Saturday, December 15, 2012

How many times?

Grief eyeI hesitated to even write about this, because I think it’s still very raw for a lot of people. I had CNN on for about two minutes today, and I couldn’t stomach it. I’ve read a few things online, but have generally stayed away from the subject.

I also hesitated to write about gun violence because I’ve written about it before, here.

And here.

And again, here.

I’m tired of writing about it. I’m tired of being outraged after another violent attack using guns, ranting about it here, saying that something needs to be done...and nothing ever gets done. I feel like I’m beating my head against a brick wall, shouting into a void, taking over Sisyphus’s job and pushing that boulder up the hill, over and over and OVER. I’m tired of it.

This time it was kids. Twenty kids. All of them either 6 or 7 years old. When I was 6 years old, I was playing on swings, riding my tricycle, running around outside like a little crazy person, and asking for a G.I. Joe for Christmas. These kids will never know the joy of such play. Because they’re dead. Twenty dead kids. Jesus fuck, people, what is wrong with us? Even harder to wrap my mind around is the kids who witnessed this. You’ve probably seen the picture of the police leading the little kids across a parking lot, some of them crying, all of them looking frightened. The one that really got to me was the little boy with his hands up to his face, a look of disbelief and horror in his eyes, as a little girl stood there with her arm around him and her head down. The dead children were robbed of their lives; the survivors have been robbed of their innocence. Life kicks the shit out of all of us, but it generally happens over a period of years, giving us time to come to terms and assimilate it into our broader worldview. A 6-year-old witnessing his or her friends shot multiple times has precious few tools to cope with such a thing. There is no perspective, no years of experience, no context, no philosophy, little ability to comprehend the sheer insanity of such a thing (if that is even possible). I don’t know about you, but if I saw one of my friends take a bullet to the brain, I would be horrified, and it would fuck me up. Can you imagine what it would be like for a 6-year-old?

Cry me a riverI’ve done my best to stay out of any discussions about this on Facebook, because I sensed my potential to absolutely lose it. One person was arguing that the problem was that the shooter lacked “interpersonal communication skills.” Mike “The Huckster” Huckabee said that it was because we’ve taken God out of our schools. Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said that now is not the time to have this discussion. I’m seeing the usual claptrap about how this is a “complicated issue.” I understand how issues can be complicated, nothing is black and white, only shades of grey...but
twenty dead kids? I’d say that’s pretty simple, wouldn’t you? I’m seeing the argument that the citizenry has a right to arm themselves against a government takeover. Really? You’re going to hold off the American military with a basement full of weapons? Tell me more about how you’re going to take down an Apache helicopter with your precious little arsenal. Please. I’m really interested to find out more.

President Obama, please force this discussion. Democrats, please introduce bills to ban assault weapons, high capacity clips, and armor-piercing bullets; introduce a bill to ensure that anyone wanting to buy a gun has to undergo a background check; introduce a bill to mandate a waiting period; introduce a bill to limit the amount of ammunition that an individual can buy. We limit how much freakin’ pseudoephedrine a person can buy...why can’t we do that for ammunition?

It’s time to stop just giving this issue—and it IS an issue—lip service and do something that will make a real difference. I tried a while back with a White House petition, and I didn’t get the 25,000 signatures needed to have them address it. There are new petitions up, and one is approaching 100,000 signatures, so it will be addressed by the White House. Maybe the time is right that something will finally, finally be done.

But it is an indictment on our country’s basic decency and sanity that it took twenty dead children to do it.