A good writer friend I know and think highly of posted a status on Facebook that said, “Maybe for now we could all just descend from the head to the heart. Be with love and grief. Talk about guns and stuff tomorrow.”
I agree, but where I am? It’s tomorrow already.
It’s Saturday morning and I just woke up to this news. I thought we were talking about the last shooting. I had no idea there’d been another shooting while I’d been asleep.
What is this?
It’s a never-ending nonsensical, chaos of our own doing. We barely have time to mourn one mass killing before we are gut-wrenched by the next.
This is the problem, we don’t have much time to grieve. So let’s talk, from the head and the heart.
In our grief and sadness and loss, let’s not forget to get mad.
The Washington Post has an article, “Twelve Facts About Guns and Mass Shootings in the United States” and I find fact number twelve particularly interesting: “Shootings don’t tend to substantially affect views on gun control.”
Let that change with today. Children died today. The president wept with all of us. If that’s not enough to get our blood boiling, spurring us to action, we have no room to complain. Tears are pointless if we don’t do anything to change this kind of violence we’ve sadly, actually, become accustomed to.
When I say, “get mad,” I don’t mean to take up your arms and defend your territory with your weapons. I mean, let’s do something different. Let’s look at all the things we can do about this, and haven’t. No one’s going to like this idea, but how about we stop pointing our finger at the murderer, the psychotic individual who goes in and commits these heinous crimes. Let’s take responsibility for our own idle, inept responses to the bloodshed. We haven’t accomplished anything much in the way of obliterating this type of tragedy in our society. All we’ve done is tolerate it with a sense of shock and outspoken rage, a reaction which has done little good.
We live in a free country–this is a democracy. (Strangely, I just accidentally typed “democrazy.”) That means that the power lies with the people, not the politicians. Have we forgotten that they work for us? Since when have Americans been the kind of people to wait around on the politicians to change things? Why are we waiting for gun reform to become an acceptable, approachable political topic? Have we just accepted that who decides what’s important is he/she who gives the most money? Really? Since when? Who cares what’s taboo on a politician’s agenda? Let’s not just talk about guns and stuff. Let’s yell and scream and let’s start from where we are. Right now.
Let’s voluntarily give up our guns. Got one? Destroy it. Burn it. Make a spectacle of yourself for the sake of a statement. Let’s put on t-shirts with peace signs on them and make big banners, listing the names of the dead, the people who have fallen victim to senseless gun laws. Let’s let them be heard and heard and heard–not the sound of gunshots ringing in our schools–until things change.
Let’s not take measures to heighten security. Let’s redefine what “security” means.
Does security mean putting metal detectors in high schools? Movie theaters? Does that mean arming preschools with gun-bearing security guards?
Are we listening to ourselves? The absurdities of these measures?
Who is crazy?
That’s exactly how the world sees us. I know because I watched the news in Italy with Italians for ten years and now I watch the news in New Zealand. I have people asking me, point blank: “Why are Americans allowing this to happen?”
What do you say to that? Tell me. I need to know. Why ARE we allowing this to happen?
No where on earth does this happen. Only in America. And that’s what they say. They say, yeah sure–we have our problems and our countries aren’t perfect, but at least we don’t have to fear a gunman opening fire on our children while they are in school. At least we can go see a movie with peace of mind we won’t be shot.
What can I say to that?
Let’s forget about the “war on terror” that plays out in other lands, far away from home. Let’s talk about homeland security and how it’s less to do with the outside threat than the one that comes from right here on home turf. It’s not so much about border control and keeping terrorists out than reigning in the ridiculousness of gun laws. Let’s talk about how wrong it is that it’s possible to legally purchase an automatic or semi automatic weapon in the United States of America. Let’s shift our focus from the external threats for a minute or an hour or a year and talk about the internal threats.
We have got to stand up instead of standing idly by, bereft with grief over our loss, stunned beyond a sense of responsibility. The Constitution of the United States is not written in stone. The right to bear arms is not God-given. It is just a rule that seemed like a good idea at the time. Now the amendment is no longer a freedom but a tragic burden, a source of needless violence and the cause of far too many innocent lives lost. Somehow I don’t think this is what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they composed the constitution.
So let’s change this. Right now. Let’s grieve our loss as a country and at the same time dare to ask ourselves what we are going to do about this. But let’s not just grieve together, let’s do what we do best as Americans and band together, ascend politics and political agendas and differences and make this a number one priority to take care of in our country. We have an opportunity and a duty to fix this. Right now. Head and heart, with love and logic.