Who am I to respond to the school shooting in Connecticut?
I am no one. My answers are nothing because they would only be about me, my emotional reactions, my narrow political views. Compared to this, I am nothing.
True, I am a parent. On Friday afternoon, I remembered another afternoon in another year, when my son was not yet three. On that day, I turned my attention away from him for a moment that proved enough for him to cut his forehead. The injury was minor, a sprint to the ER and a dice roll of stitches, and yet, it haunted me. For a long time, even after a child’s healing prowess had mitigated the mark to a hairline shadow, the sight of it prompted in me pain like a horse-kick. Still does.
My quibbling is nothing next to the survivors in Newtown. My son turned 6 in October, himself a kindergartner, and that is all I have in common with them. For those parents, they now inhabit another planet, one where cuts never heal, the mind is worse than any concocted hell, and pain has no gravitational obligation.
Also true that I am a gun owner. Yet I find repugnant a people who stand by, slaves to the status quo, while real wolves live among us stockpiling weapons, fermenting their anger in isolation or a cult of hate, as we do nothing. It has been said that “The only way to vanquish cowardice is to brandish courage.” Well, America has become a thicket of guns, and the acts of supreme cowardice are only becoming more despicable and frequent. Brandishing guns should never be confused with brandishing courage.
My own guns are nothing compared to this. I would hand over them all, even the one that I use to harvest food, if I could be assured this madness would end. In very recent times, it has been proven that we cannot safely go to a grocery store in Arizona, or a movie theatre in Colorado, or a grade school in Connecticut. I have supported the second amendment in the past, but my constitution can no longer stand with a nation that stands for this.
My actions alone are nothing. As much as we like to dress ourselves from the false closet of civil liberty, the very essence of our social contract requires rules to facilitate safe passage. Note that way up above the second amendment, it all starts with “We, the People,” not “We, the raging, self-obsessed, pistol-swinging yahoos.” Also note that there are over 310,000,000 non-military guns between our shining seas—that's one for every man, woman, and kindergartner.
Clearly, the problem is too many guns that are too accessible to too many irresponsible people. It’s been proclaimed on many bumpers that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” but the truth is that it’s a helluva lot easier for the wayward among us to kill lots of people very quickly with automatic and semi-automatic weapons, dressed head-to-toe like an avatar from Halo.
I would have preferred if it did not come to this, but here we are, the barn is open, the horse run off. A rancher does not solve the matter of a lost horse by ignoring it, nor by turning another horse loose. A responsible rancher runs that beast down. And if we are to be responsible, to be brave again and face what we know to be wrong, we must get reins around this beast. It is time for me, for us, for our elected officials and for our nation to do something about all these guns. We, the people, can no longer be trusted with them. -TBM
Editor's Note: I took the advice of a friend and responded to the below, adding my name to the list linked:
Join me in demanding a plan from President Obama and members of Congress to reduce gun violence in America NOW: