A DISCUSSION ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IV: “FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS”
For Whom The Bell Tolls (No Man Is An Island),
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod(*) be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory(*) were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
A poem by, John Donne(1)
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America, here is a list of the “Deadliest U.S. Shootings”(3):
Sept. 6, 1949: Camden, N.J.; 13 dead
Aug. 1, 1966: University of Texas at Austin; 16 dead + shooter
July 18, 1984: McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif.; 21 dead + shooter
Aug. 20, 1986: Post office in Edmond, Okla.; 14 dead + shooter
Oct. 16, 1991: Luby’s Cafeteria, in Killeen, Tex.; 23 dead + shooter
April 20, 1999: Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.; 13 dead + 2 shooters
April 16, 2007: Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg; 32 dead + shooter
April 3, 2009: Immigration services center in Binghamton, N.Y.; 13 dead + shooter
Nov. 5, 2009: Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas; 13 dead
July 20, 2012: Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo.; 12 dead
Dec. 14, 2012: Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Ct.; 26 dead + shooter
“The Bell” has tolled for all of them. Did you hear it?
America, just this year we’ve had(4):
February 22: Su Jung Health Sauna in Norcross, GA; 4 dead + shooter
February 27: Chardon High School in Chardon, OH; 3 dead, 3 wounded
March 6: Tulsa Courthouse in Tulsa, OK; 3 wounded, shooter wounded
March 8: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA; 1 dead + shooter, 7 wounded
April 2: Oikos University in Oakland, CA; 7 dead, 3 injured
May 30: Cafe Racer in Seattle,WA; 4 dead + shooter, 1 wounded
June 9: Auburn University pool party in Auburn, AL; 3 dead, 3 injured
July 17: Copper Top bar in Tuscaloosa, AL; 18 injured or wounded
August 5: Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, WI; 6 dead + shooter
October 21: Azana Day Spa in Brookfield, WI; 3 dead + shooter, 4 injured
December 11: Clackamas Town Center in Clackamas, OR; 2 dead + shooter
Did you hear “The Bell” then? Can you hear it now?
Then there is this, America:
(6/11/12) Chicago Shootings: 8 Killed, At Least 46 Wounded By Gun Violence Over Warm Weekend http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/11/chicago-shootings-8-dead-_n_1586322.html
(6/24/12) 4 Dead, 31 Wounded In Shootings This Weekend http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/06/24/3-dead-24-wounded-in-shootings-this-weekend/
(12/3/12) Chicago Shootings: 8 Killed, At Least 30 Wounded In Weekend Violence http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/03/chicago-shootings-8-kille_n_2232075.html
“The Bell” is tolling for them, also. Are you listening?
How about the anguished cries of those left. A Dad. A Mom. Sisters and Brothers. Family and Friends. Do you hear them, America?
How do we stop this insanity? When will it end? Is all we have to offer the dead, our thoughts and prayers? Is all we have to offer the survivors and their family and friends, our deepest sympathy’s and support? America, I believe that we are so much better than this. We can not, we must not, allow this to become the new standard, for living here. It doesn’t matter where you stand on 2nd Amendment Rights, this cannot be acceptable. There is no reason or rationale that makes this sane.
As for the perpetrators, how have they become so isolated? So disconnected as to think that it is they alone that matter, nothing or nobody else? It’s all about them, not the victims, not the survivors, not their families and friends? The poem begins with “no man is an island, entirely of itself.” They have to be made to understand, we have to understand, that they are we and we are they. Not as an eye or an arm that, once ill, can be excised and discarded, but as a genetically joined part of the whole that must be made well or the whole will perish. We must fix us to ultimately fix them.
There is no shame in admitting that this situation is evolving beyond our ability to manage. The shame is vainly allowing it to continue in spite of what it is doing to our culture, to our society. It is argued that guns are not the problem, but if that is so, then that only leaves us. If we are the problem and we have easy access to guns then they [the guns] become the manifestation of our problems. Guns become the easy way out. But there is a finality about there use. Guns are made to kill! Those who manage to survive them are fortunate, lucky, blessed, whatever you want to call it, but if you are shot by a gun, you are supposed to die. Life is not a video game that you can reset or reboot.
While researching this post I came across a study on Ernest Hemingway’s book “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” The question was asked, “What does the novel’s title mean? For whom does the bell toll? What bell?” Here is how it was answered:
“The phrase “for whom the bell tolls” comes from a short essay by the seventeenth-century British poet and religious writer John Donne. Hemingway excerpts a portion of the essay in the epigraph to his novel. In’Donne’s essay, “For whom does the bell toll?” is the imaginary question of a man who hears a funeral bell and asks about the person who has died. Donne’s answer to this question is that, because none of us stands alone in the world, each human death affects all of us. Every funeral bell, therefore, “tolls for thee.”(2)
The problem is that from perpetrators to victims, from survivors to spectators, when we look around what we see is “Them.” That “Them,” though, is “Us.” The “Thee” from the prose is “We,” as in “We the People of the United States.” From our leaders to our everyday citizens we must stop the divisive rhetoric. Dr. Drew Pinsky speaking to Wolf Blitzer on Friday stated, “It is time for our government and our culture to act like a healthy family. Divisiveness is starting to have it’s effect among the most vulnerable amongst us, and it is time to stop. We have to lead our way out of this, and we need our leaders to behave in a healthy manor.
I agree with Dr. Drew, and I would like to add that, we need leadership on all levels. This is not just a problem for our President or our legislators. We need leaders on all levels to step up and lead. Governors, Mayors, School Administrators. Fathers, Mothers, Aunts and Uncles, we all have a responsibility to take ownership of this problem and deal with it. Gun control may help, but “self-control” is the ultimate answer. In lieu of that control of self, action to reduce or eliminate the easy access to guns is our only remaining hope.
As for all of those defenders of 2nd Amendment Rights who blindly serve the interest of the NRA over their own and those of our nation, well, they should be forced to “toll the bell,” one peel each for each person that dies as a result of their commitment. Perhaps if they can’t see what their intransigence brings about, then they can hear it up close and personal.
Hear it and know, that, “The Bell Tolls For Thee!”
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These famous words by John Donne were not originally written as a poem – the passage is taken from the 1624 Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions and is prose. The words of the original passage are as follows(2):
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
“No man is an iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friendsor of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee….”
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Please visit and support “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” http://www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org/html/home/home.shtml
(*)DEFINITIONS (Bing Dictionary):
Clod (n); lump of earth: a large lump of soil
Promontory (n); projecting point of land: a point of land that juts out into the sea
- For whom the bell tolls (wed-gie.com)
- Two-Minute Tune-Up 11.3.12 For Whom the Bell Tolls (pamboyd.wordpress.com)
- UVa Secret Society Makes Statement on Community Relations (newsplex.com)
- A Prayer for Newtown (mymorningmeditations.com)
- The Gift of Connection & Community (adventuresinthanksliving.com)
- Connecticut Shooting: History Of US Massacres (news.sky.com)
- How Will NRA Explain Away Gun Shooting At Elementary School In Newtown, Connecticut? (dekerivers.wordpress.com)
- It Is Past Time to Take on the Nra (lookingatthingsthrumyeyes.wordpress.com)
- The Past Year in Mass Shootings in the United States: A Timeline (slog.thestranger.com)