The news flashed across my phone’s screen a few hours ago. 14 children and a teacher were killed in a Texas elementary school.
What? Wasn’t it just 10 days ago that 10 African Americans were killed at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York?
Yes. And still it happened again. And it will keep happening.
Voices in support of the right to bear arms will roar in defense of their freedoms.
Voices in favor of gun control will rise too, with equal conviction.
And then the shootings will die down for a few weeks, only to start again.
It will happen anywhere. There’s no one state, city or town that is immune to it.
No age, sex or race that will be spared.
And so America, our dear nation, will bleed and keep bleeding. Senselessly.
Gun control would help and civil liberties are essential. But there’s something more basic at stake here.
The fragility of our egos. And how we are choosing to hide behind guns.
To address this we must learn to speak in the language of emotions.
Why are we so scared of each other?
Why can’t we pause when we have differences and attempt to dialogue?
What are we missing in our emotional learning that makes us so likely to feel threatened?
Why does discourse on critical issues quickly move to hostile remarks?
Something is festering in us and it has to do with the fragility of our egos.
We mustn’t ignore it because we are bleeding.
Hiding behind guns doesn’t help.
All lives are precious. Our problems on this earth are daunting. We need everybody’s contributions.
And so we must get to work on using the language of emotions.
We should be willing to speak of our fears, our anger, our envy, for they are with us every single day of our lives. We should be able to speak of those emotions without shame.
As we grow more comfortable with acknowledging our feelings we will become less paranoid, more confident and personally secure, more willing to listen to each other, perchance to understand and, soon enough, may not be so quick to hide behind guns.
It will take some time – maybe decades – but we have to get started. It is a matter of national urgency.
Immersing ourselves in the language of emotions is essential to our future wellbeing.
I will send this letter to president Biden in the hope it may spark some initiative, if it is not already afoot.
Ultimately, though, it is up to each and every one of us to make the effort.
Help stop the bleeding. Speak of your emotions. Let us strive to not hide behind guns.
Oscar Valdes is the author of Letters to a Shooter. Available in my website and on youtube.
Oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts.