Choosing life in a post-Newtown, CT shooting world

Photo credit: AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks

Photo credit: AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks

On Monday I was silent. I uttered hardly anything while my daughters were at school. Sophia and Zoe carried on as if nothing had changed. That is true for them. They know nothing of Sandy Hill Elementary. I brought their smiles, and their complaints into the very soul of me where God resides, and praised God for every breath that they take.

Necessity dictates that I break my pattern of publishing my Deeply Loved Advent blog hop series today. I’ll pick back up tomorrow.

Really, there is not much that I am able to say about the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hill Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday. It’s taking all that I have to be present and strong for my children, and abide in God. All of me feels heavy with grief, confusion, and the ubiquitous question, “Why?” As for talking to my girls, I’ve chosen to wait until they bring up the topic to discuss it.

English: Former Congressman and current televi...

English: Former Congressman and current television host on MSNBC Joe Scarborough during the 2008 Democratic National Convention (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joe Scarborough, of all people, inspired me to speak the clearest thought that is swimming in my foggy mind. I say “of all people” because I rarely listen to him. His politics and mine could not be farther apart from another. He defines himself as a “conservative Republican with Libertarian views towards both the First and Second Amendments” to the US Constitution. Suffice it to say that I do not define myself this way.

On his televised morning, Morning Joe, Mr. Scarborough took a step far away from his own political boundaries today. The former Congressman who “once held the highest rating” offered by the National Rifle Association for support of gun rights spoke out in favor of gun control. He said that last Friday’s shooting “made his former views on gun control irrelevant.” Click here to watch a video of Scarborough’s entire statement.

It was Mr. Scarborough’s closing remark that piqued my passion. He ended his media monologue by saying, “For the sake of my children and yours, I choose life, and I choose change.”

Choose life. More often than not, these two words are linked with the pro-life movement that protests loudly and lobbies strongly about legalized abortion in the US. When Mr. Scarborough said today that he chooses life, he was not talking about abortion. He was talking about the lives that can and will be saved with greater gun control in this country.

To choose life, I heard Mr. Scarborough say, is to choose stronger regulations on gun and ammunition purchases. To choose life is to ban assault and semi-automatic weapons. To choose life is to decrease the amount of violence too easily consumed by primarily youngsters in video games, films, and television shows. To choose life is to give greater support to people who suffer mental illness. To choose life is to better embrace people of all ages with developmental disorders into our relationships and communities.

I have written previously about the narrowly scoped definition of pro-life, and decried the focus as myopic. If ever there was a time to blast open not only said definition, but the pro-life conversation, it’s now.

Do we care more about innocent lives than we do about our personal entitlement to a “right?” Need we look further than the great nation of Japan to get it through our thick skulls that banning guns decreases (if not eliminates) gun-related deaths and violence?

Before pushing back on me with all the passion you can muster, consider that a former champion of gun rights has quite publicly changed his stance and called for an end to the status-quo in Washington. “It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogmas. It’s time for politicians to start focusing more on protecting our schoolyards than putting together their next fundraiser.”

Amen, Joe. Amen.

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