I suppose a lot of people will be flying into ELP and DAY. They want to get close to the recent events, part of an ongoing national tragedy that we can’t seem to get our heads or hearts around, and we can’t seem to deal with effectively. Our government’s ambiguity about it is symptomatic. On the one hand, an Obama-era rule that would have made it harder for people with mental illness to obtain a fire-arm was just quietly revoked. On the other, our President has joined with other law-makers to denounce the recent events. He (finally!) condemned white supremacy, bigotry and hatred. He went on to say, “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger. Not the gun,” and talked about “red flag laws,” that would limit people with mental illness’ access to firearms.1 But, what if mental illness and hatred had no trigger to pull in the first place?
Someone who believes there’s a worldwide conspiracy to replace white people with people of color is mentally unstable enough. Believing that such a change constitutes a threat makes one dangerously unstable. Therefore, campaign donations shouldn’t buy the right of such a mentally unstable person to purchase a firearm. We can’t have our cake and eat it, too. Actions speak louder than words. We must keep guns out of the hands of those who will misuse them.
But in the end, legislation is not the answer. Where are the spiritual masters who can teach us wisdom and compassion? Where are the voices that remind us that facing one’s fears is the greatest and noblest battle, subsuming one’s ego-centrism in service of the common good is bravery, and that giving oneself for the sake of another, solely because they are the other, is the highest goal?