By Edith Morgan
We all have an opinion about weapons: How many, what type, who should have them, where to use them, etc. Our country is awash in guns, assault weapons, and ammunition. Our movies and television programs extol weapon-wielding “heroes” who are presented to our children as the “good guys.” Many of grew up to believe that these brave heroes solve their (and our) problems by shooting the bad guys and thus making us safe. But do we actually feel safer? Do all the motion detectors, alarms, guns under pillows and in drawers, foot patrols, surveillance cameras, deadbolts, and the myriad other defensive devices really make us feel safer? How much more “protection will we need to feel safe?
Perhaps our problem lies in our definition of “Safe.” Cowards are always afraid. Brave people much less so. The persons who will go down in history as having accomplished great things and influenced millions to do better, have stood up UNARMED , against well-armed enemies, and won. Think of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Moses, Jesus, Buddha – and numerous others like them.
Much closer to home, we all know real ”heroes and heroines” who took risks , and unarmed, convinced others to follow their better selves.
For example: her home never had a weapon in it; but when a young Nazi lieutenant came to her door in the middle of the night to arrest her husband, she had the courage to demand to see the paperwork, and asked the name of his commanding officer. The young recruit, unaccustomed to being questioned, retreated to get the paperwork, giving the family time to get help and make plans. That same woman, on vacation in Paris, walked up to a group of young American students in the hotel lobby where she and her husband were staying, and asked them to take their feet off the glass-topped table, then proceeded to lecture them on how to behave as representatives of their mutual country, America. Back home, this remarkable lady, while on her daily walk with her husband, found their way obstructed by a group of teenagers loitering on the corner. She marched up to the group and asked them to make way on the public sidewalk so she and her husband could pass. Miraculously, they did. That woman was my mother – who saved our family many times during the difficult days of WW II.
If we look around our neighborhood, I think we could find people who display that kind of bravery every day: parents, teachers, friends, neighbors – who stand up for what is right, armed only with the courage of their convictions, They should be the real heroes to whom we pay homage. And sometimes, we are smart enough to elect such a person to represent us – a person who speaks truth to power again and again, does not enrich himself at our expense, and bravely forges on despite the odds.