Being Vegan – Can We Make Any Sense Out of a Senseless Act?
By Paul Graham
Las Vegas Informer
Horrible….senseless…unimaginable…there are many words to describe the lives that were lost this past Friday in Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers go out to grieving families in that community and the larger family of humanity that was touched by this awful news that even today is so difficult to grasp. What some have labeled as the personification of evil in our land others see as the act of a mentally ill young man. Perhaps the line is somewhat blurred between the two. The fact is that a senseless tragedy has taken place and what can we do now to heal the hurting and take something so horrific and lead us to take some positive action to prevent these kinds of things from happening in any community ever again.
It would be too easy to just throw this all into the fire of the on-going gun control debate. I am no expert on these types of things. I have never owned a gun and I doubt know if I ever will. I do, though, support our right as American citizens to bear arms. But we do have a problem here. I have been reading up a lot on this lately and the number of guns owned legally or in the possession of people in this country is dis-proportionate to the rest of the world. The deaths as a result of guns is also so much higher than anywhere else in the world. I realize that most of these acts are committed by criminals, troubled, or angry individuals who find this has some sort of a twisted solution in the heat of a moment. The numbers show that we are obsessed by guns in this country and we continue to pay a price for it. Other countries seem to have a better handle on this than we do and we need to learn from their example and perhaps adopt laws and regulations that will not hurt those that have earned this right but keep them out of the hands of some who have no ability to bear the responsibility of having one in their possession.
It is not simply a gun problem…it is a human problem. The guns do not pull their own triggers…it takes people to do that. We live in a society that allows, accepts and even glorifies violence on television, in the movies and even video games. We can watch something on a screen and somehow justify it as being okay but when it happens in real life we cannot believe that it is happening. If we allow it on one level it will eventually find its way to another. And sometimes that level hits way too close to home. What do we expect to be the outgrowth of all of this? The problem is that we do not value life the way we should. If we did we would not watch some of the things we do and support some of the things we do with our time and money. We need to value all life…humans and animals alike…and come to the place that acts of violence in any form against them is unacceptable. Great hearts and minds have told us throughout history that we cannot have peace with men if we continue to wage war against the animal kingdom. Gandhi said that we can judge a country by how it treats its animals. We are a country that is part of a worldwide system that commits violent acts against tens of billions of animals each year and so many still eat that death and violence every day. Change needs to begin at this level of thought and action.
We are morally and spiritually adrift in so many ways as a society and we need to get better as humans. We need to become a more loving, understanding and caring society. We need to build bridges and not walls. We need to be concerned with violence against innocents wherever they are. Whatever our problems are as adults we should never take it out on others, especially children. We need to grieve as well for the children lying in the streets in other countries as a result of bomb blasts or any other reason. We need to care more and we need to do more. I know that we need to have faith that things can change, but faith without works is of little value. I will not give up my faith in humanity….to give that up is to literally give up…we see the actions of some to the forefront around us…it brings sadness and hurt…but all the more it is time for those with gentle and compassionate hearts to work diligently to help awaken the sleeping masses. We can sit and rail against all that is wrong or we can work even harder and smarter to build positive bridges and usher in a new age. I commit the rest of my life to doing just this.
Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer. He has a daily vegan food blog www.eatingveganinvegas.tumblr.com which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas. He can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/EatingVeganinVegas.