Janis is a licensed professional counselor in Washington, DC. Areas of specialty include grief, loss, life transition, and trauma recovery.
Replace Violence With Love
Shootings Continue With No End in Sight
I'm sitting in my living room watching news coverage of the latest mass shooting at a mall in the United States. The city of El Paso, Texas now has the unfortunate notoriety of being home to the 249th mass shooting in 2019.
This poem article was originally published in 2014 after another mass shooting at a mall. I was prompted to express my reactions creatively. My poem I read today is eerily identical to the tragic circumstances and to my reactions to it. However, my emotions are more intense as I grapple with the fact that nothing has changed. At this rate, it is likely we will continue to witness more gun violence in our country unless action can be taken to eradicate this plague. I'll continue to hope that love is the answer.
Random Acts of Gun Violence: When Will the Bloodshed End
I've been lately moved to tears by the increasing number of violent acts in our communities, ending in the taking of precious lives. With each airing of a news story about a shooting, a massacre, an urban or global act of terrorism, or domestic incident involving family members, I cringe with grief.
I grieve along with many others, all over the world, who are affected by the sudden loss of a relative, a friend, or even a stranger, seen as a fellow human being.
I can no longer remain silent in my tears about these tragedies. So I express my feelings by writing about the atrocity of these random acts of violence involving guns. We call them "random" but even when they are provoked or premeditated, the results of those often fatal violent acts still have an element of randomness to each death that follows.
When horrific deaths happen in malls, workplaces, schools, churches, military facilities, nightclubs, concerts and private homes, it forever changes our perceptions of safety and routine. The unpredictability and unexpectedness of these incidents causes one to feel like a random target. It seems as though the violence can pounce and swoop in, taking any life, anywhere, and at any time, regardless of the setting. As the old saying goes, "You just never know."
Hands Locked in Love
Random Acts of Love: A Solution to Random Acts of Violence
The random killings of innocent people we hear about everyday prompted me to write the following poem. It is my attempt to dare dream of a way out of the daily reports of violent tragedies plaguing our society.
It will take a lot more than arguments about gun control to solve and address an epidemic which has its roots in broken emotional attachments, detached souls and spiritual bankruptcy. It will require a lot more than a psychological assessment which cannot measure or predict the impulsiveness of an angry person who acts without warning. It will take hard conversations with prevention as the goal, as we attend to the underlying issues that drive some people to devalue life.
If only the solution to random acts of violence involved random acts of love. Maybe then, the constant breaking news reports that continue to assault our souls almost daily will begin to decrease.
A Poem to Stop Random Violence
"Random Violence, Random Love" (JLE)
Unbridled anger flowing through the hand of a shooter
Unhappy with his life, takes another
Shattering the assumptions of safety for all
As they shop in a popular mall
A random act of violence
Using a gun as the culprit
Added to the flurry of pointless acts
Having caused the innocent to run in pacts
When will it end, this sudden violence
Hitting families like a heavy rain filled with tears
Losing loved ones, much too soon
Snuffed out lives, gone before noon
Where is the love, any to spare?
Only love can heal this atmosphere
Just to lock eyes, extend a hand
Embrace someone and shake a hand
Offer at random, some love today
Smile at a stranger who comes your way
Perhaps we'll find the common sense solution
As random acts of love are set in motion
Open your heart to receive a random act of love
To ease the pain and soften the haunting anger
Let agape love wrap around you like a warm blanket of peace
And make the random acts of violence cease.
Celebrate Kindness and Love by Giving of Yourself
Take some time to commit a random act of love or a random act of kindness by celebrating "Random Acts of Kindness" during the month of February. Try to make it a habit beyond February to smile, extend a helping hand, take a few minutes to listen, or offer a hug to someone in need of support.
Organize a youth group, church organization, or group of neighbors to go out into your community and commit random acts of kindness and love. Check out the video below and see if it inspires you to put your giving spirit in action.
Make a Difference
Random Acts of Violence: Solutions
© 2014 Janis Leslie Evans