose words don't tell us anything. In the raw, aghast shock of the incident in Sandy Hook, where an unstable young man had easy access to weapons of mass destruction, we search for words to make us feel better. There are no words.
The images speak louder. Mothers hugging each other, fathers holding hands with surviving children, the open, gathering arms of a teacher as she hurried her students to safety, a crying child; these pictures convey a clearer message. But the more we rely on rhetoric, on words to explain away the impact of this event, the farther away we move from the why of it. There is no why except the world we have made.
A man told me this happened because we removed prayer from the classroom. Was he even thinking or was he spouting some words he heard on TV? Some religious folk talk about God calling his children home. Really? There is a deity who randomly calls up nearly 2 dozen little kids? I read these words: "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." WHAT? If this statement is true, then wouldn't it make sense to keep guns away from people who might use them to kill? What are you saying, America? Words, words, words. Where are the "words of comfort, words of peace, words to make the fighting cease?"4
If prayerful people really prayed for peace, as all religions teach, then why would anyone need guns at home, in their pocket or purse? If prayerful people prayed wherever they went, if they cared for each other (without state sanction but because they are prayerful and therefore prayerfully, consciously kind to one another) why eliminate mental health programs, treatment centers and other assistance for those families who desperately need it? We need to manifest our real connection to spirit and to compassion in our hearts, in our interactions with each other and in the laws we make. Blaming this incident on the separation of church and state, one of the most basic reasons this country was founded, is a political twisting of reality. Why not pray for a world where we don't have to fight, blow each other up or carry concealed weapons? Are we engaging in a distorted personal cold war, neighbor by neighborhood? Throw out your weapons of mass destruction, the ones that are hiding in closets, drawers and gun cabinets. Keep a hunting rifle if you are a hunter but there is NO REASON for anyone to own repeating semi-automatic, blasting bushmasters or military style machine guns.
Stop talking. Throw out the words that separate us, the "she's in a better place" words and make THIS place a better one. DO something. And if you want to pray, pray for action and then take some. If you need to use words, call Congress and say these words:
ENOUGH, ALREADY. Take away the ammunition.
1. My Fair Lady
2. The Talking Heads
3. The Princess Bride
4. The Tom Tom Club