Carrying beads instead of guns

The Rev. David W. Peters, Episcopal Priest and Army Reserve Chaplain, writes in the Huffington Post:

I started to Open Carry–beads not bullets. I found the box with the old stuff from my Army days as a deployed chaplain. I pulled out a set of Anglican rosary beads. They were made for me by parishioners of Trinity Episcopal Church, in Mount Vernon, Illinois. I’d only used them a few times.

Even though I was an Episcopal priest, I had little training with the beads. I had used them in Mount Vernon on the night they were given to me and twice in Texas at a contemplative service at a church next to the Fort Hood Army base. In my entire life, I’ve spent more times holding guns than prayer beads. I was an enlisted Marine, after all.

Peters reflects on why he as a former Marine no longer chooses guns as a way to safety.

In my experience, people carrying guns openly are communicating some pretty serious messages. One of them is that they can easily kill you. Immediately, the presence of open weapons creates an asymmetrical power relationship where you’re never quite sure how people feel about you–if you’re the one with the gun. Most people are nice to people who are carrying guns. In Iraq at least, most people were rarely completely honest to people who were carrying guns. The handshake–one of the oldest signs of peace–is a way of showing that you are unarmed. Can human relationships flourish in a world where no one can truly shake hands?

Now I’m a parish priest in the Episcopal Church and I think about an active shooter stomping into my church’s school or worship service constantly. So I do sprints. I do pushups. I wonder if I’ll be able to tackle the guy in time. What if there are two of them?

Read it all here.




Image: “AnglicanPrayerBeads” at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

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