07/23/2017 by syrbal-labrys
Today is my father’s birthday. Or would be, if in 1997 he had not taken a pistol and shot himself. My entire young life was a memory of guns and gunfire. And gun threats. He held more than one wife at gun-point through long, dark nights. When the one time the police/authorities were involved, he convinced them it was “only the booze talking.” But in the end, it was the gun that spoke one final time. I am unrepentantly grateful he was alone and did not kill all of us as he had often promised.
How do we go on pretending there is nothing abnormal about gun violence in America? My father was not the only one who thought guns the solution to marital/relationship issues. Domestic violence and gun violence/murder go hand in hand. When the CDC studies the history of murder of American women, 55% of those killings were in the wake of non-gun domestic violence. Ninety-three percent of that more-than-half figure were murdered by gun-toting significant others. The other 7%? Oh, those deaths were relatives or friends of the murdered woman, who also died by gunshot. One might think, if a person beats a spouse, it would make sense to automatically bar this violent person from getting a gun – the premier weapon for violence.
But Americans are deluged with the idea that the solution is not fewer guns, but more guns. The NRA and their stooges insist that responsible ownership, much like responsible car ownership/maintenance/ insurance works, canNOT be a solution in our “free” society. Everybody must get, not stoned, but shot? Colleges, we are told, would be safer if everyone carried guns on campus.
That nonsensical sign? Yes, actually posted. Because skirts and shorts and sandals that don’t protect you from chemicals, etc are SO much more dangerous than guns that can take you down from across the room! I’ve been in labs. I’ve seen some silly sophomore drop a chunk of sodium in a sink full of water – yes, glad he had on goggles and was not wearing shorts. But goggles would have been insufficient to save him from gun fire, wouldn’t you say? And guns don’t care if you wear shorts, skirts, or sandals.
Another thing I think it is past time to talk about with all the Second Amendment holy grail bullshit? If all we are free to really own is guns? How does that improve our lives? Does it really put food on the table? My father was an excellent hunter – yet we often were very hungry. Does a gun cure you if you get sick? Not last time I checked. Does a gun pay the bills, or make the heat and lights stay on? Not unless you know something I do not. What DO guns almost inevitably do?
They SCARE someone, and if you are fortunate that is the end of it — because of course, they CAN be used to KILL someone. Who are guns scaring possibly the most? Not me, in a house with three veterans who all own guns. They scare COPS the most! Could we all stop glossing this over?
Can we finally stop pretending there are more “officer involved shootings” for no particular reason at all, or due to “unfortunate” circumstances, or “just” because of racial profiling and racism and admit that our police are scared shitless that they are going to die on the job because every second nutcase/jack-ass out there in America likely has a gun? Let’s face it, America, our cops feel the same dread and fear that soldiers do on battlefields – never knowing when they will be taken down by gunfire. For pity’s sake, they killed a pretty middle-aged blonde in her pajamas because they were scared for their lives. But no, guns aren’t the fucking problem at all, are they?
I feel for the cops, I do. Either give them training to be calmer under the ever increasing amount of fire, or teach them the sorts of limits actual soldiers have to put up with BEFORE firing. Or, I don’t know – stop letting nut jobs have access to guns, stop selling the Second Amendment as the only one that really counts. Stop teaching that masculinity comes from showing off a “piece” when a less toxic society might acknowledge “peace” as the goal!