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The Fog of Commerce: update on the Small Graces CD and a few random thoughts

Obviously, I got in over my head in offering those few remaining CD’s of Small Graces without capping the orders or otherwise establishing a system for determining who gets what when. But I’m scrambling, and I see a dim glimmer of light: it appears that I will be able to do a new pressing off the original, though the specifics are not yet clear. What is clear is that it will up the cost of the CD, delivered, to $30. If you are still interested, hang in there, and send me your name and I’ll put you on a list. Once I get more information I’ll post it here.

One thing I can say is that I listened to the CD today in the car, and I was stunned at how beautiful that little book really is. I had never given it much thought over the years. I’ve often dismissed it by saying, quite flippantly, that I set the bar low and cleared it admirably. But that’s not fair, and it’s not accurate. Small Graces has a spiritual gentleness and clarity to it that I had completely forgotten. It’s a book that observes the world through the heart, not through the mind, and truly illuminates the spiritual dimension of our everyday lives.

We are so emotionally cauterized by the jangling minutia and practicalities of life that we seldom step back to the place where Small Graces lives. It’s a place that we all have inside of us but can seldom articulate and manifest. I’m lucky to have caught it in the passing. It’s my best self — better in many ways that I reveal in my everyday life. But who among us does not have that secret self that sees the world with unprotected kindness but seldom speaks it out loud?

I’m glad to have rediscovered this book and to be able to pass it along. It feels fortuitous in these times of anger, cynicism, confusion, and, yes, fear. It was always meant as a gift book, but now I am seeing, for the first time, what a gift it really was. I’m excited to have it show its heart again.

Time to stop the march of the moral zombies

Ah, we’ve done it again. 19 this time. 19.

This time, once again, it’s children. Not shoppers, not Black churchgoers. But children in schools. Our national specialty. 17 in Parkland. 26 in Sandy Hook. Now 19 in Texas. And counting. This is our true American exceptionalism — we know how to kill children in schools.

Little children, full of hope, collecting their school papers, ready to run home and show them to their mothers. Teenagers, worried about boyfriends and girlfriends, planning for the football game, wondering about the prom. Teachers, working too hard for too little pay, going home exhausted but coming back the next day because they love their students and want to make a difference.

Killed by a gunman – or more accurately, a gun in the hands of a man — all of them — dying in terror, pleading for their lives, lying in pools of their own blood as it runs slowly together with the blood of the others, while we stand aside and offer “thoughts and prayers”.

And what of the children not killed in these mass shootings? What of the ones who are only splattered with blood and terror, and left scarred and fearful for the rest of their lives?

What do we know of what has truly happened to them?

We do not close our eyes and see the blood-soaked body of our little brother or our best friend. We do not see their face shot off or hear their sobbing or gurgling as the blood flows from their mouth or wound while they twitch on the floor gasping and moaning until they finally expire. We don’t wake in the night, screaming from the recurring nightmare of the killer’s return.

But the survivors do.

What shall we tell them as they struggle with sights they can’t unsee and wounds too deep to heal?

Should we tell them to focus on the good in people and try to put the horror behind them?

Should we ask them to join us while we hold candle light vigils and sing soft songs about peace? Or have them write their names and messages of condolence on rolls of butcher paper that we send to another school where children were slain?

Is this the best we can do while this disease of gun lust flows across the land?

Well, I for one am sick of this.

I’m sick of listening as people who wouldn’t know the Constitution from a phone book wrap themselves in the second amendment when they couldn’t tell me the first or the third of any of the other 26.

I’m sick of their fallacious and deranged arguments about how cars kill people so why don’t we ban cars? Or how obesity kills people, so why don’t we ban knives and forks?

I’m sick of hearing that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

I’m sick of it all.

Most of all I’m sick of the cowardly and craven politicians who refuse to raise a hand to stop this death and carnage.

Who are these people who once were our neighbors and friends? What happened to them? Did getting elected to office cause them to lose their souls? Is their job so important to them that they will give up all principles and human compassion so long as the child killed isn’t their own?

Somehow they have turned from friends and neighbors to moral zombies, because by their inaction from their positions of power they are setting the stage for the next twisted young man with too easy access to a gun to don a flack jacket and face paint and go off into a school or shopping center to shoot moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas and little children sitting at their desks

Even as you read this that person is out there. He’s cleaning his assault rifle and assembling his arsenal of hollow tipped bullets bought over the internet in preparation for the great moment when he will push open the door of the school or the shopping center or the church or the daycare center where your children are playing with dolls and toy trucks, and will open fire, intent upon redressing perceived grievances by killing as many people as he can. And your friend, or your colleague, or your child — or you — will die.

How long will you stand for this? How long will you wring your hands and tally body counts and shake your head and say, “What has become of us?”

It is time to call the moral zombies we have elected to office to account.

Make it simple. Look your politicians in the eye and ask, “Which is more important to you, gun rights or gun control?” If they say “gun rights” or prevaricate or blow a fog of evasive language in your direction, kick the dust from your feet and walk away.

By their inaction they are helping that next shooter load his gun. And the bullet that he is putting in the chamber already has a name on it. It may be your daughter’s. Or your grandchild’s.

Our only power is to take away their power. It’s time to vote these craven cowards out of office.