Americans have no idea what to do about terrorism or gun violence.  Following the shooting Sunday in a small church in a small Texas town that killed at last count 26 people, the White House response is reflected in this TIME magazine story:

“Even before Sunday’s shooting at a small Baptist church in Texas, the Trump Administration was moving ahead with efforts to train houses of worship on emergency security procedures, including active shooter situations.

Now, an Administration official says he’ll be working even harder to train religious leaders on how to secure their members and property.”

Houses of worship are supposed to be open, welcoming places.  Throughout western history a church has been a safe place, and public mores – not guns - have kept the interior safe.  In Christian churches Sanctuary became both the name of the room for worship, and a place of refuge.

Is the answer to church shootings, classes on “stop and frisk” of visitors?  Is it the job of deacons to be the first line of defense?  How far do we want to take this?  How far do we have to take this?

Will churches replace the bells in their steeples with a man with a gun?

Scene from “Saving Private Ryan”

What will stop anyone from driving a truck loaded with explosives through the side of a church or synagogue or mosque while the person in the steeple is watching the front?

This approach is just so much more divisiveness. 

We were given the myth as children that America is a melting pot.  It is not.  The ones who perpetuated that myth saw the final result of the melting to be a country that espoused all of the beliefs of white, European Christians.  That makes no sense.  If we mixed the genes of everyone in America now, the result would not be a country of people who looked like Kate Blanchett.  The result would look more like Esmeralda Spalding or Anita Keyes. We are more like a hearty stew.

What we should be doing is reaching out to each other; not only in expressions of sympathy and through prayers, but also by inviting each other over for cards and whatever won’t offend the other in the way of refreshments.  People who travel a lot – unless they are wealthy and stay in enclaves that look like America – learn that we are not that different from each other. 

In every neighborhood there is likely to be a person or family that you don’t like, not because they don’t look like you, but because they have values that you don’t like.  The same will be true if the neighbors don’t look like you, and you will find that most of these strangers you do like.

Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) in Gran Torino

Everyone needs to have an experience like Walt Kowalski in Gran Torino, where one day he found that the neighborhood had changed and he was surrounded by “other”.  Much to Walt’s grudging surprise he saw in these short, yellow, Hmong people things he liked.

Charter schools and gated communities foster divisiveness.  Do we really want gated houses of worship?  Are we going to have to go through a checkpoint where guards with guns check everyone’s papers to find out whether they are a card carrying member of their particular belief system, and search the car trunk just to go to prayer?

That would be the solution for some fearful people.  It’s the wrong solution.  A better solution would be to go with someone to their house of worship, particularly one whose means of worship is nothing like your own, or a church like your own whose members don’t look like you.  And, then, listen for the things that unife instead of the things that divide.

 

Views: 169

Comment by marshall bjohnson on November 6, 2017 at 6:27am

obama failed to take real, decisive action- he was content to be our mourner in chief giving speeches...the 1% are of course always exceptional and don't have to be concerned with the lives of most ordinary people.

but the real problem is the other 20% that aspires to live like the 1%. they create the disparity in wealth, they perpetuate the differences - blue eyes? brown eyes? remember that 60 minutes show on racism?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHxFuO2Nk-0

you may have heard of the southern writer flannery o'connor- she has a great intuition and understanding of southern life, of white culture...everything that rises must converge - one of her great short stories- speaks to our divide...our separate but equal culture...confederate monuments aplenty while we have holocaust museums...

obama is an ox on the chinese zodiac- his motto is 'i will' but it was never 'we will' and he never admitted he was wrong- perhaps time will aid him to see his faults...when he wrote that rural/small towns will cling to their guns and religion- he got it wrong. he divided ad conquered just like every other politician.

americans are spiritually bankrupt. looking for the answers in all the wrong places. and obama lacked vision to how we can heal.  the only way to heal is through spiritual means.

all other attempts- humanism, social science, politics, education, gov't and individual heroism fail.

they fail because they are all inherently spiritually bankrupt. like every mass murderer.

these killers are us. and until we see them as us.

we are lost.

Comment by Arthur James on November 6, 2017 at 6:40am

`
SNIPER SNOOPS ARE SCARY.
THEY EVIL AND NIBBLE OLD
BOO-BERRY PIE CRUST AND
LIVE A LOST SOUL LIFE...
PERDITION.
DISCERN OUR SALON? OUR
FELLOW MOTALS WHO ALL
CROAK AS IF BULL FROG
IN SEWER TRUMP'S ILLP
EVIL SWAMP OF WOE TOO.
IT GOOD DAY TO VISUT
FROG AND TADPOLE POND.
GET OUR STUFF FIXED,
LOOK WITHIN,,,
NICE POST
`~`~
`
VIEW YOU-TUBES AND
NO GET FLUSH? NO
BE FUZZY AND GET
FLUSHED DOWN A
TOILET COMMODE,
`GADS`~~'`OY!
``~`

Comment by Arthur James on November 6, 2017 at 6:59am

1

thanks Our Salon for not being

a SQUARE SNNOOPER WHO OOPS

SNIPES... 

marhall b.

those You Tube

comments? woe

&

wow...

off-line read

and ponder.

We learn at

Open Salon.

`~`

`?`

`

Comment by Rodney Roe on November 6, 2017 at 8:05am

these killers are us. and until we see them as us.

we are lost."


It is looking like this was a family violence matter, but that still holds.  Even the nutjobs are us.  We do need to screen applicants to the military better instead of waiting until they have shown themselves to be unfit - after we have taught them to be killers - and then giving them a general discharge.

Comment by Tom Cordle on November 6, 2017 at 8:34am

When I lived in Orlando, my next-door neighbor complained to me about the neighborhood being over-run by spics. He was married to a Latina. Let's just say irony was not his strong suit.

Comment by Tom Cordle on November 6, 2017 at 8:36am

Oh, and I'm still waiting for Pat Robertson to tell the world that these mass shootings by angry white men are God's way of telling us to get rid of guns. Methinks it will be a long wait.

Comment by J.P. Hart on November 6, 2017 at 8:50am

Student just skyped me from Antietam with her very best Valley Girl improviso going, " twin play for Rodney Roe, jim: The Seeker's 'Another You' & Curtis Mayfield's 'It's Alright' . . ."

Comment by koshersalaami on November 6, 2017 at 8:59am

My Temple in North Carolina always has a guard. My Temple in New York is always locked and needs a code for entrance. In NC on High Holy Days, when Temple is most crowded, you need a form of ID to park and there is a police presence at both parking lot entrances. This isn't new to us because we get that some nutcase will want to target a bunch of Jews. 

When the mass shooting happened at Virginia Tech, universities started working on emergency plans. We had a couple of violent events and we started making plans, just like anyone would, including our entire airline industry. In all these cases, if nothing else we have a deterrent. 

But here's the truth: Even after this Texas event, your odds of being safe in an American church are still overwhelming. How many millions of Americans go to church? How many are killed in a year? How many churchgoers are killed in traffic accidents to and from church per year? How many die of heart attacks during services per year? 

Twrrorism grabs headlines whether or not it is statistically significant. A bomb goes off on a bus in Israel and Americans cancel their travel plans, but the crime rate there is so much lower that they're still safer there than here. 

If we do absolutely nothing, very little will change. Church shootings aren't exactly a significant trend. But some churchgoers will now carry concealed. It will make them feel better. It probably won't end up endangering anyone, God willing. 

Laws about magazine size would probably help. In the meantime, the security industry will make more money. 

Comment by Arthur James on November 6, 2017 at 10:30am

`
KOSH?
WHY SQUARE
BACK?
CC OFF
FOR
DC
ANALYSIS
& I BET
SAFE BET'S
AMY BE SO
JUSTIFIED
&
PISSED
`~;~
!`` AYE
AMEN
ALLELUA
AH!
`~`
~!`
YUP
`.`
`

Comment by Rodney Roe on November 6, 2017 at 1:18pm

"If we do absolutely nothing, very little will change."

Exactly.  Meanwhile, a great deal of effort, money, and hot air will be expended in an effort to make us 0.00001% safer.  

Some groups are bigger targets.  Mosques and Temples are more likely to be the target of hate crimes, than mainstream white Christian churches, but the fact is that most members of any of these places of worship will never be threatened except in a nebulous way.

A few years back a Unitarian/universalist church in Knoxville, TN was shot up.  U/Us are different.

Some time back a member of one congregation began bringing a gun to fellowship and then quit because there were gay members and he was not so much bothered by worshiping with them as the fact that he felt like a greater target from some nutcase.  When people take those actions purveyors of hate have won.

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