Thursday, December 20, 2012

Peace on Earth. Please?

Editor's note: I wanted to write a beautiful and inspiring blog to celebrate Christmas and send it to all my friends and family members in lieu of sending cards this year... But current circumstances in the world sort of eclipsed my earlier idea of writing about the holidays in Jolly Ol' England. How can anyone write about "jolly" when there is so much pain in the world?

I'm not talking about my own pain, although my personal journey this past year has been a very rough road by anyone's account. And I realize that my publishers recommend that authors of romantic fiction choose only optimistic and entertaining subjects for our blogs. But sometimes a topic comes to mind and there's no way to put it out of your mind unless you write about it and share your thoughts. So here goes.

Peace on earth. Goodwill to all mankind.

We read these sentiments on Christmas cards, but do we ever truly understand what they mean or the costs involved in acting upon them? Sure, it's nice to wish someone peace and other good things, but if you do nothing to provide a way for your fellow man to live in peace and experience happiness or goodwill, how are you helping the situation? Short answer: You're not. Your actions (or lack-of-action) could actually be part of the problem, too.

Some Americans cry and whine about their rights to bear arms being infringed if there is any talk of gun control. In the wake of recent events it's obvious the gun problem still remains. If you're not a hunter who uses your deer rifle to eat the game you shoot, why would you need to own semi-automatic assault weapons or thousands of hand guns unless you want to use them against your neighbors? Short answer: You don't need to own them. Weapons meant to mow down soldiers in short order are weapons of a potential mass murderer, not a tool to be used by a game hunter trying to feed his or her family. Deer and people are not one in the same.

How can you wish your neighbor "peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind" if you are secretly plotting to kill him or her by stockpiling weapons you don't need in the first place? Short answer: You can't.  Stop the whining about gun control and take a hard look in the mirror. Like what you see?

"Goodwill to all mankind" includes wanting what is best for our neighbor. When we allow our neighbors to go without proper health care--up to and including mental health care--how are we showing them we wish them all things "good"? Short answer: We're not. If we deny good things to our neighbors, then we really don't want to wish them "peace and goodwill" do we? We're telling them that we don't care about their plight. It's plain and simple. We're lying. Look in the mirror again. Do you trust this person?

At Christmas, a season known for its emphasis on compassion, how would you describe people who hoard all the good things in life, up to allowing their neighbors to go without proper health care? How would you describe those who are willing to "protect" their material possessions through extreme measures that include possibly using assault weapons against their neighbors? Selfish maybe?

Peace on earth. Goodwill to all mankind.

This Christmas I pray that everyone will think hard about what those words mean. Stop thinking that you exist in a vacuum. Start practicing compassion and stop thinking your neighbor's well-being doesn't matter. It does. Because if we don't start making some changes in our society, it could be you or your beloved child or grandchild who is lying in a coffin with a bullet hole come next year. That is, if a serious illness or accident without access to health care doesn't put you or your loved one in the grave first.

Even the most selfish of us should be able to see that compassion for all benefits us all in the grand scheme of things, right?

Merry Christmas! And as the angels at Bethlehem sang on that special night long ago, "Peace on earth... goodwill to all mankind."

Thanks for reading this far. May your new year be blessed, healthy and happy. Cindy :)


Butch F. said...

God Bless and keep you, and everyone around you. Bless your family and his. As your friend, I hope to see you well and sharing a few giggles, tears, and sighs.

Merry Christmas Cyn.

Rich Zellich said...

Deep sigh...

Cindy, all I can say is that you have a deep ignorance of both guns and gun owners. My guns defend not only myself and my family, but my neighbors (many of them are equipped for their own defense). The so-called military arms you say we don't need 1) aren't really military arms in the first place - that's propaganda lies from the professional anti-gun organizations; and 2) military arms are the very thing that the Second Amendment to the Constitution protects - hunting, target shooting, and collecting are by products of the 2nd. As it turns out, the so-called "assault weapons" are actually quite popular for hunting - the AR-15 variants for small game, since it doesn't have a very powerful cartridge, and the AK-47 variants for deer, since they shoot an intermediate caliber similar to the venerable .30-30. (So-called, because there's no such thing as an "assaullt weapon"; it's a term made up by Josh Sugarman, of the Violence Policy Institute to deliberately confuse people into thinking they're full-auto/selective fire military assault rifles.)

The tragic Newtown massacre was not a "gun problem", it was a "killer" problem. So far, the three mass murders in this country that hold the record for most people killed did NOT use guns; two used gasoline, and one used home-made explosives (a school board member blew up a school in 1927). A 4th major incident, the OKC attack on the Murrah Federal Building also used home-made explosives. The Newtown killer did not own the guns he used - he stole them from his target-shooting mother; no law could possibly have stopped him. Even improved mental health programs may not have done anything - so far, he has only been reported as having mild autism, probably Asperger's Syndrome. That is NOT a mental illness, it is a neurodevelopmental problem - and is not known to engender violent tendencies.

We have over 20,000 gun control laws on the books in the US, and not one of them stopped, or COULD HAVE stopped the Newtown murderer. Restricting the civil rights of 30,000,000 law-abiding gun owners won't stop the next massacre either, or any single murder. Criminals, by definition, do not obey laws; taking self-defense and target guns away from law-abiding citizens won't affect the criminals. Look at what happened in England after they finally took everyone's handguns away - the violent crime rate shot up, and criminals even started importing full-auto firearms from Eastern Europe, something that was not the case before the ban.

Cindy said...

Thanks, Butch! A very merry Christmas to you and your family, too! See you in the new year. :)

Cindy said...


I'll let Adrian address the more technical aspects of your comment. Suffice it to say,there isn't much of a hand gun problem here in England. They posted the number of shootings (not all fatal) per year in various western countries. England was somewhere around 30 per year with only a handful fatal. Canada had 200 a year, but the USA was up there with close to 4,000. So, obviously the gun control laws in the US don't work very well in their current state. Even multiplying the 30 shootings per year in the U.K times 5 (since their population is currently around 60 million opposed to 300 million in the US), you still come out with 150 shootings per year if their population were the same. 150 is still way less than 4,000 shootings in a year... I think you could agree that the US is not inherently safer just because we allow our citizens to stock up on firearms.

A J said...

Lanza's mom owned guns - the very weapons used to kill her. How is that safe? The gun owners bleat that 'the situation is too complicated,' and 'you're ignorant of the facts.' The fact is, it's both patronizing and wrong to try to diminish our concerns. Ma and Pa Kettle hang on to their beloved AK47s, AR15's, Glochs, Sig-Saurs, heck even Browning .50 cal MGs because their neighbor might turn out to be a gun-owning nut-job. All very well on the Frontier of 150 years ago, but NOT good in a nation of over 300 million and rising, where more conflict is a certainty, given the pressures of society. How many other Sandy Hooks, Denvers, Virginia Techs and Columbines does there have to be before someone reins in this rampant gun culture?

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