From Guns to Garden Tools: Turning Fear into Hope for Change | New

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MADISON (WKOW) — Author and lawyer Shane Claiborne came to Grace Episcopal Church on Saturday afternoon to hold an event in response to rising gun violence in Madison.

“It’s all really centered around this idea that change is possible,” Claiborne said.

Named after his book ‘Beating Guns’, Claiborne hosted ‘Beating Guns in Madison’ where he invited people who have lost loved ones to gun violence to speak and then turn gun scrap to fire in gardening tools.

“It’s a way of honoring the grief and pain of people who have been impacted by gun violence,” Claiborne said. “Centering their stories and allowing that to inspire us to think about the changes we need to make in our own hearts and in our gun policies.”

Claiborne took this keynote across the country to take machines designed to kill and create tools that are used to make life easier.

“It gives me hope,” Lashae Jackson said. “It lets me know that there are people who care about the gun violence happening in the city.”

Lashea Jackson and Wendy Thompson lead a group of parents who have been impacted by gun violence and it’s a cause close to both women’s hearts.

Jackson’s son died four years ago after being shot.

Thompson’s son was shot six months ago.

The two are sharing their stories to raise awareness about gun violence in Madison and to put a face and a beating heart to the issue.

“Trying to educate the community about the gun violence that’s been on the rise in Madison lately,” Thompson said. “It also gives us a bit more hope for our children, our younger children. Knowing that we are trying to come together to make a difference and change things, if possible.”

“I’ve been here since 1992,” Jackson said. “And gun violence has most certainly escalated.”

“I can say that too and I’ve been here since 2011,” Thompson said.

“When it gets personal, it really affects us,” Claiborne said. “And so, it’s not just a problem for me. The problem has names and faces.”

Claiborne is passionate about creating change, but knows that no one has ever had to change their minds. Thus, he invites people to listen to testimonies like those of Jackson and Thompson to understand the humanity behind the debate.

“I think we have to find common ground,” Claiborne said. “And where I would find common ground is with the 75% of gun owners who want change. And then let’s talk about what those changes are.”

If you have a weapon that you no longer want and would like it to be turned into a gardening tool, you can send your information to the blacksmith network at RAWtools.

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