A few years ago, on what would have been her and John Lennon’s 44th wedding anniversary, Yoko Ono tweeted a photo of the her husband’s bloodied glasses to promote gun control laws. I remember seeing pictures of Ono photographing the glasses against the skyline view from her apartment and thinking: This is her way of dealing with immense loss and shock.  Nearly four decades later that powerful image would become part of an anti-gun campaign bearing the message: Over 1,057,000 people have been killed by guns in the U.S.A. since John Lennon was shot and killed on December 8, 1980.


It is impossible to know what loss due to extraordinary violence feels like if you haven’t experienced it. I have gotten a glimpse over the past months as friends have struggled to deal with the murder of their beloved niece Becca, one of the 1,057,000+ mentioned in Ono’s tweet. Charlie Allenson took his own step toward healing by writing about it in Huffington Post recently. The Car in the Lot is a potent 573 words worth of essential reading, a unique and eloquent view of what such loss is like.

We wonder how Charlie’s words will resonate, how they will work to make people SEE how close-to-home this kind of violence can be, where they will take him on the difficult path he never imagined being on. We believe that, like Ono’s image, Charlie’s words have the power to shift people’s view, and in doing so catalyze change.

In the meantime, the Beeps Foundation has been set up in his niece’s name —Beeps was Becca Eldemire’s nickname— to further the work she wanted to do: foster a peaceful and sustainable world. In its infancy, it has just funded two paid internships on the farm Becca worked on. We invite you to donate to Beeps.

gun violence Becca Eldemire

We hope for a future where this poster will no longer have meaning.


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4 replies on “573 Essential Words about Gun Violence (Charlie Allenson + Yoko Ono)

  1. Sally,

    Thank you for this post. I can’t begin to tell how much it means to see our niece Becca’s beliefs and visions carried on.



  2. Sally,

    We are honored by your words about my daughter’s dream of a peaceful and sustainable environment for all. I know Becca would be honored to have been mentioned in the same article as Yoko Ono whom she greatly admired for carrying on John’s legacy of love and peace.

    A million thanks from our family and the BEEPS Foundation!
    With love,
    Marlene Eldemire

  3. Thank you so much, Marlene.
    John Lennon’s legacy resonates still as I have no doubt Becca’s will. The photo of her speaks volumes, and Charlie’s description even more, of her work and way. She was clearly a force and a light.

    Words seem inadequate in the face of such loss (I have amended and rewritten the piece about her in my head a number of times looking for better ways to say what is in my heart.) But I believe that words like Charlie’s, and actions, like creating the BEEPS Foundation or Ono tweeting that photograph, are ways of antidoting the extraordinary violence and darkness that runs through our society. And in that way, we go on.

    I am HONORED to have been able to write about Becca on Improvised Life and will mull ways to do more for BEEPS. In the meantime, I join with Improvised Life’s amazing community in wishing you and your family healing and peace.

    Love, Sally

  4. Charlie did the real work, Harriet, with his piece for Huffington Post. I would have loved to have met her.
    I am mulling ways to get the word out about Beeps Foundation…

    Love to you both,


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