Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A song about a church shooting is worth a thousand pictures

Here is the opposite of my blog about a picture worth a thousand words. Listen to a beautiful song written and recorded on You Tube, by a local music artist, Sara Thomsen. If this doesn't move you, nothing will. What is conjured up with her words- "blood on lace", "bullets fly", "the scripture flies", somebody nods their head", "somebody dies"? Sara wrote this song in response to the church shooting in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2008. As you may or may not recall, this senseless shooting was politically motivated. The Unitarian Universalist Church is generally thought to be a place where liberals worship. Jim Adkisson, the shooter, hated liberals, gay people, and African Americans. He once served in the U.S. Army. He knew how to shoot and shoot he did- 2 dead and 6 injured. 

So, this seems to be about intolerance in general towards people and ideas that don't fit with the world of the shooter. These books were found in Adkisson's home: " 
In his manifesto, Adkisson also included the Democratic members of the House and Senate,[11] and the 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America [11]of Bernard Goldberg in his list of wished-for targets." 

In previous posts I have written about the danger of the far right's language in ramping up hatred towards those who don't agree with their philosophy and political points of view. Sometimes people act on that language and hyperbole. The case of the man who shot several police officers in California on his way to shoot people at the "Tides" foundation, which Glenn Beck had been "yelling" about on his radio and T.V. shows is an example of liberal organizations that are, according to him, dangerous to our society. And somebody watching and listening conjured up an image of an organization whose people he wanted to shoot.

As long as we ignore what is right before us, as I wrote yesterday, these shootings will continue to happen in unexpected places. And instead of trying to change the language and the culture of violence, our elected leaders pretend it isn't happening. Instead of being shocked by shootings such as the Knoxville church shooting, some politicians push for laws allowing guns in churches. The idea is that someone could defend a congregation if only he/she had a gun. Surely that person carrying a gun for self defense, would have stood up, if in the right place, and aimed precisely at the shooter without shooting anyone else in line with the bullet, and accurately taken out the shooter. These are the scenarios in the dreams of those who would protect others and themselves in public places from public shootings. It is possible, surely, but the likelihood of it happening that way is slim. Just this morning, I read that the shoot-out on the streets of New York City resulted in one police officer shooting another. Had it not been for a protective vest worn by the officer, there would have been another death. That's what happens when people start shooting at each other in public places.

Sara Thomsen's beautiful song about a church shooting and intolerance conjures up tragic images with the words she has chosen. When I first heard her sing this piece in my church last spring, I was moved to tears; there weren't many dry eyes in the pews that morning. There was a hush when the song was finished as everyone took in the powerful words of the lyrics. Words like these should be more powerful than hateful rhetoric spewed daily in our country. Will they be? Could they lead to action in the direction of preventing gun violence rather than accepting it? Time will tell. While we are waiting, 80 Americans a day, including 8 children, die from a bullet.

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