Tuesday, January 19, 2016

SO Sick of Guns

I'm not one much for routine, but there is one ritual I go through every morning.  After the livestock are fed, I pour a cup of coffee and head outside to my "coffee deck."  It's my place to connect with the spirits of nature before I begin my day.  This is not a luxury, not something I do when I have time or when I think about it.  It's something I need to do.  Every day.  Or I wither like an uprooted flower.

Early this past fall, I felt the Universe instructing me to go about my morning ritual a little differently.  I had been reading about mindfulness, intention, and being in the moment without judgment.  I felt that I should close my eyes and just listen for the first few moments of my deck time.  At first, it felt awkward and strained.  It seems like I'm pretty proficient at hearing, but not great at listening.  Once I began to get the hang of it, I found it refreshing, and at the same time, deep.  It felt as if, by eliminating one layer of noise inside my head, I was allowing the sounds of the world to enter my being to a deeper level without interference--so that I was not just hearing...I was absorbing.  A feeble description at best, but as close as I seem able to come.

That practice of connecting without judging came to a screeching halt...as soon as duck season opened.   The constant boom of far-off blunderbusses is not a sound I can--or wish to--allow to enter my being on a deep level. 

And it has been relentless.  In years past, there would be an almost acceptable level of gunfire in the morning...mostly on the weekends, and usually just enough to suggest a couple of sorties into the reeds with thousand dollar shotguns and designer dogs in tow.  It was bad enough to make me shake my head and grumble, but not so bad that it drove me indoors.  Not so, this year.

It seems that the gun fervor that has seized the nation has brought out every Bubba with a fire-spewing personal cannon and the will to use it.  They are coming out of the woodwork. Every morning--weekend, work day, school day, holiday--the explosions start as soon as daylight is barely a glimmer and continue on and off till dark.  I don't know what they're shooting at...I hope to god the level of noise they make is not indicative of the amount of death they are spreading, or there won't be a duck left to head north to Arctic breeding grounds in spring. 

My soul cringes at the senseless bloodlust.  I try to watch my little feeder birds, try to scan the sky for a heart-lifting glimpse of an eagle or a heron.  But I can't get beyond the sickening noise that, to me, sounds like nothing but horrible, painful, meaningless death.

How can anyone slaughter a beautiful, defenseless animal for no reason?  I am by no means convinced that every shotgun pellet that fulfills its purpose results in a meal for a human being who would otherwise go hungry.  And I'm not naive enough to believe that every bird killed winds up as meat on anyone's table.  How many of the shots taken are just for the hell of it, using living, breathing beings for target practice?  How many birds escape immediate death only to perish slowly and painfully from blood loss or infection?  How can anyone knowingly inflict that on another creature? 

These days, it's all the rage to exercise one's rights--most satisfyingly within close proximity to those that one can inconvenience or upset with the act.  Militant cyclists clog roads that they cannot navigate safely without monumentally interfering with automobile traffic--because they have the right.  Employers terminate workers for the minutest infractions, dashing hopes and impoverishing families--because they have the right.  Gun-lovers parade around in pubic bristling with weapons that frighten and intimidate people--because they have the right. 

In particular, conservative activists have taken up the banner of "gun rights" as some sort of protest against the "other side."  How lucky for them that they can publicly and flamboyantly exercise a "right" that by its very nature threatens those who choose NOT to exercise it, or to regulate the exercise of it!  What a feeling of power it must be, this ability to bully the "other side"...to wave a gun and watch people cringe, because you have the right. 

This "Y'all Queda" that has overrun the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, armed to the teeth, claiming "peaceful protest" while threatening death to anyone who would contest their right to unlawfully occupy federal land...  Every crack of gunfire that assaults my ears brings their images to my mind.  It makes me so angry.   I hate bullies.  Always have.   I just want to...make them go away.  Preferably in a non-violent manner, but that looks less likely with each passing day. 

And I wonder why the federal government sits by and lets these asshats get away with this bullshit.

I believe in Karma.  But sometimes, it just doesn't move fast enough. 

1 comment:

  1. 5 years ago, while out for an early morning walk in my very suburban neighborhood, I encountered a Texas tortoise: not a turtle, but a land animal. He was making his way toward the street, and I had no illusions that an SUV would spare him, so I picked him up and took him home and Googled him and learned that the tortoise is a male (long tail, concave stomach) and that really what he needed was a large area to roam around in, with no dogs (they try to pick them up in their mouths, and their teeth can pierce the shell). I have a large, fenced back yard, so I put him out there and he's lived there, thriving, for the past five years. For much of the year, he burrows, but every spring he appears and lumbers up to my patio and somehow (I know this sounds like I'm making it up but I swear it's true) he can get the patio door to vibrate so it gets my attention. Then I bring him leaf lettuce and blueberries or other fresh fruit, which he wolfs down. He can eat a mound of lettuce the size of his body, and then he poops all over the patio and it looks like I own a 20 pound dog. :) By July, he's usually burrowed in somewhere and I won't see him again until next year, but today we had a thunderstorm and to my surprise, I saw Mortise the Tortoise making his way rapidly across the back yard, looking for something: I don't know what. So I talked to him and picked him up and brought him to the patio and gave him dinner, which he wolfed down as usual. It's Saturday night in Dallas and I spent a happy 30 minutes watching a tortoise eat his unexpected dinner. I enjoyed that so much. I don't know how anyone can shoot an animal.