I hope all of you all are doing well. I wanted to let you know, in case my last email left you wondering, I am still working on being fully present and aware. It is very easy to get sucked back into the old way of life because it has thirty years of momentum behind it. But I am celebrating the successes I have and making progress.
It has been a very long time since I wrote anything of a political nature, though that is what I spent a great deal of time doing before epilepsy changed my life's course a few years ago. However, after I received a recent invitation from one of the the Asheville Citizen Times editors on the subject of gun control, it struck a chord that needed to be strummed. In case you're wondering, I'm on a list of people who has published a number of editorials and letters and we get invitations to write on various current events.
I thought this issue might provide a nice segway to a cause that is near and dear to me so I sent in an editorial (see below). I don't think they are going to run it, but I wanted to share it with others who might find themselves being sucked into the gun control debate all over again. Let me know what you think either at the blog (http://compassion-blog.blogspot.com/) or via email.
After the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech, the gun control debate has been forced back into the limelight. Those calling for stricter gun laws have very pure intentions. They want to save lives and they see stricter laws as a means to that end. However, these same individuals also tend to be on the pro choice side of the abortion debate. Not because they see abortion as the preferred method of birth control, but because they know that outlawing abortion will not make abortion go away. If abortion were made illegal in this country, a huge black market of underground clinics would open with no regulatory oversight. The number of do it yourself procedures would also increase dramatically. That may or may not mean fewer abortions (there would be no way to know) but the mortality rate of mothers in need of an abortion would certainly go up.
A similar thing happens when we make guns harder to get. The black market for gun traffickers grows dramatically. Where there is a will there is a way, even if there is a law against it. One can only debate as to whether stricter gun laws would have prevented the Virginia Tech massacre, but I suspect he would have found a gun one way or another (people with criminal intentions tend to be quite determined). In fact, being forced into black market venues opens up whole new worlds of outlawed firearms to choose from.
What we have now is a regulated gun market that requires certain conditions be met before someone can purchase a gun. It doesn’t guarantee that individuals will obtain the gun legally or that they will not commit a crime with a gun they obtain legally. What it does do is prevents us from starting another black market war we can not win, like the current war on drugs. The war on drugs costs our nation tens of billions of dollars a year and results in untold number of deaths on both sides.
In short, if you want to focus your energy on saving lives in the wake of this tragedy, start at the source of the problem: the Ego. Ego is the source of all of the pain and suffering in the world. Our ego is what makes us believe we are right and those who disagree are wrong. It makes us blame others for our unhappiness and try to escape blame for anything that goes wrong. It makes us feel like victims of others. It causes us to project our feelings onto others and take everything projected onto us personally. It also lashes out at others who threaten our way of life or who do something to cause us pain. Thus, it creates a continuous cycle that feeds our ego just the right levels of righteous indignation and/or self pity. The only real difference is that some people have very strong egos, which lend toward physical violence (directed outward or inward), and others have weaker egos, which tend toward psychological attacks (directed outward or inward).
Once you realize the power ego currently has over all of us, you realize that you no longer have to be its victim. You no longer have to find someone to blame when something goes wrong. You see that we are all victims of not knowing any better when we are acting out of ego. You control whether you listen to it or not. This means your happiness is your choice and not someone else’s. Your misery is your fault, no one else’s. Ego transcendence is the way to free yourself and your fellow human beings of their misery.
If any of these words moved you in any way, either made you want to debate me and point out the ways in which I am wrong, or made you want to tell others about it, take the next step. Look up “Practicing the Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle and see if there’s anything to all this ego talk. I can guarantee it will set you free.