June is Gun Violence Awareness Month and one local group’s contribution to raising that awareness is a banner and sign campaign. The banner in front of First United Church of Oak Park reads: “Imagine a World Without Gun Violence.”

Which got me imagining:

A world without gun violence would be a world without fear of our kids and grandkids getting blown apart by an AR-15, the weapon of choice among mass murderers.

  • No more fantasizing what we’ll do if (more likely when) we find ourselves in an active-shooter situation.
  • No more feeling helpless and numb after hearing about the latest massacre and the horror of realizing we’re getting desensitized to these reports, that it’s becoming “normalized.”
  • No more wondering what it will take for voters to stop electing candidates who enthusiastically support easier access to these killing machines.
  • No more of our kids wondering if each day at school might be their last.
  • No more pathetically inadequate expressions of “thoughts and prayers” because public figures don’t believe anything can be done about the problem.
  • No more reporters lamely repeating the same tired line that “officials are still [still, STILL] trying to determine a motive for the shooting,” as if answering that question would stop mass killings, and instead of asking those “officials” what, if anything, they intend to do about this murderous free-for-all.
  • No more reporters faking empathy as they ask loved ones of the victims how they “feel,” instead of asking members of Congress how they “feel” about the latest massacre “considering your pro-gun-violence voting record,” or asking the relatives of victims how “angry” they feel about the fact that no one seems to be doing anything to stop the slaughter.
  • No more journalists pretending to be “objective” in reporting on the gun violence issue when there is no place for objectivity in the wake of dozens of school children being butchered by military-style assault weapons that are still, still, STILL legal and easy to acquire.
  • No more deadbeat electees raising alarms about “crime” but refusing to support universal background checks.
  • Nor more internalized rage in the face of all this ineffectuality.
  • No more families traumatized for life because they had to bury their first-graders and create shrines to their memory instead of being able to celebrate the normal happy milestones of living.
  • No more fretting about loved ones going to school or church or concerts or sporting events or parades because bullets could start flying.
  • No more seething over perpetrators who should have been identified (or were identified) as dangerous long in advance or who left a trail of their intentions across the wasteland of social media but no one was paying attention.
  • No more fury about people helping disturbed family members obtain weapons they never should have been allowed to get anywhere near.
  • No more living with outrage and something approaching hatred of those who hate, and those who profit from the casualties of that hatred, and those who support mass murderers by preventing legislation so they can amass campaign “war chests” with donations from the gun-violence industry just so they can stay in office and keep obstructing.
  • No more listening to twisted rationalizations about “protecting our freedoms” which amount to protecting the license to kill at the expense of the common good.
  • No more ludicrous claims of self-defense after someone shoots the innocent because of their racist paranoia.
  • No more children shooting themselves or their playmates because guns were left out carelessly at home.
  • No more discovering the grisly aftermath of a loved one’s suicide because a gun was available and accessible in the house.
  • No more guns stolen from vehicles that end up being used in crimes elsewhere.
  • No more fear of fellow citizens carrying concealed guns who might lose their temper over the petty frustrations of daily life.
  • No more feeling like we’re stuck in a nightmare Western where law and order exists only at the point of a gun.

In a world without gun violence, no more will the vast majority of us feel unsafe and unfree so that the heavily-armed vast minority can feel “safe” and “free” even though they don’t and never will no matter how many guns they own.

A world without gun violence would eliminate so much of this negative psychic energy, freeing us to live again in mutual trust, a world where our dark phantoms would dissipate, leaving room for greater fellowship, a world where we can reach out to those who have become so isolated that they start viewing mass murder as their only recourse.

A world without gun violence would be a statement of faith in the goodness of humanity and a statement against a dark, dangerous world where imagined predators lurk around every corner. It would relieve us of the darkness so pervasive in our films and our murderous video games and our vicious politics. It would shine light into the dark dungeons of our fearful psyches so we can breathe in the beauty of the world that has been all around us all this time.

What a wonderful world that would be.

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