“Joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair” wrote author and aviator Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Is it possible? Can joy ever spring from the cliffs of despair of yesterday’s shooting that killed seventeen and injured at least fourteen – or any of the other shootings that have profoundly affected lives over the decades?

Each time such a shooting happens, journalists interview, pray-ers pray, politicians politicize. Each time, nothing gets done to prevent such a horrific act of violence from happening ever again.  And the cliffs of despair continue.

I feel anger swelling within me as I hear the now-expected responses to gun control questions from journalists
… “It’s too early – we don’t have all the facts.”  Here’s a fact that is known: a military style gun was used in the massacre
… “Now is not the time.”  If not now, when?

Now *is* the time.  Now is the time to change decisions that were made to allow military-style guns to be purchased by civilians, when background checks were deemed to not be necessary, when people with mental illness were allowed to purchase guns.

When the U.S. Constitution was signed, the weapon referred to was a rifle that could shoot 1-2 rounds per minute.  The gun used in most of the massacres (A-15 style firearm) fires 45 rounds per minute!  Since writing the Constitution, guns have changed. Surely it is time that laws change. Australia changed its laws.  Since 1996 when that country enacted strict gun laws, there hasn’t been one mass shooting.  Not one!

Five years ago, I made and sent snowflakes to an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. As did countless others, I posted FB messages, prayed, spoke with politicians.  Nothing changed.

This day I step out of my comfort zone in this blog and name evil: the evil of the lack of strict, enforceable gun laws. That evil is affecting and claiming lives. That evil will continue to do so unless, and until, laws change.

The language of flowers has long been understood as one of the most recognized signs of love.  So yesterday as yet another massacre unfolded, I made fabric flowers to send to the high school.  The fabric flowers will be a visible sign of love for the people of Parkland, for Florida, for the United States.  They will be a visible sign of my prayers for the injured, the dying, those who have died and their families, the first responders.  They will be a visible sign that I send courage for those who have yet to make their voice known and speak up against the lack of gun law changes and courage for those who have the power to make the necessary gun law changes so that yesterday’s mass shooting never happens again.

Can “joy spring like a flower even from the depths of despair”?  It can – but it needs action … our action.  Evil must be named.  Politicians must be confronted and challenged.  Voters must get out and vote.  Change must happen.   Then, and only then, will “joy spring like a flower even from the depths of despair.”


© June Maffin

(If you’d like make and send fabric flowers to Parkland, Florida, send me an email: junemaffin at gmail dot com and I’d be happy to send directions.)