By Katherine Rountree
Categorizing objects is something we need to do to understand our environment. This is a shoe and this is a jacket, and now we know more about what to do with each. This is an edible plant, this is a poisonous snake, and now we can be safer.
Categorizing people can lead to racism and exclusion, but there is another danger to this practice. If we believe that WE are right, and THEY are the ones who are wrong, we will ignore the fact that some of US can create a danger to US. In dealing with gun violence we can’t think that the other guy is responsible for all of our communities’ gun problems. It may not be THEM that are creating serious problems, it could be US, or as Walt Kelly pointed out in a Pogo cartoon from 1971,
“We have met the enemy and he is us.”
By categorizing people who are responsible for gun violence we may not be looking at our families, our friends, or our neighbors. No one is immune to issues concerning guns violence. We have seen mass shootings in Connecticut, Colorado, and here in Arizona making national news. In each case the shooter was someone’s son, from a family that was remarkably normal, a family much like ours.
Suicide is a tragedy that doesn’t only happens to those people. Domestic violence is not limited to families from other people’s neighborhoods. Gun violence is not walled off in far away communities. We should not become fearful, but we should become aware.
It is time for us, as United Methodists, to begin a dialogue of discovery into what we can do to bring down the number of deaths and injuries related to guns. Our children are being taught in school,
“See something, say something.”
This is much easier to do if we don’t harbor the idea that gun violence is a problem for those other people. Our Desert Southwest Gun Violence Awareness team will continue presenting information about Gun Violence. Please remember, the articles are not about THEM. We need to be aware for the sake of US all.
Editor’s Note: This article was written prior to the Orlando shooting.