I can’t get the Knoxville church shooting out of my mind today. My thoughts are with all who suffered through that nightmare and survived and with the families of the victims that have died. The little kids putting on the play Annie at the time were witnesses to the horror too. How many times will they have to relive it in their minds as they grow up. What kind of world is this we live in? Where is the peace and the love? How can someone hate so much that suicide by cop seems like a good plan? What can we do to make our culture one that is life affirming and nurturing?
We all have one thing in common…everyone of us…straight, gay, male, female, American, citizens of other countries…this place we call Earth is our only home. We all have no other choices. This is it and we must learn to live together somehow on it or we will destroy it and ourselves.
I don’t know what made this guy snap…but I do know there were some warning signs that went unheeded. He bought his gun 30 days ago in a pawn shop. His ex-wife in one report said there was an order of protection from him. Why was he able to purchase a semi-automatic rifle with an order of protection filed against him? Anybody know Tennessee gun law? I know you can’t have a carry permit if you’ve had a felony against you or a history of mental illness but order of protection? You’d think…
What about things that probably helped feed his hate? How about right wing talk radio? Did he fill his ears with that all the time? I’ll bet he did since any talk radio you turn on in Tennessee is right wing hate…non stop…or on air church services. One on every street corner and every am dial it seems. God and guns and hate the gays. I am so sick of it all. This prick walks into one of the few liberal churches there are around these parts and unloads some 12 gauge venom.
We as a society have a lot of work to do kids. As the economy gets worse more people are going to freak out and there’s some things that maybe we could all try to do to help stop the violence. First, we could check on our friends, families & neighbors. Say hello, smile, offer a hand. See how they’re doing. Let ’em know their not just spinning out there on their own…alone. Second, we could help put a stop to the hate speech…at the water coolers and on the radio. It starts with not being a party to jokes that are anyone else’s expense. If you find it offensive than say so. As for the role media has in all this…I’m all for the first amendment so I don’t want to pull these @#$%^&-holes off the air…I just want to make them completely irrelevant. I want the advertisers of their programs to know we won’t shop there because they support hate. I want the owners of the radio stations that host the shows to know that we won’t tune in to their stations anymore because they choose hate speech as entertainment. And third, I want to see our political process become a forum for the issues rather than a horse race with personal attacks and one group pitted against the next. We are not a country made up of red states and blue states…we’re America. We’re all in this together.
Blessings to the people of the Knoxville UU church. Thank you for everything you do to try to help bring about social change and for justice. Peace & Love to you and yours.