America In Timeout

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Most of the signs in town look like this, because the community needs support.

Another day, another mass shooting, and all you weak-ass hillbillies are like, “meh, nothing can be done! Everyone gets a gun, it’s in the constitution!” I’m so sick and tired of this shoulder-shrug answer to our gun violence epidemic in this country. This is the shining city on the hill, the land of opportunity, the land of the free and home of the brave, and we are allowing our citizens and children in their schools to be gunned down because meh, there’s nothing we can do!

I told my kids they could be knights for Halloween and their costumes came with swords. I warned them that if there was any stabbing or whacking of blades, I would take them away for good. They stabbed themselves, they stabbed their sister, and one of them took a chunk of paint off the wall, so I took the swords away and that was that. America, you have lost your gun privileges.

But Mooooommmm! I do not give a shit. If you can’t play nice, I’m taking your toys. It was your right to own a gun for self defense, hunting, and I suppose to protect yourself in the event of a government uprising. But you refused to compromise on the types of guns we would allow everyone access to, and when military weapons were off limits you made accessories for the guns you were allowed to have to make them more like those military weapons. Bump stocks, extended magazines, all to make your weapons more lethal. And lets not forget, you made it illegal to have a gun registry so we could track down these weapons. We know the AR-15 is “America’s favorite weapon,” (charming) but we have no idea how many we have in this country because it’s against the law to keep track. And of course, you balked at thorough background checks, disqualifications for a history of mental illness, criminal records, and the like. (Just a reminder that racism, white supremacy, and violence are not mental illnesses, so you can stop pretending it’s crazy people off their meds who are doing all the shooting just to pass the buck.) If you can’t play nice, I’m taking your toys. If your “hobby” is building lethal weapons to make them more like the ones used for war that are illegal for civilians to own in order to blow shit up, whether it’s pumpkins, clay pigeons, or god forbid to spray bullets at an animal you don’t even intend to eat, then fuck you and your hobby. If golf could kill nine people in under a minute I’d ban golf, too.

But Mooooommm! I have a right to defend myself and my family! Yeah yeah yeah, self

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The memorial for the parents who died shielding their baby from gunfire. Their deaths leave three children five and under orphaned. 

defense. The bad guys won’t follow the law, so why should we? An AR-15 with an extended magazine that will shoot 250 bullets without being reloaded is not a weapon of self defense, it’s for mowing down crowds of people.

But Mooooommmm! If I had a gun and was at that Walmart/bar/concert/movie theater/synagogue/mosque/Sikh temple/elementary school/middle school/high school, I would have stopped that shooter. All you need is one good guy with a gun! Yes absolutely! You, quick draw, will be a hero and your name will be on the front page of newspapers around the world. You’re basically Butch Cassidy! Damn, whatever happened to that guy? Oh yeah. He was shot. My God, the arrogance. I have lived in El Paso for three years and there are very few people here who don’t own at least one weapon. Plus, we are crawling with law enforcement. We have an excellent police force, Homeland Security, Border Patrol (whatever your feelings about these folks, they have weapons training and are on every corner), FBI, and forty thousand soldiers from Fort Bliss. All of these people have extensive weapons training and are omnipresent throughout the city. And yet, forty-six people were shot before any good guys could act. In fact, though there were rumors the shooter ran out of ammo, apparently he didn’t. He just stopped shooting and got in his car and left. He was caught as the police set up a perimeter around the Walmart while responding to the calls regarding an active shooter. The police got to the Walmart in six minutes, and the shooter had already gotten in his car and driven away. And it could have been worse. In Dayton, police took down the shooter in under a minute, which is incredibly impressive. He still shot twenty-three people.

I am generally not a fan of sharing politics on social media. I am an author and a blogger who focuses on motherhood, and I wouldn’t want any readers to feel like they couldn’t enjoy an article about breastfeeding because they don’t agree with my choice of presidential candidate. But also, why is the death of innocent people political? The newest talking point from gun advocates was the last straw for me: But Mooommmm! In the scheme of things, mass shootings don’t kill that many people. It’s the media spectacle that brainwashes you into thinking it’s a big deal. Do you know how many people died of heart disease that same day? I couldn’t believe this was an actual talking point until I saw it repeated in various forms along with articles and charts depicting the small sliver of deaths from mass shootings (any shooting where four or more people are shot excluding the gunman) compared to the number of people who die daily from cancer or even the flu. So take comfort, America. You are far more likely to die of a heart attack from your love of fast food than to be shot at your local watering hole/place of worship/garlic festival/school/shopping center/movie theater. Let’s explore how ludicrous this is, shall we?

As humans we convince ourselves we are making efforts in our daily lives to avoid the other deaths in these charts. Wash your hands during flu season and get a flu vaccine, quit smoking to avoid cancer, ease up on the bacon and take preventative medication to stave off heart disease, etc. What, pray tell, is my five year old supposed to do to prevent being shot in his school? Duck and cover? His desk isn’t bulletproof. Shall I start wearing Kevlar while squeezing avocados in the produce section? I fear these will be legitimate suggestions in the coming days because, as we know, meh. Can’t do nothin ’bout them guns. Also, do you know what we as a country are doing about the other causes of death on these lists? Literally everything we can to avoid them. Billions of dollars in medical research, clinical trials, vaccine development, even homeopathic remedies and trivia games to keep the brains of those predisposed to Alzheimer’s as sharp as possible for as long as possible. Where is my vaccine to prevent being shot in my place of worship? Where is my anti-mass-shooting Lipitor?

But Moooomm! Your risk of being randomly shot is still so low! That is the ultimate form of white privilege, isn’t it? At least they aren’t looking for me. I’m not Jewish, Sikh, Muslim, black, or hispanic, so I am not predisposed to a hate-crime death. But if you worship anybody other than white Jesus or have so much as a golden tan, you might as well smoke two packs a day, have all the genetic markers for cancer, and eat a side of bacon at every meal, because your risk is suddenly much higher. Hate crimes across the United States have increased every year for the past three years. For the record, the El Paso shooter came here to shoot “Mexicans,” but he didn’t check papers once he opened fire. He shot mostly Americans and one German national as well. No one is safe.

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The memorial site has grown every day, and sign in the foreground is an open letter to the shooter, that says he would have been welcomed here, because that’s the the kind of city we live in. We welcome everyone, no matter their race, birthplace, job title, or home life. This is a community. 

The moral of the story here is that you, America, have not earned the right to arm yourselves. Sure, there are a shitload of guns in this country and not all of them are used to kill innocent people. But the selfishness and arrogance of the citizens whose answer to gun violence is, “tough shit, you want my guns you can come and take them,” is absolutely astounding. In the aftermath of a shooting death the community comes together, shows up to grieve with you, brings you casseroles and helps out around the house. But ask for change? Ask for help to put an end to senseless violence? “Tough shit. The law says I can have a bunker full of weapons to protect the maybe three other humans who live in my house, and I absolutely don’t give a flying fuck that my unfettered access to the weapons I’m storing in there makes all of my country less safe.” So fuck the community, I guess?

Lastly, I’d like to address all you racist, white supremacist assholes on 4chan and 8chan. Several shooters have posted manifestos on your sites before committing mass murder and I have never heard of any case where, after reading what is very clearly a final declaration of race war and announcement that an individual plans to spray bullets at civilians, anyone has ever called the cops. It might not have stopped the El Paso shooter who posted only minutes before he opened fire, but this isn’t the first time it’s happened. 4Chan and 8chan are cesspools of bigotry, and if the FBI can somehow prove you read any of these posts that lay out plans for a mass shooting and you did nothing? I hope you go to jail for the rest of your life. And I hope in that jail you are surrounded by immigrants and people of color who show you nothing but kindness until your twisted mind can’t take it any more and blood comes out of your ears.

4 thoughts on “America In Timeout

Add yours

  1. Spot on, 2nd or 3rd cousin. I’m so sick of this shit and the BS used as excuses by our politicians. I could cry for this world of ours….

    Liked by 1 person

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