We must join together

This is not the column I originally wrote for this week. This is not the column I sent on Saturday to Matthew, my editor. This is not that column.

That column was filled with anger, filled with vitriol – anger at guns, anger at Congress, anger at the congressmen and congresswomen whom Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe calls “the paid prostitutes of the NRA.”

This is not that column.

But that column would have stood, would have run, would have sent my anger to you, to do with as you would, to ignore, to share, to reject.

This is not that column.

And that is because, less than 24 hours after I sent that column to Matthew, I fell again into a sense of peace that I have found in the water, but not the lap pool at Hampshire Hills where, rather than a sense of peace, I have a sense of challenge. No, this was in the family pool where Kim leads a class in Ai Chi.

And out of that class came the knowledge that the column I sent to Matthew on Saturday was of no value, perhaps even counterproductive.

What was I railing against? Guns? Certainly. Congress? Certainly. The hypocrite in the White House? Certainly. The charlatans and money grubbers of the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors? Certainly. Their job is to frighten us enough so that we will buy more guns, frighten us with lies about confiscation and. … But no. There is that anger again.


Today, I take Kim’s lesson of peace and love and friendship and value and use it to help me accept the fact that I am powerless to change things that I think desperately want changing. You are powerless. Even Kim, who I think believes that peace and love can change anything, is powerless.

The Serenity Prayer tells us, “God, grant me the grace to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Well, I can’t change the gun culture. I can’t give Congress courage or heart or a brain.

I am powerless.

We are all powerless.

As long as we stand alone.

But as Phil Ochs wrote in “That’s What I Want To Hear: If you’re looking for an answer, he’s standing there by your side. And you’ll never really know how far you can go until you join together and try.”

On WGBH radio last week, a caller to the Eagan and Braudie show suggested “a million-child march on Washington” to protest our gun craziness, and that is a great idea. We march against racism, we march for women’s right to not be sexually assaulted physically or verbally (and to not be called liars when they go public) but we don’t march against gun insanity? Guns are killing our kids.

We can all say as often as we want that guns don’t kill people, people kill people, and certainly there is a grain of truth in that. Someone must wield the gun.

But why is it that we are the only country in the world that has suffered six school shootings in the first 45 days of 2018, according to USA Today? Of course, there is violence in other countries. But seldom does someone get his hands on a gun and use it to mow down 17 people, as happened in Florida.

Is there any town in America that can now say, with any kind of certainty, “It can’t happen here?” Not if that town is rational. It can happen anywhere but … and here is the codicil … BUT it can probably only happen in the United States. Six school shootings in 45 days? Not in Norway. Not in Britain. Not in Germany. Not in Russia. Perhaps Russians are too busy interfering in elections to bother about guns. Or Putin has them all.

It’s time to find out how far we can go by joining together and trying. Never stop marching against racism. Never stop marching for the rights of women.

But we need to add a march. We need to add that MILLION CHILD MARCH and get on the buses, the trains, the planes, into our cars and head to Washington and tell those cowards in Congress and in the White House that they owe allegiance to us, not to an organization that gives them wads of campaign cash.

Set the date. Let’s join together and try.