Keep Your Guns

I had the opportunity to meet with a dear cousin who I rarely see. During our conversation, she blurted out, “Don’t ask me to give up my guns”. For a very rare moment I was speechless. I hadn’t said a word about guns. I realized how much was riding on my next statement. I asked myself, “Do I want her guns? Did I really want her to give them up?” As I sat looking at her and her husband, knowing them to be kind, generous, “God fearing” people that I love, I had to understand, what is this great divide between us? Then I got it.

“I don’t want your guns, I am not asking you to give up your guns. I am asking for people who carry guns to consider a change in attitude.” A potential communication shut down was averted and the conversation continued.

“You know why I have guns? Because Muslims are coming.” Another rare moment of speechlessness. The fear was palpable. I thought of my Muslim friends, of their smiling faces and greetings of “Salam, Shalom”, of the kindnesses that we have shared… I count it as my good fortune to have these friends, and I asked, “Have you ever met a Muslim?”

Not surprisingly, she said, “No”.  And I said, “Maybe that would help.” And she said, “Yes”.

*Printed with my cousin’s permission.

Reason must rise above belief. Reach out, take time to understand, and create community with those around you. Allow the strength of our common humanity to outshine our differences. This will help eradicate the loss of spirit and mental strife that haunts many. No set of laws will change the course of violence without the exercised will of all of us. Let courage and clarity replace your fears. If we have allowed this hell, we can surely allow this heaven.

       With my friend, Sami Rasouli, Iraqi, American & Founder of the Muslim Peacemakers Teams

Grip of fear

Betrayer of humanity

Loosen your hold

So Life’s Breath can reclaim

What has been lost




One thought on “Keep Your Guns

  1. One day Valerie and I took a walk in our hood to the Camels; which we do from time to time. It’s about 2 miles round’ trip. They also have a Girafe or two and some water Buffalo. We were at the fenceline when a van pulled up and a couple and their three adoooorable kids came out. They were Iranian. The kids were soooooo sweet and happy(as homeschool kids usually are). The Father was very delightful, and the Mother with a dress litterally from head to toe looking from behind the berka(I think it’s called)had such shiney loving eyes. It covered her nose right up to the bottom of her eyes. She obviously appreciated our love for children and the eye to eye contact where we shared just a simple moment in time appreciating existence. She gave Valerie a big hug before they left. Nice folks !


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