My brothers went on Dad’s hunting trips. My sister and I were expected to help clean and cook those pitiful little birds. I didn’t want to hunt and I deftly avoided kitchen chores, so it didn’t seem like a big deal then. But guns seem like very big deal right now.
I’m willing to admit that some very nice people like to hunt even if I never did. Those tiny birds seemed like a foolish payoff for all that tramping in the weeds. The birds weren’t very tasty and you could crack a tooth on a leftover bullet.
I’m writing today because life has changed since 1940 and we need new gun laws. My Dad hunted in places like Corona that are now wall-to-wall houses. One of my favorite movie scenes is when Eddie Murphy as a new congressman goes on a hunting trip with NRA types and shoots birds with an Uzi. It was so ridiculous in Distinguished Gentleman that everyone laughed. But assault weapons are not funny in real life.
I’ve never really bought the idea that hunting is a transcendental experience. Nevertheless, lots of people I’ve respected have enjoyed hunting so I’m willing to leave regular guns in the hands of responsible people. But the rest is nonsense.
The Sandy Hook massacre apparently created enough public awareness so that we are on the verge of political action. I trust that President Obama will do what he says he’s going to do, especially since a large majority of Americans are in favor. But he cannot do it alone. Good people like us need to continue a steadfast activity in the direction of change. Let’s not get discouraged or confused but forge ahead. Let’s not get trapped in rhetoric about how complicated change is. Complications dissolve where there is a clear vision.
We people in New Thought know how to hold a vision. We use the power of prayer daily. Will you join me and devote part of your spiritual practice to envisioning fewer guns and less violence? Include it in our prayer for peace?
I believe in the power of prayer and I also believe in backing up my prayer with activities that support the desired goal. There are some simple steps to take. We can endeavor to be centered in peace ourselves. We can make sure any guns we have around are securely locked up. We can also get rid of them.
Prayer works. Follow-up action works. We are not powerless and we are with the majority opinion.
When an idea takes hold, change happens and each of us can do our part to support this idea. That is actually how all change happens on a personal, community, national or worldwide level. First we establish a clear vision. God then supports that vision. I believe we must also support the vision with our actions.
God does the work but there is an old saying, “Treat and move your feet.” We seldom get the job unless we send out the resume. We seldom move ahead unless we take political action. Our actions confirm our commitment to the vision.
Don’t get confused about the issue in the following weeks. We often hear that guns are not the problem – that people who shoot guns are. That’s simplistic. Without assault weapons, fewer people would have been killed in massacres like Sandy Hook and Tucson and Columbine.
You may also hear that the real problem is violence in the inner cities. It is true that young people are losing their lives every day in the streets. Urban mayors are pushing hard to regulate guns in their cities and that is one more beginning. Tightening up gun regulations will reduce problems.
I don’t want us to be distracted during this window of opportunity, although it is clear there is not just one single solution, but many partial solutions. We must approach the problem of violence in the United States from several angles.
Mental health is a big part of the problem. We need changes in mental health identification and treatment. I can see those changes coming but I am not willing to postpone action on banning assault weapons until we solve the myriad mental health treatment issues.
Violence in the entertainment media is also a problem. The special effects that accompany crime drama in today’s movies are appalling. Many people in New Thought already choose to avoid entertainment violence. I find it’s no big loss. If enough people boycott violent films and video games, it will help.
Then there are the constitutional arguments. Both liberals and conservatives use them to defend their beloved First and Second amendments.
It is ridiculous when liberals rage against the 2nd Amendment “patriots” then turn around and insist that the appalling graphic carnage in movies is protected by the 1st Amendment. Nonsense on both sides.
The First and Second Amendments were written as a reaction to English rule. They are not written in stone. They can be interpreted differently and they can be changed. Fundamentalism, whether from the right or left is nuts.
Yes – I want to support stronger controls of violence in movies, TV and games. And… I do not want to let that slow down the control of assault weapons and tighter regulations on guns.
When the NRA and others try to cloud the issue by pointing out that the issue of violence is complicated and there are other problems, it amounts to static on the airwaves. We know there is truth in what they say and we know they say it to distract us from taking action today.
They say what they say because there is big money in guns. We know that reducing the availability of guns will help reduce violence. We also know you don’t need assault weapons to shoot birds or deer.
You do make a difference.
I believe we can reduce the violence in the United States by getting assault weapons off the street and tightening up all gun laws. I salute and support the leaders who are in front of this movement and I will sign the petitions, write the letters and pray for passage of laws and the establishment of peaceful life in this land. How about you?
I write this today because I would like to see every one who believes in the power of peaceful change to speak up in the next few days. Write letters to your representatives. Sign petitions to ban assault weapons. Send money to the organizations that support the cause. Send this blog to your friends. Spend some of your prayer and visioning time on this issue.
What do I think about gun laws?
Will I pray about it?
Will I write a comment on this blog about it?
Will I take political action about it?
On Monday, a friend called and said, “ Your book, Dreams Can Come True, was on the Today show.” There were several messages from other friends who saw the show. I am always amazed at the powerful reach of TV.
Later that day, my daughter sent me a clip of the show and I watched it. If I can figure out how to do it, I will put a link out later this week.
The reason the book was on TV is that the Today Show has a new host – Savannah Guthrie – and they were introducing her to the audience. Apparently Dreams Can Come True was her favorite book as a young teen.
The other host, Matt Lauer, read from the back cover and tried to tease her about the plot which is all about wanting to be a cheerleader and catching the most popular football hero as a boyfriend. I was happy when she defended the book, saying, “It was a good book.”
I was also bit dismayed at how much trouble they went to make their new host look like a silly girl. After all, the woman is an accomplished journalist and she’s read lots of other books since she was in 7th grade.
It threw me back to those days (1982) when I was a member of the National Organization of Women (NOW) and we were trying to pass the ERA Amendment. NOW kept calling me and I kept sending them money. My contributions came from the money I was making writing teenage romances.
The book is out of print now and it was fun to see the cover on a national TV show. We all enjoy our 15 seconds of fame. I hope it was helpful to Ms. Guthrie and the thousands of other young women who read it back then. I’ve always been proud of my career as a writer for teenagers, even though I moved on to spiritual writing.
In those days, I was happy to be making good money at a craft I’d struggled with for years. I was able to write books girls loved because I had been a teacher and I knew teenagers. It never seemed inappropriate to me to write about a young girl’s search for popularity and young love. They always learned some life-lessons along the way. Lessons in self-reliance and integrity, as well as how to get what you want.
I’m not sure I’d be able to write most of the stuff that I see pushed on TV now. That is because I have changed and times have changed. I am older, more deeply involved in my spiritual teaching, and I haven’t been in a classroom for more than 35 years. As I said, times have also changed. But…
Times haven’t changed – up until now – as much as I wanted. While there are some gains in women’s lives, we never did get the Equal Rights Amendment passed. Women still make 77 cents on the dollar that men make in the same jobs. While there are more women in visible TV spots, they are nearly all beautiful. There are still not many women (beautiful or not) politicians at the state or national level.
What’s more, it seems as if the gains we made over the years are being pushed back as fast as politicians
(who say they are all about jobs but spend their time pushing against equal rights) can push.
I am concerned that our political future may be deeply impacted by unlimited and undisclosed contributions from a few “fat cats”. It was not the future I expected back in the 70’s and 80’s when the lives of women and other “minority” groups seemed on track to get so much better.
If you had told any of us who were working for the passage of the ERA amendment that the rights and support of women and children would be in grave danger now, we wouldn’t have believed it. Access to abortion, birth control, child health care, and nutrition programs is absolutely important to the health of this nation.
I don’t care how much people long for the good old days that never existed. Nostalgia for simpler times is a poison pellet this country must not swallow. Believe me, there was never a time when all girls wanted was to be popular cheerleaders. Those teenage romances were about as realistic as the Cosby show.
I love to watch old movies and am almost addicted to screwball comedies of the Thirties but I don’t believe that people lived like that in real life. They were simply entertainments. We should never confuse entertainment with fact. Plus, time can never run backwards.
That said, I am very happy to have Dreams Can Come True acknowledged as, “a good book” by a successful and visible child of the 80’s. It is always amazing and wonderful how wide those pebbles we toss into the lake can go. I wish her well in her new spot.
As for my own current career. I will be speaking on Rev. Beverly Molander’s radio show next Monday at 1 pm. You can access the show by going to http://www.unity.fm/program/AffirmativePrayer. That invitation came because of the book’s brief appearance on the Today show.
I am finishing up my Emerson class this Thursday and it has been wonderful to revisit that fabulous thinker and his friends. This has been an exceptionally bright group of students and they especially enjoyed watching my lectures that I made 20 years ago. I especially enjoyed being reminded of that 110 pound weight loss.
My meditation coloring book is done and I will be writing about it soon.
I will be speaking in church on Sunday, July 29th, and I think my talk will be about Summer Reading. Any suggestions?
What was your favorite book as a kid?
What is your favorite New Thought book?