In This Issue: Everyone Dies
BANG...BANG BANG BANG...Rinse. Repeat. Forever.
Trigger Warning: You’re going to be triggered.
Does there need to be a preamble here?
Where? Here. Today. In America. And globally. Do you really need to be caught up on the fact that on May 24, 2022, an 18-year-old fatally shot 19 CHILDREN, along with two teachers, while wounding 17 others at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas?
Well, you might.
Largely on account of it being the 212th mass shooting of a year that’s not even half over yet. And if you are to believe Vox’s tally of children murdered by guns between the ages of five and 14 in First World countries, 92 percent of the dead are American children.
So we’ve got that. That and the fact that in the face of these kinds of numbers you might be forgiven for not knowing which one we’re going to focus on today. Or by the time this is published, how many more will be shot dead. Not actually/really/sorta/kinda by guns, but by people wielding the guns because as we’ve learned it’s not the guns that kill people. It’s the people that kill people.
Like…the guy who went to a family reunion. Things were going well until a cross comment, of the kind that might arise when people who know each other way too well hang out for maybe longer than they should. The commented on started to brood over said comment and in a text book definition of AMOK, began running, very specifically that: amok.
He began stabbing family members. Those who tried to stop him, those who tried to flee, those older ones who hadn’t figured out what was going on. The stabbing is not why we’re here though. It’s what he said as he stabbed that got us paying attention because as he ran through the party stabbing all and sundry he screamed “WHAT HAVE I DONE?”
Noteworthy because this was happening while he was stabbing, which suggests that a more proper sentence construction would have been, “WHAT AM I DOING?”
They both work really but for the 212th time in the scant five months of 2022, America is asking fundamentally the wrong question. And I’ll just cut to the chase here: we’re killing ourselves.
Aggressively and with malice aforethought. Unceasingly.
If 212 kids had been raped to death in the first months of 2022…we’d actually [probably?] pursue every available legal remedy, and maybe even some extra-legal ones, to right these multiple wrongs.
Men? Yeah, whatever. Women? Oh well. But here’s where we distinguish ourselves: children. Lots and lots of children. Children whose parents read to them before putting them to bed but, of course, will do that no more. Children who even on their worse days weren’t managing to bring to bear anything approaching bad. Children whose deaths will mark those that knew them, as well as those who didn’t, indelibly.
And don’t act like we give a shit because we don’t.
If 212 kids had been raped to death in the first months of 2022, in a weird twist, we’d actually [probably?] pursue every available legal remedy, and maybe even some extra-legal ones, to right these multiple wrongs. In ways that we don’t…ever…do…for adult female victims of rape.
But somehow a lobby and a constituency steeped on romantic notions and compensatory penile issues, holds the world in thrall.
Don’t shake your head at me, you lobbyists. I am you. Or I was. But the fact remains that every 2nd Amendment person I know has every gun they could ever have wanted in their collections right now. Sure there are long rifle lacunas that you might like to fill but when you hear something about there being enough guns for every man, woman, and child in America, know that it’s the 2nd Amendment crew that’s mostly doing the owning.
Fueled by this idea that they’re going to take our guns away, and not realizing that an entire army full of guns didn’t stop the Nazis from taking over Poland, for example, they dig in and dig deep. To them I’d say: no one is taking away our guns and realistically I don’t give a shit if any 18-year-old can buy a gun. In fact there’s a place for 18-year-olds who like gunplay and the military is much more than glad to have them.
But there are lots of cross-hatched sympathies we’re running across. Right-leaning cops who are generally down with the program until they face high-powered armaments in the line of duty. The religious right who seem very exercised about abortion but not so much about dead living children. The whole MRA deal who, yeah, are completely ok drawing that very short line between their penises and their guns.
These motley crew members, along with monied interests whose willingness to line the pockets of politicos who want their party to be mas macho, is just a start of the casus belli that got us here.
But unlike every other bloviator who knits their brows, rings their hands and wonders what we’re going to do next and how we’re going to do it, I am going to turn our frowns into smiles. How? How about we give a little try to zigging, where others fear to zag.
You see, in the future that Ted Cruz, Abbott, Carlson, Hannity, Murdoch and an army of others will have us march toward dead kids are just a small price to pay for trips to Aruba, stage side grandstanding moments and continued access to the levers of power.
[U]ntil we get to this kind of messaging clarity, we will have the horrible kabuki of those who act like they care measured against the real and monumental grief of those who have lost.
In fact: fuck those dead children (and remember: it’s not rape if they’re dead).
American birth rates are strong enough that if a few eggs get broken, what’s the beef? Besides which we know gun control legislation doesn’t work and we know this like we know not to eat poop: it’s just a bad idea to deny anyone a gun and we don’t even have to deny anyone a gun to find this out.
So while our “thoughts and prayers” go out to the injured parties we have to ask ourselves, at what price progress? I mean most of those children were unemployed, right? Sounds like a two-birds-with-one-stone deal.
But, of course…deep, dark, deadly sarcasm aside, until we get to this kind of messaging clarity, we will have the horrible kabuki of those who act like they care measured against the real and monumental grief of those who have lost. Which, if truth be told, involves most of us who are parents (and maybe everyone else with a heart).
Like me. I am heartbroken and inconsolable. And when I start to think of being a parent in a situation that none of those parents ever imagined that they’d be in, I find the need for strong corrective action, and after years of threatening to do so, I am finally doing so. I am taking strong corrective action.
How so? I just wired money to a realtor overseas. For a house. In another country.
I pass no judgment on those of you who prefer to stay lashed with Ahab to the side of this white whale but I’m out. Sure, eight percent of those kids killed by guns in First World countries come from other countries than America but eight percent is workable.
What’s not workable? Ninety-two percent.
If there was a 92 percent chance that when I left the house I’d be attacked by a dog, I’d slow my roll…just a little bit. So when it comes to deciding to send your/our kids to American schools, American churches, American shopping centers, all scenes of recent shootings, I’m thinking opting out makes the most amount of sense.
Cutting and running, running and hiding, ducking and covering, serpentine fashion fleeing…all sexy enough in their way but not how I want to spend my days.
So good luck to you who still believe in the power of the ballot box over the bullet. Hope you can fix your system. But instead of being the least dangerous guy on the most dangerous block, I’m opting for being the most dangerous guy (which is any American really) on the least dangerous block.
Which has me thinking of Paul Bowles, who I will now paraphrase, to help you frame your next move: Tangiers is wonderful. You really must come and see it. But please…don't come see me.
Good luck. And see you on the other side.