The United States of Armed-erica

This past weekend, forty nine innocent American lives were lost in yet another mass shooting.

I don’t know what the answer is. All of the tired old arguments have been trotted out, and as usual, minds are not being changed.  That won’t happen until the time when somebody we know personally is struck down. Until that happens, until we recognize the victims as someone we know, these shootings will remain an abstraction, something we can’t relate to.

Which exactly sums up how deeply and seriously fucked up we are as a society.  Our inability to recognize the faces of our own children in the victims of Sandy Hook, of ourselves out to enjoy a movie in Aurora, Colorado, or the friends and family members out for a good time in a nightclub in Orlando, is a chilling indictment of how desensitized we have become and how little we value human life.

I understand that people don’t want to give up their guns. I understand that many of the proposed solutions are knee–jerk reactions that will have little or no effect. What I can’t understand is the reflexive close minded defense of the status quo. So increased gun control isn’t going to change anything – if you’re so fucking smart, give us some ideas that will.

And don’t just say that the solution is more guns.  The idea that more guns will make us safer is just stupid. When the shooting is in a darkened movie theatre or a dimly lit and chaotic nightclub where alcohol flows freely, more gunfire will result in more deaths. Real life isn’t the movies, where you know who and where the gunman is, and where events unfold in slow motion. Real life happens quickly and randomly. And besides, do we really want to live in a country where we need to arm ourselves just to go see a movie or to practice our religion?

What we all need to focus on is the lives lost.  Imagine the unimaginable, getting a phone call that your son or daughter is dead, shot down and taken forever by some random, deranged dickhead. I’m guessing that the same old “bad people do bad things” and “guns don’t kill people, people do” arguments won’t stand up, and that the rage and pain would be unbearable.

We can focus on the numbers, the thousands of lives lost to gun violence, but those are just statistics. Statistics don’t live and breathe, and they sure as hell don’t bleed. Real blood is being spilled, and as long as we do nothing to prevent it, it’s on all of our hands.

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