Swords to Ploughshares
The basic structure uses palm fronds, a symbol of peace, like a root structure, returning the gun parts to what they were before they were made to be a weapons. Things are cyclical, and are transformed to another form. I remember these words from the song, “Down by the Riverside”, singing it at family gatherings, in the streets and in churches from the biblical passage Isaiah 2:3 says… “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they study war anymore.” Truly, the weapons themselves must be laid down and transformed to a useful tool. Lao Tzu said “We should blunt our sharp points, and unravel the complications of things; we should temper our brightness, and bring ourselves into agreement with the obscurity of others.” Our pride obscures our ability to see each other as human beings with deep faults that need to be solved together for the long cycle rather than what seems to be simple quick solutions. A Bondei proverb says Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. We need more mediators than weapons, more skill development and teaching the skill to work together rather than against one another. Less weapons of many kinds used against each other to hurt and more skills developed to make more bundles.
Why! (Is it easier to get a gun than an education, a gun instead of help?)
One of the first things a mother of a murder victim cries is “Why!” This piece was made to bring those mothers’ cries to our ears. The names are of those who were murdered in the New Orleans area from January 1, 2014 through September 17, 2014. This is a cry for us all to hear, that guns are a problem, but the greater problem is our inability to understand our humanity, live out our values and understand that we are only as strong as our weakest. To solve the problem of violence is to have everyone play a role in helping all understand their value and responsibility as part of our community and neighborhoods.