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Lions Roar : September 2016
The few words spoken by the shooter betrayed anger and humiliation, feelings he could not endure. So he used a pistol to unload them. This is the mundane reality of gun violence. It may seem obvious, but the majority of homicides result from esca- lating arguments in which feelings of humiliation and anger result in violence. In short: lives are being ended again and again because a person, almost always a JUST OVER TWENTY YEARS AGO, a friend was shot five times in the face a few feet in front of me. He was a music venue doorman, and earlier that night he had asked a young college student to leave for drunken, aggressive behavior. FROM WHERE I SIT Why We Go for the Gun GREG SNYDER on how to reclaim the grace and humanity that our access to guns has led us to squander. man, cannot tolerate the thoughts and sensations of his mind and body. Prior to Zen practice, I was often owned by rage. More than once, friends pulled me off another man after a switch flipped and destroying the perceived cause of my humiliation was the only reality in front of me. The walls of that closing, swirling tunnel always felt impenetrable. Fortunately in a fight there is room for grace to intervene in the form CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE GREG SNYDER is cofounder and dharma teacher at Brooklyn Zen Center and a senior director of Buddhist Studies at Union Theologi- cal Seminary in New York City. LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2016 15