Last week there was a tragic shooting at a UU church in Tenn. It is not the first time I have read of such violence or heard of a public shooting on TV. There was the Virginia Tech incident in recent memory and sadly many others. However most of it seemed fairly distantly removed from our lives. There was sadness for those involved, sadness over the fact that this has become more common in our society. (when did it become okay to display our fear and disatisfation with our lives by killing others who often had nothing to do with our situation?) But this is different. It is different because it took place at a Unitarian Universalist church,much like the one we attend each Sunday. The shooting happened during a musical production. Just 2 years ago, Robbie was in a musical at our church where tickets were sold to the public at large. The shooting happened due to the liberal views expressed by the church. Our church is decidedly liberal.
The difference is likely location. TN is probably more "red" and our church is located in MA which is very liberal and in a college city to boot. But the tragedy feels much more close, much more personal. And I need to tell my kids about this.
My struggle is with telling them in a way that doesn't take away the feelings of comfort and safety that they have at our church. I am not a person who wants to give away freedoms in order to feel "safe." I am not keen on the Patriot Act for example, or the fact that recently police in a DC neighborhood instituted police checkpoints due to the level of street violence. Granted I don't live in fear of bullets coming at my home or my person as a general rule, but I don't want to give away that much of the independence that our ancesters fought for. I believe in living life as fully as possible. Sometimes this involves certain levels of risk but I believe that thinking people should have the right to weigh those risks and not have some other person or agency decide for them what is safe and right.
I don't want my kids to think we should have a metal detector as you enter the sanctuary. I don't want my congregation to think that either. So I wrestle with how to share this news with my kids.