The Broken-Hearted People of the World Agree

“There is a field out beyond right doing and wrong doing,

I’ll meet you there.”



There’s been a lot of debating, especially on Facebook, but then twenty-seven or forty-eight or ninety-two heated comments later, someone trips over the fact that we essentially agree.

I’ve seen it happen again and again–minds so tattered from the brutal slaying of innocents allowing HEARTS to speak louder.

First we are insulted or offended or threatened. Then we are furious or obnoxious or despairing.  But with each reminder of the devastating loss in Connecticut, we re-evaluate… we attend our child’s holiday concert, we wrap her presents, we tuck him into bed–and with our joy comes the bitter sting of “their” devastating loss.

One Facebook friend stormed against the focus on guns in favor of prayer and the banning of video games, and then suggested this: Let’s see where we agree. I definitely think guns should be regulated and that assault weapons should be illegal and not even manufactured.

Another friend vigorously defended the need for guns as a means of protection, but eventually said: I’m confident that Vice President Biden will do what needs to be done. I would be thrilled if this administration banned all automatic assault style rifles. I also support ammunition limits. I think in the end we’ll all move forward with changes everyone can agree on.

Even a young man, claiming the need for arms against a potential dictatorship, relinquished his absolutism in the face of the  Sandy Hook massacre, with: I whole heartily agree with some of the anti-gun arguments.

His friend, a Marine, did his own bit of surrender: I have learned a lot in the last 24 hours on Facebook. It certainly was not my intention to take our conversation this far, and I honestly had no idea so many people would be involved. I do appreciate that everyone respected each other and their opinions and had a civil conversation. Although my feelings remain the same,  I am beginning to see others’ views. In the end we all want the SAME thing for ourselves, our families and our children who have their whole lives ahead of them.

I think the mystic poet Rumi had it right when he suggested that we meet out beyond the field of right doing and wrong doing. It’s the children of Newtown who have led us there.

Kelly Salasin, December 2012

See also: The Courage to Change–a child’s response to the Sandy Hook massacre

And here is some of the best writing I’ve found this week in response to Newtown:

Going Home (author returns to Newtown for Christmas)

In Gun Debate, a Misguided Focus on Mental Illness

The Newtown Shooting and Why We Must Redefine Masculinity

No More Newtowns: What Will It Take?

Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?

The solution to gun violence is clear

Tools of an ugly trade (a S.W.A.T. officers addresses assault weapons)

Six things I don’t want to hear after the Sandy Hook massacre

God can’t be kept out (a woman of faith takes on religious extremists)

a majority of cowards (a sobering, thought-provoking read)

Envisioning a Healed World (the world is an echo of wounds)

Looking for America

Why America Lets the Killings Continue

Our Dissociative Relationship With Gun Violence

One Million Moms for Gun Control

“Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice

when He could do something about it.

But I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.”

– Anonymous


13 responses to “The Broken-Hearted People of the World Agree”

  1. JD Blom Avatar
    JD Blom

    I’ve seen the same thing; the solutions that are discussed the most all seem inadequate when people proposing them are pressed. I think that the majority of us feel this sense of hopelessness because we realize that the problem is not in laws, regulations, or mental health funding but in the condition of the human heart. All solutions will fall short if they don’t address the fundamental problem.


    1. kellysalasin Avatar

      JD, don’t you think “falling short” of 20 six-year olds slaughtered is worth falling for…


      1. JD Blom Avatar
        JD Blom

        I am all in favor of doing whatever is within our means to increase our safety, particularly of our kids. It appears to me that there tends to be an immediate response to the emotion of a tragedy to appease the general insecurity that is felt. The government can pursue gun control to the level that currently exists in China but that will not keep these sorts of tragedies from happening. On the same day as the CT school killings, a man stabbed 22 children in China with a knife. My point is that the gun used in CT did not kill those people nor did the knife in China. It was the deranged men that did it; any effective solution must address the person behind the weapon.
        I think falling short is not worth it precisely because there are children at risk. They are worth finding a solution that will actually work because their life and all life is precious. I think we owe it to them not to be lulled into a false complacency by solutions that have already failed.


      2. kellysalasin Avatar

        “On the same day as the CT school killings, a man stabbed 22 children in China with a knife. My point is that the gun used in CT did not kill those people nor did the knife in China”

        You missed a crucial distinction in your own information. What happened in the United States last Friday morning and what happened in China are distinctly different: The kids in Connecticut are in coffins. The kids in China are in the hospital.

        As a parent, which would you choose?

        I don’t think we disagree. I am a parent, an educator and yoga instructor. I know the complexities of human behavior and community. Of course there is more to address than guns, but to argue about beginning there, is inhumane. Just compare our gun deaths to the other developed nations in the world. Mental illness, violence and such exist everywhere, it is the availability of weapons to kill that makes the difference.


      3. JD Blom Avatar
        JD Blom

        I don’t choose either. It is an extraordinarily messed up world where we have to accept being stabbed as the preferable alternative. I choose neither for myself or my kids.

        We may have to agree to disagree on your assertion that it is the availability of weapons to kill that makes the difference. Timothy McVeigh killed many more people with fertilizer, diesel fuel, and a truck. Sarin gas was used in the Japanese subways. Machetes were used in Rwanda.

        I respect your opinion that increased gun regulations may have kept a gun out of Adam Lazana’s hand and he would have never killed anyone or fewer. I would readily agree to complete gun control if I thought that would happen. I don’t share that opinion. I believe he would have done the same thing with a different method that may have resulted in less or more deaths. We will never know.

        I can appreciate that some will feel safer with no guns out there. I would not. I live in a rural community that has police response of between 10-30 minutes depending on the location of the officers within the county. The removal of my guns that enable me to defend myself will not make me feel safer. It will make me feel much more vulnerable. There are many less publicized events where a citizen with a gun has been able to stop people with ill intent.

        I have no problem with the removal of the availability of guns from the criminal and mentally ill. Those regulations are actually in place. The problem with most gun control proposals is that they remove the availability of guns to everyone. In my opinion, the result of those proposal will be only those who intend on committing a crime will possess them.

        That does not make me feel safer.


      4. kellysalasin Avatar

        Well, of course, no parent wants his child shot or stabbed, but you’re ignoring the reality of gun violence in this country–COMPARED to other countries. No one is talking about getting rid of all guns, and if they are, that’s unrealistic. I too live in a rural area without access to immediate response. But if it’s protection you’re talking, you’ll want to look at the stats at how a gun in the home actually increases your risk for homicide and suicide. In fact, in my rural area I can tell you that I don’t know a single person who has used a gun for protection, but I know youth who have taken their lives, fatherS who have died in hunting accidents, and even a community member who shot & killed his boss last year. Statistically guns do not make us safer.


      5. JD Blom Avatar
        JD Blom

        I don’t believe that I am ignoring the reality of gun violence in this country. I thought the discussion was regarding the prevention of future mass killings in particular not gun violence in general.

        If banning all guns is not realistic, than what are you proposing that will be both realistic and effective?


    2. kellysalasin Avatar

      Focusing on where we’ll fall short instead of what we can do right now makes us culpable each time an act of violence occurs that could have been prevented by a different attitude around gun availability. Guns are the obvious place to start. The world shakes its head in disbelief that we are missing this. I’m all for addressing the root of violence too, but we cannot use that as an excuse not to act NOW around guns.


      1. JD Blom Avatar
        JD Blom

        I just think that we need action that will actually have an effect; not simply make us feel better. I have yet to hear a gun control proposal that convinces me that it will actually be effective. That is all I am trying to communicate. We can ban assault rifles; we can have make gun registrations more restrictive; we can require waiting periods. In my opinion, all of those are actions to make people feel more secure but will not actually be effective in stop a shooting like the one in Conn. If it would, then I would support it 100%.
        I still don’t know what you are proposing should be done. You may have a plan that will be effective that I can support.


    3. kellysalasin Avatar

      If you don’t mind, the rest of us aren’t going to tell our children “Wait, while we figure out the human heart.” Inadequate solutions are better than none at all; and they’re a place to begin building a respectable response.


  2. themisanthropicmuse Avatar

    I’ve seen a lot of the opposite though. Some are even claiming this to have been plotted by the government in order to take their constitutional right to bear arms away. It’s sad that there are so many people that aren’t willing to budge an inch on the issue, no matter what.


    1. Sam Avatar

      No one is willing to budge because of history. If you look at history we have given and given and given. No change. It is not the guns but the people and so long as we keep pointing fingers at an object that can’t act on its own we will get nowhere. Firearm owners refuse to give any further because we are already the last stand. If you do not like it there are numerous socialist or communist countries you are more than likely to be welcomed in. Go there if you value that lifestyle so much.


      1. kellysalasin Avatar

        You must not be paying attention Sam. There’s lots of people “budging” …from of a sense of shame, responsibility or just plain common sense.
        It’s not a lifestyle these gun owning people “value,” it’s a life, particularly a child’s. Get on board. Or at least let them know that the price they’ll pay for your ignorance is their life.


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