My Terrible Truth


I try to write carefully on this blog. I try to be thoughtful, to be careful of what I say and how I say it.

I try not to be awful.

But I have learned a terrible, terrible truth today, and this post will focus on that fact. I am afraid that my words will not be chosen carefully today, because they are being lit by the fuse of this terrible truth.

I discovered today that if the circumstances were right, I could kill another human being.

I do not say this lightly. I have often wondered if I would be able to kill an animal if I had to do it in order to feed my family. I’ve never been sure.

I know that I could kill a fish, having done that more than once. I have no qualms about killing and eating a fresh, sweet clam.

If the dark days ever came and my grandkids were truly hungry, I think I could force myself to kill a duck or a turkey. But I doubt that I could ever, ever kill a deer. I can’t stand the thought of killing something so beautiful and so alive.

I see myself as a coward when it comes to taking life. I eat meat, and I don’t condemn those who hunt for food. Still, I have never believed that I myself could actually make the kill.

Until today, I was sure that nothing in the world could ever make me take the life of another human being.  I’ve never served in the military. I’ve never been in law enforcement.

I’m a gentle, tender hearted, nurturing mother figure. I have been a teacher, a speech therapist for disabled children, a mother, a nonni. I rock babies. I cook nutritious soups. I capture spiders and put them back outside.

I hate violence of any kind. I won’t watch violent shows or movies. Other than mosquitoes, I don’t kill anything.

So today, as I sat rocking my 8 month old grandson in my arms, watching the winter afternoon drift by, I thought of myself as a giver of life. A giver of life and tenderness and understanding.

As I sat breathing in the sweet baby smell of my little Johnny’s hair, I didn’t expect the terrible truth to assault me the way that it did.

But the news was on.

And I saw yet another public school surrounded by swat teams, and armored vehicles and men in combat gear. I saw even more children running out of their classrooms with their arms in the air.

Another school shooting. The 18th in the past 6 weeks? The 19th? We are nearly at one a day!

“Again?!” I gasped out loud. “Again??!!!”

I held Johnny tighter. I thought about his mother, my daughter, my child. She is a teacher. She trusts me to keep her babies safe while she nurtures and cares for other people’s children. I am so incredibly afraid for her!

I thought of my former colleagues, at the school where I taught for two decades. I am afraid for them.

I am afraid for every child in this country who kisses their momma goodbye and gets on that big yellow bus.

And as I rocked my baby boy and cried into the softness of his silky hair, I was hit, hard, by the realization that I would happily, joyfully, gleefully blow the fucking heads off of those who have allowed this country to become a place where public schools are shot up every single week.

I tried to stop that thought. It goes against every instinct that I have to harbor such violent wishes.

But you know what?

Just once, just this once, I wish that I could use the complete lack of gun control to satisfy my own desire to protect our teachers and our children.

If I had the guts…..no, let’s be honest….if I had the opportunity… to be in the presence of Wayne LaPierre (head of the NRA), any NRA lobbyist, or any of the members of Congress who have taken money from the gun whores of the NRA…..

I would happily take my legally obtained AR-15 and cheerily insert it directly into the open mouth of any one of them. I would pull the trigger with a sense of relief and pleasure. I would step over the ugly mess that their brains and skull bones made as they were spattered on the nearby wall.

Then I’d offer their families my thoughts and prayers and deepest condolences.

9a150b743027258627c044efd5296340

The face of a killer…in the right circumstances.

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33 thoughts on “My Terrible Truth

  1. I commented on your last post about a school shooting from my home in New Zealand. Now I am sitting in my hotel room in Santa Cruz also watching the news in disbelief. People saying the only answer is armed security at every school, minimal entrances to a school, armed teachers. Your leadership tweeting no child or teacher should feel unsafe at school – that shouldn’t even have to be articulated. Ever. Unless you live in an active war zone maybe.

    We have sent five children off to school and our five year old grand-daughter excitedly started last week. Wouldn’t even cross my mind that she wouldn’t be safe at school. Your country is so, so beautiful but I’m sorry, I am looking forward to getting on the plane and going home. I don’t know what to say but understand what has led you to posting this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • For the first time, I am truly ashamed of what this country has become. If I lived anywhere other than here, I’d never send my child to study in the States. Isn’t that awful?
      I hope you had a good time here. I hope that you met some wonderful people. But I completely understand your desire to get home. Safe travels!

      Liked by 4 people

      • Thanks! Yes I have met lovely people and have had some fantastic experiences, but I do find it hard to relax here to be honest.
        Somehow what should be an extremely rare occurrence has been normalised and I’m not sure how you get back from here.
        Our youngest wanted to study overseas and we actively discouraged him from applying to places like Harvard and MIT. He ended up at Cambridge in the U.K. They have their own issues there, but I never worry he will be confronted by a unwell individual with an assault rifle on campus.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t want to listen to some self righteous gun advocate offer his condolences and prayers to those who lost loved ones today either. The first time I heard that expression today my first thought was to wonder if the speaker was a gun advocate. The possibility rather repulsed me.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. There are so many wonderful things about this country, and the amazing opportunities it offers. My mother’s father, an upholsterer with an eighth-grade education, watched me graduate from Yale eight months before he died. My father’s father was a baker with even less education. If they’d stayed in the “Old Country,” I wouldn’t have had the life I’ve had. In fact, I wouldn’t have had any life at all because of the Holocaust. I truly thank God every day that I’m an American.
    But the gun thing is horribly fucked up, and I don’t see it getting fixed. I really thought all the dead six-year-olds at Sandy Hook would do it, would have to do it, but nothing changed.
    I can’t imagine what tonight is like for the parents of the children lost today.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I share a lot of your history, and your perspective. My two grandfathers came here with no education at all (one went to third grade, the other only went to school once in a while for two years.) Both came here as laborers, both taught themselves English. My maternal grandfather taught himself to read in both Italian and English and was one of the most widely well read people I have ever known. Together the two families have produced doctors, lawyers, college professors, teachers, engineers….The thing is, I don’t think that the same opportunities are true from those who come without education today.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Karen, my dear, I totally understand.
    I am against the death penalty, against war, against killing in general, although I admit that I had previously thought that there were, in fact, limited times I could kill (with extreme regret), such as only killing someone to protect my family and loved ones against an immediate threat, or, yes, to protect kids who were being threatened by a gunman.
    But at this point, I am ready to construct a guillotine and a tumbrel (although I’m a farmer and we could use our hay wagon instead of a tumbrel).
    The NRA, and the politicians who take money from and kowtow to the NRA, are complicit and have blood on their hands. I am beyond sick and tired of the “thoughts and prayers” thing. They are hypocrites, they’re only saying this because they think it’s expected of them. If they actuall gave a sh!t about people’s lives, they would damned well DO SOMETHING about gun control (sorry for the shouting).
    We are a sick, sick society at this point.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I think that we all need to join together. We need to replace the “moment of silence” with a moment of “screaming rage.” We need to take to the streets with signs that ask, “How do you sleep at night?” We need to get ourselves OUT there.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A few years ago I spent 10 days in the US, Michigan, travelling to, participating in, and travelling from a music festival. The whole time, even during the festival which was on private land and about as safe as you could be, I felt an undercurrent of tension that I wasn’t really aware of until I crossed back over the border to Canada. It took me a while to figure it out. It was the knowledge that anyone, usually a man, might have a gun on him, and no matter what I did or how vigilant I was, I was never really safe.
    There are, as you say, many, many wonderful things and people in your country, but they will never outweigh that knowledge.

    Like

  6. I’m not sure that I share all of your sentiments except deep, deep sorrow for these families, extreme relief that in two weeks my child will never again enter a high school, and absolute fear for my grandchildren just beginning. The solutions on all sides seem long, drawn out, and complicated – so much fighting and name-calling and pointing fingers. It feels hopeless. I’m thankful though that the goodness of ordinary people prevails despite the evil that surrounds us every day.

    Like

  7. The only legitimate purpose of any elected government is to serve the best interests of the people, but in the US, and many other places, governments have been serving the interests of the big corporations and their lobbyists. This gun control issue is just another symptom of that greater disease. People who are making fat profits from selling guns, don’t want a few kids getting slaughtered to interfere with their bottom line. People who are making fat profits from selling oil, don’t want global warming to put an end to their bonanza.

    Yet the people are partially to blame, because they voted for the chump Trump, and the nest of vipers he calls his “administration”. If people want better, then everyone needs to start demanding better, and none to quietly either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely 100% agree with you on all counts. We are stuck in this mess until there is serious campaign finance reform. And when might that be???? My pitchfork is sharpened and ready.

      Like

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