Sunday, July 22, 2012

One year later: impressions and reflections

Oslo is quiet today; there is an unusual stillness. I went for a long bike ride earlier and I could just feel the stillness. As though there is just an implicit understanding that today is a day for stillness and reflection, for remembering and honoring those men and women whose lives were so tragically lost last year in the senseless killings on 7/22.

Last year there was a sea of flowers in front of the Domkirke. There is talk in the newspapers that perhaps this will happen again this year, as people seem to be drawn to the church. It makes sense—that perhaps we seek to be present in places that offer comfort and understanding, and some kind of sense in the midst of all that doesn’t make sense. There will be a memorial concert later on tonight. I am not planning on attending, but many thousands of people are expected to participate. Perhaps I will watch it on TV.

The priest at mass this morning spoke about the importance of taking time in our daily lives to sit in silence and to reflect—to travel into ourselves as he put it—in order to be challenged by the questions that silence and reflection offer us. It makes sense to me. We cannot reflect on the things that happen around us and in our own lives, cannot deal with them adequately, without that solitude and reflection. Many people are afraid of solitude and time for reflection; such a needless fear. We learn to know ourselves that way, and that can only be a good thing.

How sad that only a few days ago, that Colorado experienced yet again a horrific shooting rampage in a movie theater, which killed and injured many people. How is it that this type of weaponry ends up in the hands of those who are hell-bent on destruction? What do gun-shop owners think when a young man comes in with a request for these types of automatic weapons? I’m just wondering. I am tired of hearing the often-repeated expression when these types of tragedies occur, that ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’. It’s not true. Guns purchased legally by people who have a hate agenda, do kill people, and the automatic rifles that these murderers use kill many people in a very short time. I have a problem understanding that these types of guns could at all be used to hunt animals. God help the animals, is all I can say. And God help us all if we continue to permit these guns to be sold legally. I know the argument goes that if such gun sales are made illegal, that young men like Anders Behring Breivik and James Holmes will get a hold of them anyway. But you know what, maybe they wouldn’t have--maybe they would have encountered many more obstacles along the way, and maybe the tragedies could have been prevented. I’m just wondering. And hoping for change to the guns laws.

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