To the presidents, generals, soldiers, police officers, snipers, assassins, gang leaders, NRA members, executioners, and anyone else willing to deal out death with the slightest movement of your pointer finger or to command it through the pointer fingers of the people who choose to follow you:
Weapons are weakness. The choice to rely on them for security is a symptom of fear, which is insecurity, so how could they possibly protect you? How could something that is born of insecurity bring about security of the lasting and reliable sort? It’d be like expecting an apple tree to bear you an orange, or darkness to offer you light. Apple trees bear apples, darkness offers darkness, and weapons make fear, first and foremost in you. It is a paradox, strange but true: by relying on weapons for your own security, you are building insecurity into the very foundation of your consciousness. Fear is unreliable building material. By veining it into the bedrock of how you think about and move through the world, you have set yourself up for collapse.
The weakness of relying on a gun for your safety isn’t the unavoidable, obligatory, and beautiful kind of weakness that the human experience asks of all of us—the vulnerability of living in a body that will get sick and injured, of having a heart that will get broken and a mind that will suffer. Not that kind of weakness. That kind of weakness isn’t weakness at all, if lived fully. It’s just who you are—breakable—and if you live the truth of who you are, unafraid of the non-negotiable reality of your fragility, you are finally living unafraid of yourself. Living this kind of weakness is to accept that you are not a god after all, that you will hurt, and lose, and die. And you’ve stopped needing not to. You are at your most powerful when you don’t have to feel powerful anymore, or don’t feel the lustful compulsion to show it when you are. This is freedom, when you can be yourself in this way, inclusive and expressive of the quivering fear inside you, unattached to the power when it comes.
Living by the gun, however, is the kind of weakness that vainly protests against the way things are, the way you are. It is a terrified kind of weakness that doesn’t know how to look truth in the eyes and say, “I am going to die, and everything I’ve ever loved is going to die, and all the people I’ve ever cared for will all die, too.” Carrying a gun with the willingness to kill, you become the kind of weak that would rather take than give, the kind of weak that refuses to learn how to love, that believes it’s easier to kill than to care.
It’s always a good idea to love, or to at least do the work of learning how to love, and if you don’t believe that, then somewhere in your consciousness you’re believing a lie—although you can hardly be blamed for that, as it’s a lie so intricately woven, spun from so many different threads by so many different weavers that it has become the commonplace truth of these times. Of course you believe a gun will make you safe, and that it is easier and often just to kill another person, and that some people are impossible to love, or shouldn’t be loved because “they did something terrible,” or “they’re about to do something terrible,” or the millions of other less legitimate reasons we come up with to hate people and kill them. Of course you believe these delusions! Billions of other people are right there with you. But now that you’ve heard this, you can’t lie innocently any longer. From here on out, your lies about righteous murder and justified violence are all chosen, and your choice to live these lies is literally killing us one by one—on the streets, in the battlefields, on the streets-turned-battlefields, wherever a life is taken in retribution or fear disguising itself as reasonable defense.
Weapons of any kind—physical instruments, words, facial expressions, or body movements—if used to take life when that life’s death is not absolutely necessary to fertilize more life—when weapons like these are carried, you are feeding your own weakness. If you want to be strong, if you want to be brave and heal the world by your bravery, if you want to save yourself and protect the lives of your loved ones and of the enemies you haven’t yet learned how to love, if you want to be a hero, then walk this earth naked as the day you arrived here.
“No fucking way. They’ll just kill me if I go out there unarmed.”
They’re already killing you, aren’t they? And a part of the reason why they’re killing you is precisely because you are armed. You set yourself up to be attacked by assuming that you would be. To arm yourself is to speak from the part of yourself that is scared shitless, and it speaks to the parts inside others that are scared shitless, too. Of course we injure and kill each other when we meet like this—one tiny movement will set either of us off like a spooked deer. Disarm yourself. It is the most disarming thing you could do, because it speaks from the part of yourself that knows how to trust and love, which speaks to the parts in others that want to do the same, even if they don’t realize it yet.