Gun Violence is Out of Control in the United States

Last week, I wrote about the tragic shooting targeting the LGBTIQQ community in Colorado Springs, CO. I did a meditation and sent the community some healing energy.  And just right before Thanksgiving, we (the United States) endured another shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia.  In the latter shooting, the NY times reported that the supervisor of a group of employees working the night shift shot and killed 6 of those employees, in the break room (
            Though the motives of these crimes may have been different, with the Colorado Springs, CO shooting being a hate crime, these two events obviously have one thing in common, which is gun violence.  Earlier this year, we witnessed a horrific shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and 21 people, mostly children, were murdered as a result ( 
            Sitting here now, writing this, I feel numb again. Last week, I wrote about feeling numb when reading and hearing the news in Colorado, Springs, CO. This quickly gave way to a mix of other emotions, like sadness and hopelessness. I feel hopeless now that we will ever have any gun control laws in this country.  And now, I feel angry. I feel so angry. What is happening in this country? How frequent to the shootings must get in order for something to change? If you are reading this, do you feel desperation as well?
            Now, nowhere is now safe to go. Not an elementary school, not a movie theater, not a church, not even a Walmart. (I went to Walmart just a few weeks ago to get art supplies with my kids, too). Daily, I think I deal with this by employing some very primitive defense mechanisms, such as avoidance, and denial.  I simply try not to think about the fact that a shooting could happen anywhere.  I tell myself things like “It won’t happen here” (faulty logic I am using, since it could). I try to go about my daily life as usual and try to “move on” after another senseless shooting. But that is surmounting to be such a poor way to cope thought yet another shooting.
            Which gets me to the fact that this country needs stronger gun control.  I know that I am preaching to the choir here. Often, the pro-2nd Amendment advocated use the argument that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  The fact is, so many people who need mental health treatment in this country are not getting it. Society is alienating people. I see that. And yet, we need some measure of safety checks so that people who are so deeply entrenched in their pain are not able to unleash their pain in the form of gun violence on others. Something must change.
            I feel defeated and hopeless right now that anything will change. And apropos above, I am still angry. However, I know that if I stay in this place, I will just feel worse. So, I am going to meditate today and send energy to the U.S. House of Representatives, and to the U.S. Senate, that they pass national gun control legislation. As always, I will turn to jazz as well. I hope I feel better, and that if you join me, that you do, too.

Meditation for Gun Control Legislation

I did this meditation and it helped me to feel better. In this meditaiton, we will:

-Send positive energy to Congress in the hopes they pass gun control legislation

-Send intentional energy that all citizens are able to access mental health services

Jazz Therapy Playlist and Musical Commentary

This week, we will celebrate the music of the piano, as it is the birthday of the American pianist Wynton Kelly, as well as the American pianist/composer/arranger, Billy Strayhorn. Both are heroes in the jazz world. It was truly a gift for me to dive deeper into their music to choose the songs for this week.

Emotional Dwelling (To Mirror Your Mood)

“I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good,” Johnny Hodges with Billy Strayhorn and The Orchestra, Verve, 1962.

This album is stellar, with alto sax player Hodges at the top of his game. Billy Strayhorn is the arranger and the conductor; it is his vision which is brought to life on this album.  The song is bluesy and conveys the essence of longing and sadness.  This embodies how I feel about the current situation regarding gun control in this country.

Emotional Elevation (To Feel Better)

“Take The A Train,” Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Duke Ellington Songbook, 1957.

Since this tune is an Ellington/Strayhorn composition, I thought we needed none other than Ella to bring us up with her truly fabulous rendition of this song.  She sings, she scats, and she soothes our soul.  She brings us back to life here.  Try listening to this without cracking a smile, snapping your fingers, or moving a little bit, and I will personally buy you an ice cream cone 😊

Emotional Reverie (To Dream and Remember)

“Pfrancing,” Someday My Prince Will Come, Miles Davis, 1951.

This song features Miles on Trumpet, Hank Mobley, and Wynton Kelly on piano.  I chose this song since there is something so dreamy about it.  It is a Miles original composition.  Around the 3min mark, we hear a jovial, ebullient solo from Kelly.  Here, he shows us what he can do as a soloist and as a member of this fine grouping.

Emotional Innovation (To Experience Something New)

“I’ve Found A New Baby,” New Faces, New Sounds, Wynton Kelly Piano Interpretations, 1951

I chose this unique piece since it shows off the technical skills of Wynton Kelly, with him playing at a rapid pace with a swingin’ rytthm.  It is new and unique sound. I think this is kind of what we need when it comes to gun violence.  We need gun control, background checks, more research on gun violence, more access to mental health for everyone, etc ( We need SOMETHING NEW. 

Jazz Birthdays Each week, we will highlight birthdays of jazz performers around the world.  We are grateful they exist!

Billy Strayhorn, November 29th (November 29, 1915 – May 31, 1967)

One of the unsung heroes and giants of jazz, he was a pianist, composer, arranger, and conductor.  He worked closely with Duke Ellington and they were creative co-collaborators.  Known to be mild-mannered, his legacy on jazz is immeasurable.

Wynton Kelly, December 2nd (December 2, 1931 – April 12, 1971

This incredible American jazz pianist played with all of the big names in jazz, and passed away tragically at only age 39.  He could play in the best ensembles, and hold his own beautifully as a soloist as well.

Call for Poetry

Are you a poet? We are accepting submissions for our weekly “Poetry Play” portion of the “Jazz Therapy” newsletter! Your poem could be about jazz, civil rights, or any current event/theme that might go along with each newsletter. You will get free publicity and appreciative eyes from the readers of “Jazz Therapy!” I haven’t received any submissions yet, but please do reach out!!!

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