As a newspaper editor, I supervise a terrific staff of bright, talented reporters who cover City Council meetings all the time, and their safety was the first thing that came to thought when I heard about Thursday’s shooting in Kirkwood, Mo., in which a man walked into a council meeting and shot seven people, including a newspaper reporter.
As my imagination conjured up visions of some angry, misguided person standing up in a meeting somewhere and shooting one of my beloved staffers, I began searching my thought for a practical response to this possible threat.
What came to me was the memory of a healing I witnessed a few years ago.
I was attending a rather acrimonious City Council meeting in a small town where there was some talk of demolishing historic properties that had fallen into disrepair. Although all the people in the room seemed to have the same goal — to preserve the properties in a safe, attractive way — they also seemed too busy rehashing old disagreements to set aside their differences and work toward that goal.
Idiots, I thought. They’re going to throw away these gorgeous old buildings over a bunch of stupid infighting.
A split-second later, I corrected myself: There were no idiots in that room. There were only reflections of divine Mind, and it was my responsibility to refuse to see them as anything less.
Instantly, the whole tone of the meeting changed from one of acrimony to one of camaraderie, and that meeting became the catalyst for a communitywide grassroots effort to make the area more attractive to tourists.
Thinking of that healing — which began to reveal itself the moment I changed my thought about the people involved — I realized that the best thing any of us can do to prevent a tragedy like the Kirkwood shootings from happening again is to change the way we think about the people in our own communities. Rather than seeing them as enemies, fools, or lunatics, we need to acknowledge their true identities as God’s children — perfect reflections of divine Love — and refuse to see them as anything less.
It’s been my experience that a little bit of Love will dissolve a whole lot of anger … and it certainly can’t hurt.