God Must Be Crying…
It’s pretty dark out right now. I’ve been just laying in bed, listening to the raindrops fall off of my roof and onto our neighbor’s truck that sits right next to my bedroom window. Every once in a while the wind picks up for a moment and rattles the wind chimes out there, too. I never got wind chimes until I moved to this house. I can’t tell you how many nights those things have lulled me to sleep with their sporadic, clinking chord.
It took me a while to realize that it was rain that I was hearing. Christmas is just 10 days away and, in my experience, you don’t really get rain this far north at this time of year. Nevertheless, I peeked out my blinds to see a steady drizzle coming down, melting the snow left over from last week’s fall, dark rainclouds hanging heavy and thick in the air. All in all a mix of melancholy, but also beauty since, like I said, this doesn’t really happen this time of year.
I remember as a child when I would ask the hard questions a child tends to ask, usually starting with a “Why” and ending in some deep, unquantifiable scientific or moral dilema put in only the way a child can. I imagine I was lied to a lot. Not lied to, I guess, but explained away. You know what I’m talking about: “Why is the sky blue?” “Because God made it that way.” “Why does that man walk that way?” “I don’t know, honey.” “Why is that girl crying on tv?” “Because she’s sad.” “Why does it rain?” “Because God is crying.”
As an adult now, I can understand the reason adults give those answers. Sometimes there is so much backstory to answer a question like, “Why is that girl crying?” you simply don’t care to or cannot answer a small child with those details. “Why is the sky blue?” Perhaps you don’t even know the answer yourself! But are you going to let a child know that? Absolutely not.
Once I realized it was raining this morning, I continued to lay sleepily in my bed, lazily contemplating the significance of this abnormal weather pattern. “Why does it rain?” I turned on my favorite drone album as I began to contemplate- slowly gaining awareness, but still not really leaving my bed except for when I checked out the window to verify whether it was actually raining. It was.
‘God must be crying.’ I thought to myself.
I know I had been. Memories of the past 24 hours came flooding back in an instant. The Twitter feeds, the tearstained drive home from work, the hours spent flipping between CNN and MSNBC and ABC, alone in my basement. More tears. More social media feeds. People lashing out due to what I perceived as confusion and fear. Images of mothers in hysterics as they found out that they would not be able to hold their child tight and tell them they loved them one last time. Hearing the stories of the teachers, those brave teachers, huddling their kids in corners and closets and telling them that they were loved, thinking it would be the last thing they ever heard. Then seeing the President take to the podium, unsuccessfully fighting tears, working hard to keep his voice from wavering, expressing the sorrow of a nation. My heart was in pieces.
‘God must be crying.’
Someone said yesterday, “I think the whole country needs grief counseling.” I watched as newscasters lost their cool, breaking down on live television. Anderson Cooper, a white light in all of this, boldly stated at the start of his show last night, “We do not want history to remember this shooter. We want history to remember the victims.”
It was sad to start to see the shift in people’s comments on that fickle mistress that is social media. As the hours went on, the tide turned from “prayers” to criticism of everyone and everything. “Now is not the time for talking about gun control!” some said. “You’re right! That day was yesterday!” others quipped. “Guns don’t kill people.” “Guns aren’t the problem.” “Guns are absolutely the problem!” “We already have strict gun laws in our country!” “It’s my God given right!” “Should we outlaw cars too?” “Jesus said I’ve come to bring a sword, not peace!” It all made me very nauseous.
‘God must be crying.’
There was a part of me that just wished that Jesus would come down and take care of the issue Himself. You know, set the record straight. “OK, Lord, when You said you came not to bring peace but a sword, but then later you said that those who live by the sword die by the sword, which one of those did you actually mean? Because we’re a little confused down here.”
But God was silent.
And so we went on arguing. Arguing over everything. “Should Wal-Mart be selling uranium?” “Guns are awesome!” “Shouldn’t we be praying instead of talking politics?” “The president should man up.” “If you argued for guns today, you are one of history’s losers.” “The issue is sinful man, not guns.” On and on and on.
And as we fight I fear the picture of what we are fighting for gets more clouded until it’s finally lost, just like all the others. Sandy Hook Elementary School. A Sikh temple in Oak Creek. A theatre in Aurora. Hundreds more. Dead now. Not to mention the corner boys and gang bangers in our cities that use gun violence as a way of life. Somehow, I guess, we deem those losses acceptable; just part of the American dream, I guess.
God must be crying.
Now is the time for mourning. Now is the time for sadness. But mourning and sadness are not enough. As leaders, as the radicals, as the revolutionaries, it’s our job to be not only the heart, but also the voice of our people. And so I want my voice to be counted. I don’t want to argue. I don’t want to fight. I want to lift up the broken and demand that this is the last time.
I believe that this is a deep rooted issue in the human condition, left to fester in the leniency of American culture for generations. We are a country founded on bloodshed and violence, and that runs deep in our veins. I do not believe that America will ever see a prohibition on guns. I don’t think that it’s constitutional, nor is it practical. I also do not think that stiffer gun control laws alone are going to solve very much. This is a multifold issue, like any major political struggle, but for the lives of our children and our children’s children, for our brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers, we should be taking up the fight to end these kinds of tragedies once and for all in this nation.
I believe there need to be stricter gun regulations on households. We know that in many of these recent cases of violence in our country the shooters did not even own the guns they used. When we have 88 guns to every 100 people in this country, we are asking for problems like this. There is no reason for someone to gain access to automatic or semi-automatic weapons and kevlar vests that don’t even belong to them. That kind of stuff is on the people who are careless with their guns in the first place. If you are careless or thoughtless with the guns you own, you shouldn’t be allowed to have them. The USA has the most lax gun regulation in the developed world by far, and we have an exponentially high homicide rate to show for it. Things need to change.
I believe another integral part of the puzzle is affordable and accessible mental health care and counseling. There should be no chance of someone dealing with mental issues feeling like their only option is to take a gun and solve their problems by acting out in violence. They should have professionals that they can talk to that are trained in this and that can spot signs of distress before it comes to innocents being harmed or killed.
Along with that, awareness of mental health is another important step. If you don’t know you or your loved one needs help, you’re not going to get it. And it can end violently. We see this all the time.
There need to be stricter laws on the illegal sale and possession of weapons in our county. 1 in 6 people in our prison system is there for reasons to do with marijuana. When nearly 1/3 of gun sales in the US are happening illegally, our city underbellies are thriving on a culture of violence, often utilizing children, and mass murders taking place at such a rapid pace, why on earth wouldn’t we be cracking down on illegal sale and possession of weapons as opposed to people smoking weed? We need to seriously reevaluate our priorates.
We need to keep in mind why this is important to talk about. This isn’t about ‘getting my way’ or ‘my civil liberties under fire’ any more. This is about our families. Our children, for God’s sake. This is about taking a stand and saying, “I know what the cost is, and I’m not willing to pay it any more.”
I remember sitting in a Sikh temple a few months ago and listening to the pastor of the Unitarian Universalist church say to the family of those that had been murdered in Oak Creek, “We are here to support you because, in our hearts, we all know it could have been us. It could have been our house of worship. It could have been our family. It could have been us.”
Now is the time for mourning. Now is the time for sadness. But mourning and sadness are not enough. I want to lift up the broken and demand that this is the last time. I’m not willing to wait for another Aurora or Sandy Hook. I’m not willing to wait until it’s my family and friends. This is the last time.