As I gathered with my students this week to celebrate the upcoming holiday season, I tried so hard to keep my spirits up. I think I managed to look merry as I opened their little gifts, gave them each some “hugs and kisses” (the chocolate kind!) and cleaned out our desks and cubbies for the vacation.
But my heart wasn’t in it. My heart can’t seem to lift no matter what I do. I am sitting here now, looking at my Christmas tree, getting ready to celebrate with my family, thinking about my kids, and still my heart feels like lead.
Like the lead that bullets are made of, I guess.
I can’t get the images of those little ones out of my mind. I can’t stop imagining their last moments. I can’t stop picturing their classroom.
And I can’t turn down the rage and fear that I am feeling toward those who continue to buy into the vicious, deadly lies told by the leaders of the NRA.
I can’t stop myself from formulating arguments to counter each self serving statement that comes from their lips. I am screaming in my soul, in my heart, and it hurts to keep it inside.
So here I am. Hoping that if I share a couple of my thoughts with you, those powerful raging emotions will give me a few hours of peace in which to hold my family close and try to feel the love that I know we share.
I have two analogies that I think might make good answers to two of the most egregious lies of the NRA.
Lie number one: “I have a right to protect myself from criminals. And I want to use these deadly weapons, even if they put all of you at risk.”
Here’s my thought on that one. I drive 70 miles a day to and from my job. I drive on a crowded, narrow, badly out of date highway where aggressive drivers in trucks and SUVs routinely cut me off at 75 mph. I have seen no fewer than 5 fatal accidents in the 19 years that I have been driving that road, and have been delayed by multiple-car accidents more times than I can count. I would like to drive a Sherman tank to work from now on.
After all, the Second Amendment states that “the people’s right to bear arms shall not be infringed”. As the NRA points out, it does not specify what “arms” it means; surely an armored vehicle would qualify.
Lie number two: “Putting an armed officer in every school will protect the kids and teachers from ‘bad guys with guns'”.
Sure it will.
I am picturing the one cop, with his gun in his holster, wearing his standard issue uniform, sitting in a chair in the lobby. Along comes the psycho with the military weapon, all loaded up and ready to fire 800 bullets a minute. He’s wearing full body armor, and he knows there’s an armed cop in the doorway. Before the cop can even stand up, he lies dead and the gunman has moved on to the front office.
The analogy that comes to mind is a flashback to the 1950’s. That was the time when our government decided that the only way to protect us from bad guys with nukes was to make sure that we were the good guys with more nukes. Even though a nuclear war would have annihilated all of us in 20 minutes, kids and teachers were told to huddle under their desks and put their arms over their heads. Everyone knew it was pointless, but it made the people in charge feel better.
It was stupid then, and its stupid now.
We can’t stop people from feeling violent rages, we just can’t. All the background checks in the world won’t help. And here’s how I know that:
I have no criminal or mental health record of any kind. I could easily pass the most stringent background check. And yet, if I found myself in a room with the NRA President and a baseball bat, I would not hesitate to take a big swing at his head.
Good thing I’m not carrying a Bushmaster rifle, isn’t it?