Legacy of Marjory Stoneman Douglas

There is always the need to carry on. – Marjory Stoneman Douglas

I had been writing about my childhood in Miami among the Seminole Indians when news came of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Synchronistically, the autobiography, Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Voice of the River, lay next to my computer, which I had been using as a reference and for inspiration. Having attended Florida schools through college, Marjory Stoneman Douglas was more than just a familiar name or historical figure. She was a force of a woman who never hid from brutal truths; a writer, poet, environmental activist, defender of social justice and crusader for women’s rights who had an enduring public life and lived to be 108 years old.

Marjory poetically described and fought to protect what is surely the strangest river in the world; the Everglades, a river of grass, and one of the most fragile ecosystems of the American landscape. Marjory was instrumental in helping us to understand why this unique and magnificent landscape was more than just a worthless swamp and why we needed to protect and restore it.

Mr. McKinney walked up to Watson slowly and said, “Watson, give me your gun.” Watson said, “I give my gun to no man,” and fired point-blank at McKinney… -- The Everglades: River of Grass, by Marjory Stoneman Douglas

In contemplating one of the world’s deadliest school massacres it would seem obvious that this is about much more than guns. Anyone capable of a soulless act is obviously mentally disturbed, but the brutal truth is we don’t understand mental illness, really, at least not like it is understood in China as a heart-mind disconnect, or in Native culture as “soul loss.” Shock, trauma and abuse creates a vicious cycle that is damaging to our hearts and results in the inability to decode symbolic language that gives meaning and purpose to our lives. It is why we need writers, artists and poets to keep this symbolic language alive.

Taking away the guns may treat one of the symptoms, but it won’t heal the underlying cause of disconnect from one another and the natural world from which we are inseparable: A disconnect that creates a lethal cocktail of drug and alcohol addiction, abuse, depression, disempowerment, shame and low self-worth. When you add anti-depressants and guns to an already lethal mix – you get incomprehensible violence, destruction and degradation of human and natural resources.

In Marjory’s story, Watson ends up dead, taken out by those who witnessed the encounter. We are the witness to the loss of hope for our future and we must heal from the trauma. Taking action as the students of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas are doing has the potential to create a historic movement for citizens’ rights against gun violence. The human landscape is not just a worthless swamp where a swamp creature occasionally crawls out to wreak death and destruction. It is a magnificent landscape worthy of protection and restoration.


Marjory Stoneman Douglas would be proud of these kids, Tampa Bay Times, Opinion Column by Jack E. Davis http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/Column-Marjory-Stoneman-Douglas-would-be-proud-of-these-kids_165737344

Sitting by the Well: Bringing the Feminine to Consciousness Through Language, Dreams, and Metaphor, by Marion Woodman, Audiobook by Sounds True


Heal Your Heart: The Fire Element a class with Thea Summer Deer at Wise Woman University

1 comment

  • Sandra Kolka
    Sandra Kolka
    This piece needs global circulation, Thea. Please don’t think I am critical of your other excellent writings, but IMHO this one seems dictated by an Angel. I wonder who?

    This piece needs global circulation, Thea. Please don’t think I am critical of your other excellent writings, but IMHO this one seems dictated by an Angel. I wonder who?

Add comment