Wayne LaPierre’s proposal for armed guards in every school is not really a policy, but a lament. It imagines that somehow it could be different if there had only been one person (“a good man”) who stood up. Indeed, this concept of the good or virtuous man forms that background of much of the gun activist thinking. The right man (or woman) can make a difference. It would be different the next time, if only we were there.
You don’t have to be an NRA member to understand the longing, the underlying truth lies close closer to all our hearts. It is a kind of regret, a lament that we could not help in time of need. It is a longing for the good man to be made known.
So weird as it is, LaPierre voices an idea that Lawrence Ferlinghetti was getting at in Buddha in the Woodpile.
If there had been only
one Buddhist in the woodpile
in Waco Texas…
Because if Christmas means anything, it means this, that peace comes from somewhere other than the barrel of a gun. Or from an exercise of force. Peace comes in a person who can take on our lament.