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A Doula's Response to Gun Violence

As an end-of-life doula I have seen a great deal of suffering—some that is just the natural human response to loss and some that is unnecessary and comes from mistaken ideas, ignorance, the cruelty of denying a person’s dying wishes, or treatments that destroy the quality of remaining time. I am prepared to meet all of these kinds of suffering in the work I do. There are times when I am yelling inside in protest to the unnecessary suffering, but I always try to see beyond brokenness to the inherent humanity underneath. But what I am unprepared to meet is the senseless, unnecessary, and obscene human destruction of gun violence in this country and its aftermath.


I am outraged!


As a grandparent of little ones just starting pre-school/daycare I can’t imagine the pain so many parents and grandparents have suffered in the name of an obsolete constitutional right to bear arms that is clearly a contradiction to the much higher constitutional and human right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Because of guns and a twisted interpretation of individualism we are a nation of violence at a level unprecedented in human history.


I am outraged!

It is perverse that our legislative representatives

ignore the will of their constituents—even those who own guns and want commonsense restraints on guns—while they kowtow to gun lobbyists and their money. It appears obvious to me that the gun industry welcomes gun violence because it’s a selling point. What’s that line about “good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns” but an advertising slogan? More gun deaths mean more gun sales. We the public and our children are collateral damage to the profits of the gun industry. And the legislation currently being worked on in Congress is so weak that it will have almost no impact on the daily deaths of innocents. Legislators you are complicit in the deaths of so many who didn’t need to die when they did...their bodies ripped apart by bullets.


I am outraged!


My grief over all this senseless dying has left me feeling helpless for too long. But no more. I am now determined to not only speak out but to fight back. And I am asking doulas—both birth doulas and death doulas—to join me. We who work at the beginning and at the ending of life are keenly in touch with the beauty and preciousness of human life. We have a responsibility to our professions and the people we serve to fight against gun violence. Please speak up and speak out in whatever ways you can. And let me hear from you on this issue so we can find ways together to fight this disease in our society.


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