It is all over the Internet, on social media, and the center of conversation this past week due to the terrible shooting tragedy in Oregon. Guns. Should guns be banned? I am not one to get into politics on this blog and I respect all (or most opinions) but it is starting to feel like there is not a place in the US that is actually safe. As a 7 month pregnant woman, I think about these things differently now.
What will it be like for my little boy to go to elementary, middle, high school and college? Even separate from that I think about it in grocery stores, movie theaters, malls, and almost any public area. Whatever the conversation is about banning guns, focusing on mental health, making more laws about having licenses and permits, or classes and training — something has to change. I am not going to get into solutions or politics. Whatever the solution (there has to be one) that can mean that Americans can still feel free. That is what concerns me the most — the fear of going about your daily life when shootings continue to increase. How is that freedom? Whether it is a shooter that kills one person or a shooter that kills many, the act of shooting a human with a gun does not equal freedom for the innocent victims and their families.
Among quite a few organizations that are trying to raise awareness for gun conversations, I came across “Not One More.” It is an organization that shares the stories of those who have lost loved ones through gun violence. Not One More is fighting for safer communities. Who does not want that? Who does not want to feel safe and free? Regardless of our political views we should all want the same end goal. Freedom and safety for ourselves and our loved ones.
I have been stressed out lately. Lots happening at work. Lots happening at home. Last week I think I hit my limit and decided it was time to shift priorities and re-focus a bit. Then I found this quote, “Stressed Spelled Backwards is Desserts.”
It got me thinking in a deeper way, maybe feeling stressed is not always a bad thing. So often we try to cram every possible moment of our day full of doing things. Accomplish, accomplish, accomplish. Get it done. I know I often do. A full day of work, a good run, a blog post, more work, oh and somewhere in there is a bit of eating (or a lot depending on the day). That does not sound like too much, and yet some days it is exhausting. Last week I had one of those days. I came home and was wiped out. No run and no work was happening for me. I changed into comfy pajamas and curled up on the couch in front of the plethora of television shows I am behind on for some mind numbing entertainment. My dessert after feeling stressed.
My hope is that each time we are stressed out, it gives us pause to slow down. To look again at our priorities and find out how they can be shifted, changed, and balanced. How can we turn our life from feeling stressed to pampering and taking care of ourselves? Is stress really a way for our bodies and minds to tell us that we have had enough? That it is time for a much-needed break? Or that it is time to pull out the desserts, put our feet up and relax a little?
Last week I came across this article about bringing guns to work. I found it after the Clackamas Town Center mall shootings. I was shocked that this is even a conversation, or that it is even legal in some states to bring a gun to work. I do not even want to think about my co-workers bringing a gun to work.
Guns at work adds to the already full social commentary about gun laws and mental health. The events of last week have brought us all to reflect on our lives, appreciate our loved ones, and pray for the families affected by these tragedies. My heart and tears go out to those that have been affected by the shootings in Oregon and Connecticut. Horror. Safety. Why? All three of these words come to my mind. Many individuals are asking why this happened, and what needs to change in our country. I am asking myself the same questions. What needs to shift?
Besides understanding the facts, many are talking about what needs to be done with gun laws and mental health issues in our country. Both issues need to be discussed. We also need to address the fear of safety from the public. What does a shooting in a mall, movie theater, and an elementary school do to the fear and comfort level for many families across America. Is it immobilizing them or are they able to continue to live their lives? What effects do these events have on the general trust among strangers? Will we all begin to start looking at each other different?
I do not have any answers. Only questions right now. What I do know is like with many of the natural disasters that have hit around the world in the recent months and years, that this is a time to come together. To work together in our communities and try to find answers to our questions. To not move on as though this was all okay. It is not okay.
Articles I have found interesting from the online conversation: