“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness…”. Powerful opening lines for a novel written in 1859. I wish it didn’t also depict America 2018. Yesterday, on what is usually a happy fun day, Valentine’s Day, 17 children lost their lives at the hands of a kid using a semi-automatic assault rifle. The bullets for assault rifles are meant to pierce helmets at 500 yards. What they do to an unprotected child’s body at much closer range is rip them into little bits of body parts. This is the same rifle used at Sandy Hook on 2nd graders. And on concert goers in Las Vegas. And on people having fun in a nightclub. I loathe and detest the disgusting politicians tweeting their asinine “thoughts and prayers” while continuing to pocket money from that bloated gun club the NRA to do nothing to change it. It’s blood money. Body parts of kids who were just going to school on Valentine’s day money, and those who take that money are flat-out cowards and sycophants of the worst variety.
In 1929, in Chicago, 7 men were gunned down in another Valentines Day Massacre. It was horrific back then, and now? Now it seems like we are getting used to it. This is the 18th mass shooting in American THIS YEAR. We’ve only had 44 days so far this year. Thompson machine guns were used to murder in Chicago 89 years ago. Same principle, slay as many people as possible in a short time with big bullets. 89 years later we’ve just upgraded the hardware and downgraded the ages of the victims. If you are inclined to drag out an antiquated portion of the Constitution to justify this barbaric, preventable behavior, I recommend you first perhaps do a bit of research into what happens to people shot with these things, and secondly go look at all the other countries who have managed to regulate the sale and use of these weapons and have NO school shootings or mass shootings of any kind. It’s only us — the great US of A. There is an argument that our schools would be safer if weaponize our teachers and give them tactical training. Really? Do you want your kids and grandkids growing up in an environment of fear layered on top of fear and gun on top of gun to the extent that the United States of American devolves into a Totalitarian state? Numb them even further into thinking that the current deathly reality is “normal”. This is not normal!
As I talked with people at the swim meet I was volunteering at yesterday about this, I was struck that many of them had the attitude of “Well, can’t do anything about it, those weapons are out there now”. Yes they are. But doesn’t it make sense to at least stop the flow? At least for semi-automatic and automatic weapons. You can’t convince me that anyone needs that kind of weapon for personal use unless you are in a war or a police officer. That would be the first step. Sorry rifle manufacturers, yep its true, your job will disappear, just like the folks’ job it was to make buggy whips. Secondly, require mandatory refresher courses for all gun owners (just like we have for driving a car) so they can keep the weapon and license. If people don’t comply or pass, they then need to take a class or surrender their weapon. It seems pretty straightforward. It actually creates jobs. Why is this too hard, too big to manage? I refuse to sit down, shut up and pretend nothing is wrong with our current gun ‘policies’. I truly have nothing against hunting, or guns in general. I have lots of friends who are responsible gun owners. My husband and my boys both love shooting, and have learned to do so safely and sanely.
I’d recommend the 3rd leg of a gradual shift to making this better is to get Mental Health programs provided in more places at more ages with adequate funding and staffing (more job creation!). There are a lot of people in this world barely holding it together. On some days I feel the same way. If we’re being honest, I think most of us can use a bit of help at times in our life, and gather tools to help us out when the world feels hopelessly black and our inner pain seems unbearable. Do I think these steps would stop all the crazy? No, but I do think better is better. And we can certainly do and be better. We can.
If you, like me, are done with sitting and not doing anything as screaming parents realize their child is one of the ones ripped to shreds by an arsenal driven forward from an agenda by a bloated gun club looking for profits, here are 3 organizations that fight gun violence:
Thank you to my friend Sally Nemeth for those links. From my friend Jodi Jones who posted my featured image on her page: you can text READY to 64433 which helps out the Moms/Everytown organization.