Saturday, May 04, 2013

Under the Gun

When I was twelve, my best friend and I snuck the rifle out from under her mother's dresser and pretended to shoot the downstairs neighbor through the floor. It was HILARIOUS. To us. We were twelve.

This was a real gun in unsupervised minor hands. This story is not new. The only difference is that we never pulled the trigger. Plenty of little kids have.

In pre-ed you learn about the development of children. Especially how they form a sense of responsibility, morals, and consequences. A five-year-old does not understand murder the way an adult does. Trust me. When I was five, I tried to get my cousin to eat poisonous plants because he annoyed me. He was an obstacle, I knew how to eliminate him, I told him to eat it. He didn't. Thank God for all of us. Giving a gun to a child is the same as giving it to a highly intelligent monkey. That bitch will shoot you in the face. So will your 6-year-old little brother. They can barely pour milk into a cereal do you expect them to handle a gun? Or understand what it means to blow someone's face off? If there was any justice in the world, these kids would be shooting their parents...but in story after story, it's a sibling who gets the bullet. Shame on all of them. The parents, obviously, not the kids. God save those kids when they grow up, develop, and understand what really happened. This is the price of your freedom, boy. It is in the Constitution.

I remember many discussions with my former husband about gun rights. I tried very hard to respect his point of view. In my mind, however, I could not see past the fear. Why do you need to own not just one gun, but many? Why did we do a safety drill in our home? It was the second most terrifying experience of my life. I hid in our huge closet, trying not to pee myself, suddenly feeling the terror of WHAT IF. We had an alarm system, too. One that I set off by accident when my elderly grandfather was visiting, terrifying me and probably scaring the tar out of him. We lived in a well-off subdivision. The odds of violence were remote. Yet my anxiety was high. We needed GUNS, we needed a security system. We were living in a low grade state of terror. While I still try to understand my ex-husband's need for protection--based so much on his life and the lives of his parents who lived through horrors of WWII--I cannot agree with it. How can I explain the irony that when I moved from the Midwest to the mean streets of Brooklyn, New York, I felt so much safer?

Now consider a time when I was in real danger, in my first visit home for the holidays from college...when I was chased through the snow, when my house's lights and phone were cut, when a brick went through the window and cut my mother's head...I didn't wish for a gun. To be honest, I felt far more feral than that. Guns are so remote and instant. I wanted to launch through the air, all nails and teeth, and rip that fucker's face and body to shreds with the power of my hate and fear. Guns are too easy. And that's the problem.

People will try to distract from the issue, focusing on mental illness, of course. To that I say, DUH. All mass murderers are mentally fucking ill. The unforgivable part of the narrative is how easily they found their weapons of mass destruction. The one thing I am waiting to hear, waiting to really understand, is how the Newtown massacre killer not only decided his targets, but how his mother, now deceased by his hand, thought it was a great idea to arm him and herself with legally bought guns. And I think that is the thing that people in the NRA are loathe to talk about: She bought those guns legally. She bought them for her son.

It is wrong to say, and I really shouldn't say it, but what if it was you? Arming people with the power of speech is one thing...A tidal wave of dissent can drown any yammering of insanity (see: Westborough Baptist Church). Arming anyone--ANYONE--with guns that are only made to kill other humans...well, it seems obvious. People DO kill people. And they kill so much more efficiently with a gun.

Finally, the reason for this post is obvious. The people who suffered most from the Newtown massacre have been fighting hard for gun legislation. In normal fashion, congress has let them down. They are not shutting up, they are going to the congressmen to shame them for their slavish cow towing to the NRA. And now the mouthpiece of the right, Sarah Palin, has shit in their faces, calling the legislation and exploitation of the tragedy. The same could be said for you, former governor. By saying that the parents of these dead children are "exploiting" their deaths for some political edge is nothing short of depraved. When your children are shot and bleeding out their last bit of life, please tell me more about your right to bear arms. Because in this current state, it is the same as free speech...anyone can have it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to read Mother Jones. I had a subscription for 4-5 years. Don't know why I stopped. I think the move to Texas possibly. Really don't recall, just the right timeframe. Think I may sign up again. Love YOU, mama

2:31 PM  

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