second amendment sanctuary

On Wednesday evening, three of my kids, my parents, and I attended our county’s board of supervisors meeting in which there was scheduled to be a vote on a resolution on whether or not to make our county a Second Amendment Sanctuary. Friends of ours, fellow advocates of stricter gun laws, planned to speak in opposition to the resolution, so, in solidarity with them, we decided to go.

On the drive there, traffic was bad. I joked that it was all the gun’s rights people going to the meeting, but then, when traffic stopped a couple miles before the school, we realized, Oh wait, all these people are going to the meeting. Mom suggested we turn around and go for ice cream since it looked like there was no way we were ever going to make it in, but the kids and I argued that if all these people were coming to support, then it was all the more important for us to be there.

Eventually, I managed to skip much of the traffic by driving beyond the school’s entrance and then turning around and entering from the other direction. At the front doors, we bypassed a man handing out orange GUNS SAVE LIVES stickers and went straight inside. The gym was already full, and by the time the meeting started, there was standing room only.

Those who wanted to speak (three minutes only) had to sign up. Do any of you want to say something? I asked the kids. It was a rhetorical question, but my younger son said, Maybe?

We talked it over. Should I? he wondered. I’m scared! And, What would I say?

I pointed out that hardly anyone was going to speak against the resolution — it was pretty much a done deal — but it’s always good to present different perspectives. Plus, I added, children need to be heard. What you think matters. For a few minutes, he stood there, quietly watching the crowd, waffling. Then suddenly, “I’ll do it,” he said.

From our perch in the bleachers, he carefully crafted a statement, first dictating it to me, and then copying it over himself, adding to it as he had more thoughts. Under his breath, he practiced reading it out loud. He folded it up and then unfolded it and re-read it, again and again.

The meeting finally began. Person after person got up to speak before the board of supervisors, the crowd becoming more riled up with each gun-favorable declaration, leaping to their feet, waving their hats, and punching their fists in the air. One presenter called for a poll. Everyone opposed to becoming a Second Amendment Sanctuary, stand up. About a dozen of us stood. Those in favor? Three thousand people went wild.

After an hour of speeches, only one person — a Democrat leader who had given introductory opening remarks — had spoken in opposition to the measure, and then Ruth, our friend from church, got up to speak. The crowd cheered when she mentioned her gun ownership, but as she began to talk about life first, not guns, people turned aggressive. Go home! they jeered. Your time’s up. If you don’t like it here, leave! Move to Canada! Boo!

Incredible. Here were thousands of people who were passionate about their rights, and yet they were unable to extend the most basic right — the right to share a different opinion — to another human being.

After several more people spoke in favor of the resolution, the crowd was in such an uproar that the board said they should just go ahead and vote now. Does anyone else have anything different to say? they asked, a question which tipped the room into chaos, some people requesting to speak, and the majority shouting them down.

“Do you want to talk?” I yelled over the din into my son’s ear. “Yes,” he said. “Then go now, fast,” and he, forgetting his request to have me accompany him, took off alone, shimmying his way through the press of bodies. A minute later, he reappeared on the floor down in front of us and walked up to the front where he stood, clutching his scrap of paper in his hand.

More speeches in favor of the resolution — there was talk of the endtimes, the tyrants in Richmond, God-given rights, “don’t tread on me” or else — and two more against, though we could barely hear what they said over all the heckling.

And then the board of supervisors decided they’d had enough; there would be no more speakers allowed. So my son never did get to speak, much to his disappointment.

We left then, before the vote — it was going to pass anyway — and before the traffic. As I gathered my things to leave, I felt a gentle touch on my leg. “Is that your son down there?” the man sitting next to me asked, pointing.

“Yes,” I said, wary.

“Your son is a very brave boy.”

And just like that, I folded. My shoulders slumped, the air — had I been holding my breath? — whooshed from my lungs. This man saw my child, not as a threat, but as a person.

“Thank you,” I said. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Once out in the cold night air, the kids exploded, their voices ragged with emotion. Since when was our right to bear arms mandated by God? I only saw three black people! Did you see the one guy blocking the man that wanted to speak?

“When Ruth talked about the value of red-flag laws, people laughed,” my older son said. “I could’ve cried!”

Did you see what they did to that woman? one of the kids asked. We’d all noticed the solitary young woman sitting on the other side of the gym, the woman quietly, steadily, holding up a sign of protest. Partway through, she left, and the kids saw a man crumble up one of her papers she’d left behind, and then somebody draped a pro-guns sign over her seat and everyone laughed.

“She had a small child with her,” my daughter cried, “a little girl, and they laughed at her!”

Listening to them, I realized the full magnitude of what they had just endured. They’d witnessed bullying, not just by one or two people, but by hundreds. In front of a throng of emotionally-charged people, they’d been singled out. I’d found the meeting fascinating — to me, it was an educational experience, a real-live study in human behavior — but to the children who are accustomed to thoughtful, civil discourse (in public, at least, if not at home, ha!), and who had made a sincere effort to understand all the arguments, the experience was deeply upsetting.

My older son, in particular, was dismayed (in his words, “sickened”) by the blatant disregard for reason. “It was like being in an auditorium filled with several thousand me’s when I was twelve years old and wanted an ipod and was obsessed to the point of irrationality.”

I tried to help the kids see the bigger perspective. Hundreds of people weren’t yelling, I said. Perhaps those people were as uncomfortable with the heckling and bullying as we were? And we saw people we know, right? Good people. Our neighbors. My mother pointed out that people occasionally called out the hecklers for their bad behavior, shouting “Let them speak,” and “It’s their turn now.” I told the kids about the gentleman with the kind eyes and the orange GUNS SAVE LIVES sticker who told me my son was brave.

That night I had trouble falling asleep, and the next day, in a Lenten planning meeting with our pastor, when I happened to mention that we’d been at the county meeting the night before and she, immediately concerned, asked what it’d been like, I surprised myself by bursting into tears. Apparently the experience affected me more than I’d realized?

And yet, in spite of all the negativity and ugliness, I’m so glad we went. I’m grateful that the children got to watch a small minority, themselves included, stand up for their beliefs in the face of overwhelming opposition. I’m grateful they got to feel, firsthand, the frightening force of an emotionally-charged, fear-fueled crowd. And I’m grateful they got to better understand this side of our community, our home; this is where we live.

What an experience.

P.S. For another perspective on the evening: A Crowd of 3000 Praises God and Guns Alike.
P.P.S. And here’s what Ruth said (thanks, Harvspot!).

Photo credits of the meeting: my older son

This same time, years previous: science lessons, the quotidian (12.14.15), in my kitchen: 4:15 p.m., hot chocolate mix, constant vigilance!, soft cinnamon sugar butter bars, cracked wheat pancakes, fig and anise pinwheels, ginger cream scones.


  • harvspot

    I don't think one has to be an expert on different styles of guns in order to have a valid opinion on reasonable gun regulations, any more than one needs to have a lot of computer knowledge to have an opinion on regulating internet content when it comes to issues like anti-semitic and other hate speech, child pornography and other explicit sexual content, etc. Also, I wish people would use their real names when commenting. I am Harvey Yoder, and I approve this message. 😉

  • 2A Supporter


    I want to clear up a couple things for you. First off, a private citizen does NOT own an AK47. That is a military grade machine gun. An AR15 is NOT a quick fire gun. It’s an armor lite rifle that fires ONE SHOT per pull of the trigger. We do hunt with this gun. It’s not a gun that will destroy the animal. I would suggest you try to shoot an AR 15 before you tell everyone about how it shoots. It is a MAJOR difference in the AR15 and an AK47. That’s where a lot of misinformation is put out there, just like your response.

    As for stricter gun laws, we do not need stricter laws. The constitution was written in a time of muzzleloaders, I agree. But I think our founding fathers had a lot of insight in where they thought things could lead because the North had better firearms. So we’re speculating on their intentions. I think they thought of progress.

    Gun laws are not the solution. Having to deal with a close relative with dementia, I have saw firsthand the need for mental health reform in this country. Mental health reform IS where we need to start.

    For the 9/11 terrorists, they used box cutters and an airplane yo kill over 3,000. Should we ban box cutters or airplanes? Timothy Mcveigh used a rental truck and a homemade bomb made with fertilizer to bomb a building. Should we ban fertilizer being sold? What about the incidents that have involved a car being through a crowd of people killing and injuring them? Ban cars? Where do we stop government interference? We regulate our government. Our government should NOT be telling us what we can or cannot buy.

    Again, research the AK47 and AR15. I think you seem intelligent but you lack true knowledge about firearms. And for the record, I am a female that was there in Rockingham representing my 2nd amendment rights. I was one of the ones that was saying to my neighbors to let the opposition speak. I also witnessed horrible behavior from people on your side as well. One guy stood up in front of the supervisions after they voted and gave them a finger and said, “F*ck you all.” He was maybe 10 feet from them. I walked beside two young guys who ripped their stricter gun control signs up and littered the floor of the school. I hope that wasn’t you but our side picked up the trash that the custodians were left with. So please, don’t act as if you all were there in peace and love. It wasn’t like that. Tensions were high on both sides and there were a FEW bad apples in a crowd of over 4000.

  • Unknown

    I have been to two 2A meetings and have not seen or heard any such comments or actions as were described in these messages. At our meetings the majority of speakers were pro 2 A and were cheered at they agreed with point or positions made. Not once were boos or comments made over comments by those against the resolution.Although in comments made in local papers the opposition implied that they FELT the hostility and WERE fearful when they arrived. Two items of note at both meetings no trash was left behind as was done on inauguration day by the anti-Trump women's protest group nor were any Guns displayed or or visible at either. To the son of the main letter writer I would like to state that he has been woefully mis-educated about societies were guns are banned. Every dictator in history down to present day China and Venezuela Cambodia and Cuba have outlawed Guns and you can see the results. In more capitalist countries like England they have more murders bu Knives than we have by AR or AS guns.The majority of deaths by guns are actually from suicides which indicates more mental health screening is needed in this country rather than gun laws.

    • Anonymous

      This comment is the perfect example of how so many are not truly listening and or hearing what others are trying to say. Jonathan never said that he was in support of banning guns. He is in favor of stricter gun laws. Gun laws that would in fact help to protect the very people that you mentioned.

  • Margo

    Thank you for this post. I'm angry and sad at the way the crowd acted. The way you treated them and your kids – with respect and clarity – I really admire.

    I'm so weary with debates like the one springing up in your comments where people don't really listen to each other with an open mind. I'm just so angry I don't have more to say right now.

  • kay saylor

    I am sorry you are still being attacked here. You and your family took the time to represent your well thought opinions and were going to be respectful of the crowd you knew you were going to encounter. Thank you for showing up for those who can no longer speak for themselves. Many of us are listening.

  • Unknown

    You know, the left have shouted down beat up and villified people on the right. Yet the people on the left want to complain when the right gives it back to them. The Left have shut down any opposition on college campuses. The left have rioted and damaged property when they don't get their way. Yet you complain when you just get shouted out. When will the left let people with a different opinion talk. This is hilarious that you are complaining after what the left has done to the right. Karma is a bitch.

  • john

    Did you see what they did to that woman? one of the kids asked. We'd all noticed the solitary young woman sitting on the other side of the gym, the woman quietly, steadily, holding up a sign of protest. Partway through, she left, and the kids saw a man crumble up one of her papers she'd left behind, and then somebody draped a pro-guns sign over her seat and everyone laughed. “She had a small child with her,” my daughter cried, “a little girl, and they laughed at her!”

  • Drew

    So now mam you understand what every Republican voter has gone thru for 3 years.Shouted at,called despicable and ignorant names.Threats on our life and sadly some beaten or property vandalized.I agree that everyone has the right to freedom of speech,but i find it hard to believe your child was asking such questions without your help.This is exactly what is going on that upsets people.The dramatic representation of how things really went. Im not saying your fabricating,but the words and description of your feelings are riddled with defenitions and words that make it sound like you guys were victimized.Its stories like this that cause disruption and sometimes anger.Because people know better,people know that it was loud and point blank ,in your face debate.But chaos and the feeling of this or that are your personal feelings and you should let people know this is how i felt.Not using sentence structure that defines something it wasnt.And i have a hard time believing your children are so against all this without your coaxing and teaching.Do you give them both sides fairly?Or do you use the same descriptions you did here?And its hard to think your children were so upset at all of this without bieng coaxed by you.Children at a young age,dont think like that wothout someone bringing attention to it.We are good people.We are people who believe in the Constitution and we stand up for that.We are sick of the overreaching of government and trying to take rights away that are not for them to take.The labels they give us,that you have done as well,is farthest from the truth!They are trying to divide us and control every move we do.From killing babies to letting our elders die.You come at this as a Christian ,but yet have acted far from one.Guns are not the problem,mental illness is.Fabricating it any other way is a lie.

    • Jonathan

      Hi. I’m Jonathan, the oldest of Jennifer’s four. I’m slightly insulted that you accused us of not being educated on both sides of the gun law argument. My mother has never once told me what to believe (nor any of my siblings). Never. She has only showed me what she believes is right and what is wrong.

      I firmly believe that stricter gun laws are the solution. It has worked in all other countries that have imposed stricter gun laws, and I don’t see why it won’t work in ours. The second amendment was created during a time when the most common gun was the muzzle loader. Do you know how many bullets can be fired from an AK47 in the time it takes to load one shot for a muzzle loader? Hundreds. Also, it’s called the second amendment because it was an addition to the constitution. Key word here is addition. It literally means that it was designed to be edited from the very beginning. You can find that info in any dictionary or thesaurus. Besides, a country that stays the same while the countries around it are changing rapidly is the country that is bound to fall. Read some history.

      On top of all this, I like to hunt. I don’t feel the need to own a gun, but I borrow my grandfather’s 30-30 every deer season. These new gun laws aren’t going to take all your guns away. Your right to bear arms won’t be denied. But can you at least agree that guns which are able to shoot hundreds of bullets a minute aren’t safe in anybody’s hands?

      We used to be able to drive as fast as we wanted too, but back then cars only went upwards of 45-50mph. When cars began to get faster and more accidents started happening, the government saw that there needed to be some rules and limits in place in order to protect the drivers and the general public. There aren’t many people who agree that we should be able drive our cars at 100mph through the local neighborhood. Although two very different machines, the situation is quite comparable and should be handled with just as much care.

      And no, my mother did not help me write this. I am all the way across the country in Colorado and she is at home in Virginia, blissfully unaware of any of this.

      I hope you can respect my first amendment right to freedom of speech, just as I have respected yours. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but logic and common sense should always have a place at the table, regardless of the topic.

      With respect.

  • Anonymous

    I'm astonished that people are so laser focused on the 2nd ammendment in the forthcoming legislation proposed in the good Commonwealth. While not at all surprised, since in recent conversations people can't seem to begin to quote not even 3 of their guaranteed rights gifted in the Bill of Rights, the liberal agenda goes far beyond the scope of gun control. Have you even educated yourselves of the proposed Senate and House bills? They violate our 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 14th amendments. You really want to give up your rights to due process, to freedom from unjust search and seizure, your personal property rights?? Think about what you are asking! Our forefathers must be rolling over in their graves.

  • Gzus7freek

    I wish gun control would make the place safer however gun control would only remove the guns from the law abiding and allow us to become sitting ducks. I truly find it amazing that those lobbying for stricter gun laws think that by handing over our guns will make us safer. Yes, there will be less guns but do you seriously think Joe Burgler got his gun at Dick Sporting good or Wal-Mart? Do you think that Dick Rapist got his gun at after a background check? Do you honestly think that Tony Serialkiller showed 2 forms of ID? What about Harry Mugger? Think he gave his finger prints so he could purchase a fancy new AR-15? Gun control will leave us defenseless and dead. How do you propose we defend ourselves? Handing over our guns is the most stupid, ignorant thing that I can think of. Someone would be an absolute fool if they think that gun control would make us safe.

    • Anonymous

      I don't think you know much about the black market. Once guns are taken off the general market, a gun that once cost a thousand dollars could be upwards of $40,000 on the black market. You can't just sign on to the black market like signing on to Amazon. It's an incredibly complicated system and people aren't going to just sell some kid an assault riffle because they asked for one. Removing certain types of guns from the general market won't make anyone a sitting duck (even though it may feel like it to some people). And yes, most of the guns purchased for the numerous high school shootings here in the USA (well over 200 since the Columbine massacre in 1999 [where the teens got most of their guns from a gun show]) were bought legally; often times at local gun shows and even Wal-Mart.

  • Unknown

    Your story was well written and gave people another understanding of how someone saw the meeting unfold. I respect both sides of an opinion on gun laws, to each his own. I can also respect how you feel about the meeting, however, it is hard to sit back and not respond. To say the crowd was bullying anyone is a bit of a stretch. They merely voiced their opinion about their second amendment rights being in jeopardy. With about 4000 concerned citizens in support of the 2nd amendment rights to remain unchanged, it was kind of hard for anyone to keep quiet. There is a time and a place to remain quiet. However, this was not a time to remain silent. What was decided by the government years and years ago, the government themselves is trying to override. The government is trying to take away your rights as a free will person. They are trying to take away the right for you to protect your family. And it is very obvious you are a loving, caring and supportive mother. What happens when someone is trying to harm your children and you have no way to protect them? Rockingham County has made not only local news, it's such an important matter that it has made the news of major networks. Not only people locally realize the importance of not changing the Constitution but it's realized within the US. It's unfortunate we have Mr Northam as governor. He openly does not show respect for the people, their skin color, their safety nor does he have any regard for the human life. This man made fun of people of another race by dressing up as an Afican American man and standing beside someone dressed up in a KKK costume. Depicting lack of respect for humans. To my next point, we have a governor who proposed a bill to kill babies after they were born if it was decided they were not wanted.
    This is an excerpt from
    US Today:
    "The governor of Virginia — a pediatrician, by the way — advocates murdering children after delivery and he thinks everyone else is blowing it out of proportion. During his campaign, Northam supported "high quality, affordable health care for all Americans." I don't usually think of killing a live human post-birth as "health care," but I'm not angling to direct the next "Faces of Death" movie the way Northam apparently is."
    It has been stated, that the baby would be kept comfortable until a decision was made.
    So you see, it starts with taking one or two of our rights away. Then it gets to be decided how or who gets to live. Kill them at birth and/or take away insurance or paying for medications of the elderly. Why should we stand by and let a government dictate when and how we die? We will all pass in God's timing, He is in control but yet the government is trying to play the role of the mightiest of mighty.

    • Jennifer Jo

      Thank you for your thoughtful response!

      About the gun issue: As a Christian, I believe Jesus calls us to love people, not kill them. We all crave safety and security (me as much as anyone!), but when they become our driving force — when I am willing to put my life above someone else's in order to protect my own — then we are making a god of our own self-preservation. 

      In Lynn M's words, a facebook commenter with ten years of military experience: "…having a gun in your hand does not make you feel safe. Having a gun makes you feel aggressive, either from the fear that you might need to use it, or from the fear that drove you to carry it in the first place." 

      Giving up control and being vulnerable is scary — terrifying, really — but it's also weirdly freeing. And it's the stance Jesus modeled.

      And regarding your comments on abortion: I am pro-life. Here is an article that a friend of mine wrote that does a good job of explaining my thoughts on this matter: Blood on Our Hands: 7 Reasons Why I'm a Christian Against Abortion Who Doesn't Vote Pro-Life. (

    • sdsva

      Jennifer Jo, my response to your friend’s two quotes below:

      Even if law-abiding guns owners don’t cause gun violence, I know it’s going to happen. I don’t condone unlawful home entry, but I know it’s going to happen. What if we stopped the othering rhetoric and started over with something we all agree is human, a humble confession: We all have an inalienable right to defend our persons and our property.

      “5. Even if I don’t condone abortion, I know it’s going to happen. I don’t condone war either, but I know it’s going to happen. I don’t support defunding and closing veterans’ hospitals as an attempt to stop war. Rather, I put my effort into supporting policies that reduce the likelihood of war. Likewise, I believe the most effective anti-abortion work I can do is supporting policies that prevent abortion and decrease abortion rates rather than working to defund or close clinics or criminalize abortion. I value the lives of women having abortions and want them to be safe, just as I value the lives of our veterans who need care even while disagreeing with their choice to go to war.”
      “What if we stopped the othering rhetoric and started over with something we all agree is solidly Christian, a humble confession: We all have blood on our hands.”

  • Joy

    Im so sorry for that stressful rage-filled meeting, the issue, the vote. You’re brave to have taken your wonderful kids and I’d love to hug you, your son (your son! ❤️) your whole family. I don’t know what’s happening to our country, your county, but thank you for being there.

  • beckster

    This made me cry, but everything about our uncivil discourse makes me want to cry these days because it is the major obstruction to problem solving. I admire you for encouraging your kids to get involved and stay informed. I wish all these folks who are afraid of what will happen "when the government takes your guns" would explain what they are talking about – when? where? what? And no one is actually going to take anyone's guns. Gun control activists are just that, not gun abolitionists, just folks who want common sense gun laws. Thanks for this painful, yet informative post.

  • Melissa

    The most disheartening part of this is the reflection it is on the state of civil discourse in the US today. It seems there is no room for one of the basic foundations America was based on- the ability to express dissenting opinions. So many things have polarized us. I bet a lot of those people who were beyond rude also would say they follow Jesus. What a poor demonstration of the love of Jesus to act in that way. Hold your opinion, and allow your brother to express theirs- even if it differs from your own. Show the love of God by seeing that person, hearing them, engaging with them to build relationship. Oh, come Lord Jesus!

  • Valley Patriot

    The ability given to your child to be able to even think about speaking at that meeting or any other is in the bill of rights. Actually it’s so important it’s the very first amendment. Without the second amendment, the first will surely fall. While certain gun laws seem important and in a few cases actually work, the old saying if you give an inch they will take a mile applies. There will always be people that think differently and disagree on various issues. The ability to speak about it in public or private are protected by the bill of rights including the second amendment. Educate yourself on why the democrats want to take your guns. Teach your children the history of what happens when free people are made to turn over their weapons.

  • Goatldi

    Lead by example and kindness takes no more energy then anger . This goes further than guns people are afraid and when people are fearful and the entire world is spinning out of control (which we don’t have but over ourselves) people tend to not react logically. We can all be short sighted and mean is not my job to judge anyone.

    I love the statement by the gentleman concerning your son.

  • Valleybluedog

    After reading, I must admit that I’m glad that I moved to Georgia. I don’t miss the valley and the backwards thinking.

  • Anonymous

    Our country's worship of guns is our national shame, next to our racism. These gatherings are a whiplash reaction to Virginia going all blue in the last election. The rural areas of Virginia are deep red, and as white as can be. I live just down the road from Harrisonburg, having moved here 10 years ago from Pennsylvania. There's lot of great people in Virginia, but as they say in the north, "some are still fighting the civil war…" The Shenandoah Heritage Market in Harrisonburg contains lots of charming stores that sell local wares, but one store sells sinister products that pollute the soul. I was embarrassed to even walk in there to do research. Here's their website: There are confederate flag curtains, confederate flag baby bibs, books like "Lincoln Was Wrong" and children's books about happy slaves. The store has been there for many years, and folks, there is a market for what they are selling. There is a dark underbelly in this county that is wrapped up in white nostalgia, racism, guns, and God. And yes, there are many books in this store espousing a biblical world view in support of slavery and racism. Every day, people are buying things from that store. Think about that.

  • Sparkless

    Canada has gun laws but people still legally have guns and way fewer people are killed by guns compared to the US. You can legally own guns in Canada but there are laws you have to follow. I don't know what ideas Americans have about Canadian gun laws but they seem to think we don't allow law abiding citizens to own guns which is not the case at all. My father hunted and had several guns in our house. It's sad when misinformation and bullying are used to forward an agenda.

  • Kellie Steele

    I am reading this from the other side of the world. I live in Tasmania. A little island at the bottom of Australia. This post made my heart hurt and my tears flow. It also made me very grateful that our government imposed very strict gun laws after a massacre in my very own state. I am so saddened and shocked that people would place value of a machine designed to kill over the value of people’s lives. I can’t imagine how sad it must be especially for children to live in an environment where weapons are glorified. Heart breaking.

  • farm buddy

    Sounds like ALL of you were very brave! Where I live in Upstate NY, the majority of people are unfortunately crazy about guns. Since I live by myself on my farm, I have had people tell me that I should have an assault rifle. I tell them that I have no plans on assaulting anyone, now or ever. After all, I have sweet livestock guardian dog, Bess, to keep me safe!

  • mommychef

    Oh wow…brave boy indeed. You can come to Canada anytime, you can stay with me. I kind of knew it was crazy but…not that crazy. We have American friends that are up here on missionary/clergy status and they are jumping through so many hoops to get Permanent Resident status so that they can stay here for good. I kind of used to wonder why they keep going to such great extents, expenses and efforts but after this post it's a little more clear.

    • Jennifer Jo

      Re the photo: Of course!

      And as to your question about how to respond: I don't know! I write my own experience, but that only goes so far…

    • Melissa

      Respond with love. Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves – even when it is uncomfortable. But love can also be in the form of hosting a community discussion on the topic, or writing an editorial in the local paper. We will not be able to reach the hearts of many, but even if a few minds were tuned into the uncivility of their actions at this event, then that's a win for Jesus.

  • noelotl

    Jennifer, I too headed out Rt. 33 toward that event, only to be disheartened before ever arriving. Never let it be said that the (evident) majority of our neighbors will be progressive in their letting go of outmoded thinking. Those who hold to their weapons live in fear. They fear the government (regardless who is in power – evidently). They fear "other"; whether their immigrant neighbors or complete strangers traveling the world, or in their homes on the other side of the planet. It's just fear. I must suppose that their holding onto their weapons is akin to infants "needing" their pacifiers. Eventually, they either forget the item is present and (like detritus) it falls between the sofa cushions or (hopefully – the guns) gather a nice patina in a safe with a forgotten combination lock, and just enough rust to make restoring them to function just too much effort, or the gun safe takes up too much room and it's handed on or sold, with an equal orientation to disuse. I may only imagine that it would take a school shooting locally to engage that majority to any, more reasonable commitment. That schools are now being designed for the (eventuality?) safety of students from "shooters", seems backwards to me. But what do I know. I appreciate your efforts (and your son's). Noel