I don’t know what’s happened to you. I watch the news and I see chaos. I watch CNN and see clips of protests—protests I am used to watching happen in other countries—I read my Facebook feed and read friendships and families divided. People are being deported, politicians can’t do their jobs, women are outing their harassers after (sometimes) YEARS of inexcusable behavior. And our kids are afraid to go to school because they might get shot down as they learn their ABC’s or algebra.
Admittedly, America looks and feels a lot messier than we want it to, but I am thankful we still live in a free country. It is nice to know that unless I am on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, just broke out of jail, am criminally connected to the mafia or in some other gang related occupation, it’s unlikely I will ever NEED an assault rifle of any kind.
My son and I talk about that sometimes—how lucky we are. We could have been born in a country at war like Afghanistan or Syria. We could have been born into a country where we have NO rights like North Korea or even somewhere in Latin America where people just get murdered all the time (Wikipedia has the stats if you want to fact check). Those are places we would need an assault rifle. Multiple assault rifles and an arsenal of guns in our basement or better yet in the coat closet by the front door. If we even had a door. That would be a luxury too probably. In one of those countries, we would be fighting for our family’s survival every day.
Oh, and we would need an arsenal if there were a zombie apocalypse. I’m sure that is an argument someone will make. Fortunately, it is still general consensus that the zombie apocalypse is not real despite how awesome the tv show is.
I know what I have described is mostly just reasonable thought and lacks statistics, so here is a short video my husband found on Facebook. He spends a lot of time there watching cat videos since he is getting tired of the crazy shit going on in the news. I encourage everyone, whatever you believe, to watch it BEFORE you revert to your standard go-to opinion on the gun debate.
Finished? If you are, and I hope you really did watch, because you saw that yeah America, gun violence is a thing. Having too many guns IS A THING. And America is known for it.
And before you revert back to that go-to argument, America, think about how you would feel if it were YOUR son, daughter, wife, husband, loved one who was a victim of the violence? Would you still say guns don’t kill people? Would you still say we don’t need to change our situation? Would you REALLY?
What are we going to do?
Desensitization is also a thing. I dare say I speak for many Americans when I say I feel like I/we have become a bit desensitized to violence or to situations that don’t effect me directly.
I don’t play video games by the way, so we can’t blame them.
I do tend to compartmentalize things. Sometimes that is THE only way I can manage my emotions—I put them away in a box in my head and lock them up. My kids are safe and happy. My world is safe and happy. So my strategy has been to look at the TV, feel bad…and move on…
Until a few days ago, I am not even sure I would have written about something like this. Something so controversial and emotional. Writing about something so raw rattles at the lock on my compartment.
Except that during the news coverage of the Florida school shooting, I saw the news clips of students talking to the news and they said things like, and I am paraphrasing, “We knew he was going to shoot up the school one day,” and “I wasn’t surprised when I found out it was him.”
And that BLEW THE LOCK OFF THE COMPARTMENT. My eyes bugged out of my head. I got mad and sad. Mad at myself. Mad at the media. Mad at a system who puts guns into the hands of anyone who wants one.
Sad for a system who let a young man become so angry he resorted to violence to be seen…to be recognized…to be heard.
Mad at the culture who just keeps chanting that guns don’t kill people.
Except that there are too many lives lost and too many guns.
I mean, REALLY? This is where we are now? We have become so complacent about our fellow classmates, students, friends, humans, that this is where we are?
Can’t we all just SEE each other? Can’t we just LISTEN to each other? Can’t we put aside the radical thoughts and look at what is best for everyone? What is best for the vulnerable? What will keep people safe? (and we know it’s not more guns).
The victims of these crimes must be heard and must be examples on which we base our future. “I hear you” needs to be far more than a talking point on a list held on a piece of paper by our President. We need action that creates change and change that saves lives.
I am not pointing fingers and I don’t have a solution.
But I know people aren’t evil. We have created these situations and we need to start looking at ourselves to fix them.
Listen to the victims of the crimes. Listen to the broken.
America, guns cannot be more important than human beings.
Life is about relationships. Let’s start creating some.
Respectfully, A dangerously optimistic citizen feeling dangerously close to giving up on America’s ability to do the right thing