“I am shocked at this terrible tragedy.”


Uzi_of_the_israeli_armed_forces

I am absolutely shocked that such a terrible tragedy has happened in Aurora, Newtown,Columbine,Tucson,Orlando, Las Vegas. This is a small, tight knit community! Everyone knows everyone else in this town.  No one EVER expected something like this to happen here! This is something that happens somewhere else, not in OUR town.

It is just unbelievable that a young man could so easily obtain a Bushmaster, Uzi,Glock, pistol, automatic weapon “long gun” and simply walk right into a church,kindergarten,high school, movie theater, Community College, hotel room and start shooting.

The nation mourns with those who have lost children, parents, sisters, brothers, friends in this senseless event.  We will join in the usual round of candlelight vigils, handwringing and moaning with all of you.

We know that Newtown, Littleton, Aurora, Tucson, Charleston, Blacksburg, Roseberg, Orlando, Las Vegas are strong.  They will come together to heal from this terrible event and will support each other as they seek to make sense of the horrific tragedy.

We offer our sympathy, prayers, solidarity and endless hours of TV coverage to those who are grieving.

Apparently what we don’t offer is the slightest attempt to take the guns off the streets.

Until next time, please feel free to use the above script when reacting to the slaughter of innocents in the United States.

If you’d like to do something slightly more proactive, please click on one of the links below.

Moms Demand Action

Gun Sense Voter

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Searching for detachment


You know how you can get a song stuck on your mind, and it plays over and over and over and over, day and night, no matter how hard you try to erase it?  Well, this is kind of like that.

You know how it is when you have a sore tooth, or a canker sore, or a spot on your cheek where you bit down unexpectedly, and now it is all swollen and painful?  You know how, when that happens, you can’t stop your tongue from prodding and probing and making the pain worse?  Well.  This is just like that.

I can’t seem to let it go. I can’t force myself to stop poking that sore spot, to stop probing the painful, erupting lesion that is the gun violence issue.

See, I’m a teacher.  I’m a mother.  I made a choice almost thirty years ago to dedicate my life to taking care of children.  It’s just what I do.

How can I step back and stop thinking about the threats that face my kids every single day?

I can’t.  So I lie awake in my bed and I poke and I prod and I toss and I turn and I tremble.  I cannot make myself turn it off.

As I try to fall asleep, I find myself arguing with those who declare with confidence that “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”   I find myself shaking my head as it lies on my pillow, and I hear my cry of rage as I try to explain that “People with fucking GUNS kill people!”

I stand under the hot shower spray, trying to relax and get ready for my day. I try to clear my mind, but I can. Not. Do. It.  I can’t disconnect my heart and my brain from the problem that is giving me such pain.  Instead of enjoying the warmth, I stand there in the steamy heat and argue as hard as I can against those who claim that they have a fundamental “right” to carry any weapon they want to carry, no matter who will die because of their choice.

I am sleepless and irritable.  I am impatient and tired and weepy.  My blood pressure needs me to step back.  My crazy arrhythmic heart needs me to detach from the insanity.  I am just an aging fifth grade teacher. I need to let other people fight this fight.

But I can’t do it.

I find myself caught in the amazingly circular illogic of the “gun rights” argument.   I find myself speechless, my jaws agape, my eyes bulging in disbelief as I listen to the arguments of the NRA and its supporters.

I won’t go into all of the nonsense now; I can’t!  My brain will surely explode if I try.  Instead, I will focus on the one unbelievable argument that has kept me spinning for the past two weeks.  Its an argument that I have read on line, heard on talk radio, and seen on TV.  But most incredibly to me, it is an argument that I have heard from some of my closest relations.

It is an argument that has been made to me by people who are former military and who right now work for, wait for it…..

The US Government.

What makes this so shocking?  Well, when I ask the question (over and over and over again) “Why on earth would anyone need a military grade assault weapon whose only purpose is to kill as many people as possible in as little time as possible?”  the answer that I keep getting is that the weapons are necessary “In case the government becomes a tyrannical dictatorship who intends to take away all of our rights!  We must rebel! We must fight back!”

Uh.  You mean you intend to use your weapon to murder government agents? Like, your colleagues in the government? Your gonna kill them?

You mean that you plan to rise up and use violence to oppose laws with which you disagree?

Scuse me?  How is this not domestic terrorism?   How is this not criminal?

How is it that every single government official isn’t standing right up in their tax-payer -supported seats and shouting out, “Hey! If you threaten to kill government officials, you are EXACTLY the kind of people who we all agree should never have weapons!”

How the hell is this kind of talk even allowed?

I don’t get it.

So I stay awake all night trying to wrench it all into a shape that makes some kind of sense.

A few years ago my children, all young adults, joined in the Occupy Wall Street movement.  They went to New York, they held up some poorly painted cardboard signs, and they walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Traffic was slowed down, and the marchers all got arrested. As in, “sent to jail for walking across the bridge.” Some of the people who observed this activity accused my non-violent, chanting, singing children of being “unpatriotic”.  They said, “If you don’t like this country, why don’t you leave?!”

Now we have thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of citizens who state publicly that they fully intend to use their weapons to mow down any federal agent who tries to enforce any law that they deem to be “tyranny”.

I notice that they are not being arrested. They are not being called “unpatriotic”, although I can’t imagine anything less patriotic than what they are screaming.  They are not being put on watch lists, or “you shouldn’t have a gun because you’re a threat” lists.  They aren’t being told to “leave” even though they clearly fear and hate the country in which they live.

So I don’t get it.

I can’t stop tossing and turning and poking my tongue into the wound that was left after Tucson and Aurora and Sandy Hook.  I try, but I can’t let it go.

See, I am not particularly afraid of my government.

But I am scared to death of the people who want to use 800 rounds from their Bushmasters to express their political opinions.

Where is the public outcry?

Are we ready??!?


 

So.

Are we ready yet?

After yet another mass killing by a bad guy with guns, are we ready?

After more kids have been terrorized and more innocent Americans have been killed, after yet another angry citizen decided to shoot up a group of average people in a seemingly safe place, are we finally ready to ask the question?

“Should we try to put some limits on the guns that people can legally wield in our country?”

Within a half hour of the most recent shooting, just like the last one and the one before that, I have heard NRA spokespersons giving the usual tired and empty explanations.

“If we make guns illegal, then people who are determined to do harm to others will just do it with illegal arms. Making guns illegal won’t stop all the violence.”

Well, duh, as the fifth grade would say.

No kidding; if you make something illegal, the bad guys will still find a way to do it.

If you pass a law to try to stop violence, you won’t actually stop every act of violence.

No shit, Sherlock.

Is this REALLY your best argument against sensible gun laws? Seriously?

OK, let’s take your argument to the next level, shall we?

Given that people continue to exceed the speed limit, even though there are laws defining that limit, we should just get rid of the law, and let people drive as fast as they possibly can on our crowded roadways.  Sure, people will be killed, but what can we do?

Given that people continue to steal goods and money from others, even though there are laws making that behavior a crime, why don’t we just eliminate all of the laws against larceny? Sure, weaker people will be robbed blind by stronger ones, but what the hell?  Laws can’t actually control behavior!

And how about this one? Given the fact that people continue to assemble in public places to protest against both government and special interests, even though there are countless laws, both old and new, which try to make those protests illegal, maybe we should get rid of all of them and just let people gather together and demand change. Making something illegal doesn’t mean that it will go away!

Let’s get rid of tax law, since everybody tries to get around it. Let’s get rid of all of the laws making violent crime illegal, since clearly there are still too many violent crimes.

NRA, is this SERIOUSLY your best argument?

Are we ready yet?

Before there is a shooting in my town, my church, my classroom, I am more than ready to bring up the topic of logical, sensible gun laws.