The day after another mass shooting in the United States means that we’ll have another week of news, another week of one side saying it’s too soon to demand change while the other side demands gun bans, and another week of asking HOW and WHY without even really trying to answer that very question. This is a day when everyone with an opinion, from the radical to the sublime will be put out into the world. This is one of those days that’d be hard for me to hold my tongue when I was on social media, sharing my rage at what had happened while my friends who are gun owners were pipe up to ‘yeah, well’ me.
And they’d have a point in that my initial reaction is to blame all guns, all gun owners, and this culture of gun ownership we have created.
It’s hard to pull back from emotion when you see another news story where people have been killed en masse by another broken man-child who couldn’t deal with their demons.
It’s hard not to rage at a country that has taught us that our rights matter more than someone else’s.
It’s hard not to rage at a country that scoffs at the idea of ‘gun control’ but then tells women they don’t have the right to terminate a pregnancy they don’t want, even in cases of incest or rape.
That’s where we’re at.
We hold the Bible in one hand and a gun in the other.
And we think that that’s normal.
We think that’s OK.
We want a wrathful God that punishes everyone except us because our trespasses are not sins so much as missteps due to a corrupt world we cannot always overcome.
God is a gun, and we want to be the person who pulls that trigger.
This is a bigger problem than mere gun control because it will take a change of mentality that won’t happen. We have fetishized guns. Men wear them around as if they are in the Wild West and truly feel like they’re going to get into a gun fight. Oh, sure, occasionally you see a story where someone with a gun gets involved in a scuffle and sometimes can stop it, but that’s more an example of how violent our society has turned than an example of how great it is to have people carrying guns.
I get the need for them, as security in places and times when your life is threatened, and I get the usefulness of guns in hunting.
What I will never understand is the need for weapons of war released to the masses.
Guns that are better suited for war have no place in a home.
I know lots and lots of people would be willing to scream at me, fight me, and indeed shoot me for such an opinion but that tells you how far down the road we’ve let this go. We let the gun lobbies create this twisted gun culture where it’s not so much about owning a gun but owning LOTS of guns, and LOTS of ammo, because you can. It’s about living like you are ready and willing to kill to protect things that are otherwise insured. Sure, there’s the thought of protecting your ‘people’, but it’s more the romanticism of being strong and fearsome with your gun that is the impetus.
We are a nation where men have started to feel powerless, heck, PEOPLE have, but specifically white men. They have been told they can’t just take what they want. That they are not owed anything because of their skin color or gender. They are told they have to ask permission, and they have to consider people’s feelings and have to accept things that they don’t believe in. Suddenly they are in a world they don’t understand. It’s in the protection of their homes, and their things, and their people though that they feel powerful once more. That they feel in control.
That they feel feared.
What happened to us?
When did we decide the world was so dangerous that we all needed guns and needed to wear them around like we’re in videogames. The fear they instill isn’t earned, it’s stolen. It’s because we’re in a world where there are mass shootings and I don’t know if this guy will get triggered by something or someone and freak out. I don’t know if someone else will try to take his toy gun from him.
When did we get so afraid of one another?
I get it, this is a scary world and if you feel that you are losing your place in it then it gets even scarier, but so much of this fear is race based, it’s disturbing.
It’s about THEM coming for us, for our stuff, and for our lives.
It’s about stopping THEM from taking what we feel isn’t theirs.
We are a broken society that looks at the admittance of emotional or psychological issues as an admission of weakness and we are not allowed to be weak. We won’t see, really see, how damaged we are because we don’t know what to do if we see it. We don’t want to hear people’s ideas of us or how they think we are behaving. We are right, no matter what, because there is someone or somewhere that will tells us we are. Freedom is great if there is an understanding that it has repercussions and responsibilities. Like we can’t scream FIRE in a crowded theater where there is none, we shouldn’t be able to make baseless claims and have them parroted because it’s our right to. Opinions are one thing but putting things out as facts and fabricating lies that back those opinions up make it all the more dangerous. Trolls and politicians are creating boogeymen out of sheets on chairs and our culture has turned. Our people have turned. There is so much pent up anger and a need to feel powerful again that we are creating people who think that the only way to change things, to save a world they feel is being stolen from them, is through force.
This isn’t a race issue.
This is an US issue.
You see the same sort of perverted gun culture in the inner city that you see in the suburbs. It’s all about power, and strength, and fear.
We think that guns make us immortal.
We think that once we pull that trigger there is no repercussion.
We don’t see that the man that shoots the lost kid on his doorstep at midnight ends up in prison.
We don’t see that the woman who shot at someone in a fit of road rage killed a child.
We don’t think of consequence.
When will it end?
This nearly sexual obsession with guns?
I know someone who, every time there is a mass shooting gets bummed because he needs to go get some ammo in case they outlaw it.
This has been so politicized that there is a legitimate fear of someone taking their guns away, as insane as that is.
There is no logic there, no ‘how they even gon’ do that?’.
There is nothing.
But aren’t we tired of being afraid?
We want to tell kids that they don’t get to choose what they read, they don’t get to choose who they are, and they don’t get to disagree with how they are being taught. We then tell them that they better get jobs, they better get good grades, and they better make the most of their time in school.
But we don’t tell them they’ll be safe because we can’t say that anymore.
We don’t because there’s no way to make them safe until we turn schools into fortresses. We want more guns in school, not less, the idea that armed teachers will keep the children safe, not seeing that a day will come when an armed teacher loses it and opens fire on their students. Or leaves their gun out and it gets stolen by a student who goes on a rampage. We think the answer is not to take away the toys but to give everyone guns so that, what, the playing field is level?
We hear all the time how abortion is murder but not taking measures to stop mass shootings, when we know, we KNOW that more children will be murdered by armed madmen, is literally letting children die. So please tell me, please, how aborting a life that has not yet been lived is a greater sin than standing idly by and looking away as more and more kids are murdered as these people think about the money in their bank accounts and the vacations they have coming up.
And we can’t keep kids safe.
We can’t do that though because we don’t think education deserves funding so we can’t get these places the security they may need, let alone the bare essentials to teach these kids.
We have politicized everything, even our children, and they are becoming little more than fodder for our cannons.
Until we get serious, nothing will change.
Until we are willing to put our guns down, nothing will change.
Until we outlaw sales and re-sales of guns made for military or police use then nothing will change.
There is no reason to have these in the public.
They are not toys and we need to stop treating them like toys.
They are tools, they are weapons, and need to be respected as such.
The guns that are out there need to be insured and if they are used in crimes then the person whose gun it is needs to pay in some way unless the gun was stolen.
We NEED to get rid of this military guns.
The military guns that are out there for sale need to be pulled. Let people rent them at gun ranges to play shoot ‘em up and the ranges can insure them and have each one under lock and key and with IDs in case they are stolen.
Gun violence won’t suddenly go away but we need to make it less likely someone can get one of these and then just go on a rampage like we’re seeing so often.
We need to take military equipment off of the racks for people to buy.
People don’t need tactical vests and helmets.
They don’t need kevlar.
They don’t need hollow points.
Our freedom isn’t a blank check to do and have whatever we want.
Especially not when, again, women don’t even have body autonomy.
Until we stop letting gun lobbies tell us that guns don’t hurt people then aren’t responsible with the guns themselves.
There is no easy way to do this.
There is no clear path.
The best way is for people to put their guns down and to get rid of their excess.
The best way is for people to get to know one another again and to see that we’re not all trying to take one another’s things or harm one another.
Most of us are just neighbors that haven’t met yet.
Beyond the politics, beyond the jaw jacking, and beyond the rhetoric are the kids.
Beyond all of this are the bodies of kids piled to the heavens and surrounding us because we can’t find answers as to how to stop more bodies from being added to that pile.
We won’t find answers.
Because that means facing that we’re obsessed with guns, and that the problem isn’t with the great faceless people, it isn’t with the guns themselves, it’s with the US and we are unwilling to fix us.
And if that’s the case, it’s time to take our toys away until we are willing to fix ourselves once and for all.