On Gun Violence, Empathy, and The Tower Reversed

 

What do we know about change? It’s constant, always pushing forward despite blockages and resistance. 

What’s another thing about change? People really don’t like it, people especially don’t like it when they are unaffected by what is in need of change.

Radical change in our society has been knocking for a long time and most, if not all the time, the people doing the knocking are the ones who are living day to day in situations of oppression. What does it take for people in positions of power and privilege to wake up and demand drastic changes to systems of oppression? Well, I’d like to think that everyone is interested in equity, safety, sharing of resources, and a standard of living for every individual on the planet, but this isn’t so. Many of us in privileged positions (even with intersections of marginalisation) subconsciously hold a resistance to massive societal shifts because we think we will lose if others start to win. 

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This is the thing with feminism, BLM, trans rights, sex workers rights and other movements that push towards equity but get demonised for their efforts — if women have the same advantages as men, then men lose or if black people have the same advantages as white people, then white people lose, and we know that this is far from the truth. But that is how a white-supremacist-cis-hetero-patriarchy functions: if others win, you will lose and why would you want to change something to your supposed detriment? That’s the lie that’s been fed to us, that there isn’t enough, but we can see in the massive wealth disparities that there actually is enough, but it’s distributed in a way that keeps poor communities poor and rich people rich. 

So how do people of oppressed communities who have been fighting for their lives get people in positions of power to listen, understand, and strive for the same change? 

It’s a tough one, but a lot of times people don’t shift perspectives until they have an ‘it happened to me’ moment. 

When the Tower shows up in a reading, we know off the bat that massive, life-altering changes are happening. When the card presents itself upright, that energy is abundant and in our face, sometimes we get lost in the chaos and don’t actually know how to make the changes we need. Sometimes we sink into victim mindset, which keeps us in suffering, sometimes it feels safer to stay in the suffering than to sit uncomfortably with the changes at hand. The Tower brings extreme upheaval; it's what happens when we don't take the opportunity to make shifts in our life so the universe pushes us to the point of no return: it all falls apart.

When the Tower reverses, we are able to tackle these feelings of chaotic shifting. For many years, and especially right now, there is a huge shift in mindset happening on a collective consciousness level. We’re still very emotionally un-evolved as a collective, but we’re making slow movements, not without setbacks and relapses, thus this healing doesn’t happen overnight. 

Right now I’m thinking about how concrete transformative changes are made in our culture and society; so much of the time changes are only made when white people get on board, when celebrities or cis people or those with large social capital get on board. 

Right now I’m thinking about the pain of gun violence and how gun violence has been an active issue since guns were brought to the US during colonisation. Gun violence has been an epidemic before Kent State, before Columbine, before Sandy Hook. It’s not to minimise the pain of those mass shootings, but to point towards what black folks have been saying for years upon years: stop shooting. 

From reading social media posts and talking with our friends and families, we can see the anger and hurt around whose voices are listened to and whose voices are not. Yes, it is absolutely important that the youth from Parkland are being heard on a global level, but it’s also important to listen to the voices that have been yelling in protest for years, like black voices after Mike Brown’s death, Indigenous voices after guns were drawn at Standing Rock. 

Dante Berry from Million Hoodies said in a HuffPost article, '“The way people are responding to predominantly white communities is notable: Whose movement is more valuable to support?” he added. “Other communities that have been devastated by gun violence are still fighting for crumbs.”'

Today I saw this Tweet and a light bulb went off— 

 Image: A Tweet by @Mikel_Jollett: "Dear white parents: You know that terrifying active shooter conversation you have to have with your kids that makes you feel outraged at how unsafe our country has become? Every black parent in America has to have that talk with their kids about COPS."

Image: A Tweet by @Mikel_Jollett: "Dear white parents: You know that terrifying active shooter conversation you have to have with your kids that makes you feel outraged at how unsafe our country has become? Every black parent in America has to have that talk with their kids about COPS."

To understand someone’s pains and fears, why do we need to also feel that pain and fear in order to believe it's true? That seems to be what the message is: gun violence is only a problem when it’s affecting white children, though gun violence has been a strategic force in occupying land and asserting power over people of colour for centuries, both in the US and abroad. For white people to ‘get on board’ with creating a shift in gun violence, something relatable and ‘close to home’ must happen on a large scale and it’s not police violence, it’s school shootings.  

The Tweet above is the perfect example of this: black parents have been talking with their children about guns, police, and military violence from day one. White parents haven’t had to do that. On an energetic level, school shootings are the most confronting and terrifying way to shake the masses into unpacking the privilege of ignoring how black, indigenous and other people of colour are killed by police every day.

It’s hard to reckon with the idea that myself and fellow white people couldn’t have just listened to black people decades and centuries ago in order to take action, but instead proceeded to stay doubting the acts of militarised violence against people of colour as systemic racism and rather comfortably use stereotypes as scapegoats.

In our law of attraction universe, white people are in alignment with gun violence, as perpetrators, victims, and survivors. We need to use the shifting energy of the Tower to expand past demanding change for the process of acquiring guns and look to dismantling and disarming police, security, border control, and the military industrial complex. 

We need to engage with empathy without needing to have an ‘it happened to me’ moment. Empathy is part of our work of healing on an individual level, it’s part of our personal responsibility in the expansion of emotional intelligence on the collective level. Empathy impacts the world because it allows us to step away from dis-connection and into connection, to engage with feelings of understanding and not pity. 

The Tower reversed is asking us to get real with our perspectives and shift the gut wrenching beliefs we've become so accustomed to. This means looking at our white privilege, our class privilege, our straight, cis, body, status privileges. This means questioning why we need to see ourselves in situations of tragedy in order to to be angry by the structures of systemic violence. If we're going to scream and shout for gun control then we must scream and shout for all the ways that guns are used to control and dominate. 

 
 Image: from  @theunapologeticallybrownseries : "Police brutality is gun violence Gun control must hold the state accountable"

Image: from @theunapologeticallybrownseries: "Police brutality is gun violence Gun control must hold the state accountable"

Cover photo via Unsplash

Nic Alea