Don’t fall for distractions.
We just had 7 mass shootings in 7 days.
Let’s have universal background checks. https://t.co/Q4V2jTZC1f
— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) March 25, 2021
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I am goddamn furious.
Atlanta. Then Colorado. Another mass shooting. Another day in America, the “Shining City on a Hill.”
A hill of bodies murdered by guns.
How many times do innocent people have to be torn to bits and snuffed out forever by the bullets from military-grade weapons wielded by disturbed white men before the Republican party will grow some type of conscience about sensible gun laws?
I don’t care if I am being partisan. Truth is truth. It is a partisan issue where the weekly diabolical horrors of mass shootings are enabled freely by the GOP’s unwillingness to do anything at all to stop the blood running in the streets. All in the name of preserving the freedoms of gun lovers, of preserving this sacred American right to own whatever type of gun you want, with no checks and balances before you buy it—because the Second Amendment has somehow become as important as free speech and the ability to worship as you prefer.
The Second Amendment has become a type of holy script, a Bible, used to justify as many killings as they need to.
Do you remember Sandy Hook?
When Sandy Hook happened, and another young white guy killed 26 people at an elementary school, 20 of which were children, between six and seven years old, and the right wing did absolutely nothing but send out thoughts and prayers yet again, I knew we were screwed.
If 20 children being mown down by a rifle wielded by a crazy person changes nothing for these people who kneel and pray to the great god of the NRA, who seem to find firing guns a type of worship, a type of meaningful spiritual activity, then God help us.
Then, my friends, we are dealing with an addiction to violence, a sickness, an ability to put one’s head in the sand so far down you are touching hell—a blindness to basic human civilities so invasive, so entrenched, we may need an exorcism to help these people.
I could not help but think of the parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles of those 20 children who—10 days before Christmas Eve, 2012—had bought with love and care and excitement presents to give to them, probably already under the tree in some cases, or carefully hidden out of reach of prying eyes under beds and in closets. What did they do with those presents? What did Christmas morning feel like? They barely had time to begin grieving when the biggest day, for many children, of the year was here, yet their children were not. Their children were not. Their children were gone forever. Their bodies were in tiny coffins, dressed in tiny suits. Hopefully their spirits were in nirvana.
Yet the mass shootings continued, the legislation went nowhere, the laws did not change, the thoughts and prayers did nothing, and the guns continued to be amassed by whoever wanted them. Not just any guns—military-grade weapons capable of shooting at least 40 rounds per minute. These are not the guns you use to hunt deer. These are not the guns you use to protect your house from an intruder. These are not the guns of our forefathers when the Second Amendment was written. These are guns for war, and nothing else.
As a Democrat, I think we need to simplify and tighten our argument. This is what we need to say to these Republicans so terrified of us taking away all their beautiful, precious guns they love so very much: we are not going to do that.
A) That’s impossible—America is gun crazy.
B) We do want to take away your military-grade weapons—those are for soldiers, not civilians.
C) If you are mentally ill or have a history of violence, you should not be able to own a gun.
D) The government is not going to perform a coup on your property—you will not need to defend yourself. Obviously, if you are white they will let you walk right into the Capitol Building and put your feet up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. And if they do try to take over your life, you’re going to lose—they have tanks, and jets, and missiles. So, relax. No matter how much you love your Rambo movies, one guy with a gun against the government, that is not going to be your life, buddy.
We could add that if people really want to still shoot these automatic weapons, because it’s fun and helps you feel better about your erectile dysfunction or being bullied in high school or your hatred of your manager at work, fine—let gun clubs have registered possession of these weapons. You sign it out, you use it at the gun club and go crazy tearing apart watermelons and cardboard cutouts that look like famous liberal politicians, and then you sign it back in. If you try to sneak it out you do hard time in a prison. Period ended. Everybody wins. Including the 20,000 Americans who died from gun violence just in 2020.
I don’t know about you, but every time I hear about another mass shooting, I begin to hate everybody who loves guns and refuses all Democratic solutions.
I don’t want to feel this hatred, but it is hard when they are putting their hobby over the lives of their fellow Americans.
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It is hard not to hate when I often fear for my daughter when she is at school or in the world. It is hard not to hate when—now that the pandemic is slowing down—the headlines begin again of our big weekly mass shooting, and you see the photos in the news of the crying family members, the candlelight vigils and stuffed animals, the outrage of the left and the shrugging of the shoulders and hypocritical prayers of the right.
New Zealand had one major mass shooting and less than a month later had banned assault weapons and instituted a buyback plan which saw 50,000 guns turned in. That actually makes sense. America, like the definition of insanity, keeps doing the same actions expecting a different result. The thing about the GOP is that they just don’t seem to care until something bad—some liberal talking point— happens to someone they love.
Would they feel differently about sensible gun laws if their own child had been killed at Sandy Hook? If their aunt had been killed in the Atlanta spa shooting, or their friend had been picking up some barbecue ingredients at the supermarket in Boulder before being torn to shreds by a weapon no 20-year-old with a history of aggressive behavior should have had?
Where is the empathy? Where is the reason? Where is the maturity level to be willing to give just a little—just the smallest amount—of your convenience to wait for a damn background check in order to prevent insane people from buying weapons that can kill dozens of people in minutes?
F*ck thoughts and prayers. F*ck your version of Jesus—the Jesus I imagine doesn’t send out prayers when children are being murdered because some people don’t want to wait an extra week to buy a gun—he acts.
In fact, just like the T-shirts and posters of Trump in his oversized blue suit and over-long red tie on top of a tank, his face in a frenzy of violent joy, I’m surprised these NRA lovers haven’t made images of Jesus rocking an AR-15 with a sash of bullets upon his white robes. Or maybe they have. I’m sure they have. I’m just on the wrong end of the internet to see that.
America, what is it with you? Why do you show the best and worst of human behavior? Why do you produce a Martin Luther King and then gun him down? Not to mention John Lennon. Why does peace and love freak you out so much? Why are we still so racist, so sexist, so divided about what is truth? Is it karma for how we slaughtered most of the natives and enslaved Africans so we could build this beautiful country the way we saw fit? Are we both blessed and cursed? Are we forever doomed to have two Americas, one for peace and justice and truth and one for lies and violence and moral blindness?
I don’t know. God, I hope not. But tonight, I remain really fricking angry. I am goddamn sick of teddy bears and candlelight and people crying while they sing “Imagine” because my fellow Americans have decided they don’t want to wait an extra week to get their Winchester. That’s not civil liberties. That’s a selfishness and myopia that borders on the evil.
Be less evil, my fellow Americans. Grow up. Meet us in the middle. Bend just an inch. Imagine those people slain are your parents, your children, your spouse, your best friend. It’s called empathy. Grow some.