A couple of weeks ago, while out on a walk, the idea for a blog post came into my head. It was an idea for a post about gun control, and the way it materialized as I walked, it would be written in a flip and sarcastic style, with a lot of anger. Lines and whole paragraphs formed, as I trudged along, and periodically I chuckled at my own wit and writer-ly skills.
But, by the time I reached home I had decided to let it go. Here’s the reason why — I didn’t want to add any more negativity, I didn’t want to add any more anger, to our world. This as a function of trying to move my life and the way I live it to a place of “Unconditional Love”. Following along with my favorite holiday/Christmas hymn – “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.”
Then the news came yesterday, while I sat at my desk continuing the gruelingly slow process of writing a novella about both apocalypse and hope, that someone had gone on a shooting spree at a college campus about 180 miles south from here. Many deaths, many injuries. Which brought back, for me, trauma feelings — sitting in front of the TV weeping — related to Newtown and Charleston and Aurora and Lafayette and so many others. That news was never far away the rest of the day.
This morning, sitting in my $40 Craigslist recliner with a cup of coffee, everyone else sleeping, I picked up the book I’d set out to read — “Zen In the Art of Writing” by Ray Bradbury — and couldn’t read it. Couldn’t concentrate. I was too angry. Too angry at the NRA, too angry at all the right wing, evangelical assholes in this country that howl and cry and bully about their second amendment rights and the sanctity of life and the keep your government out of my kitchen and all of it. I’d try to go back to Bradbury and I couldn’t even see the words, string sentences together.The letters were swimming on the page. I thought about the gun control blog that had popped into my head a couple of weeks ago, and about not wanting to be negative, not wanting to be angry, wanting in my self-perceived hip fashion to ask what’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding, and I was really disappointed in myself for not running back to my house two weeks ago and rushing to the keyboard to write what was in my heart. About my country, our planet. A country bathed in negativity. A country that shimmers with anger. That glorifies and slicks up and sexes up violence and guns.
Tell you what. If someone can guarantee me that the present laws which oversee the ownership of guns in this country will keep guns out of the hands of every mentally ill and emotional unstable individual, that every gun stored in a private home/apartment/attic/basement/tool shed will be 100 percent unavailable to anyone else whose name isn’t on that registration, that every single pistol and revolver and rifle will be transported from one place in the country to another with 100 percent certainty that it will get where it’s supposed to be going safely, that no gun will ever belong to anyone other than the person who rightfully bought it, that there will be rigid, stringent background checks, and lengthy waiting periods where honest, hard-working officials tasked with enforcement will make sure everything is on the up and up — if someone can assure me that all of this is in place every single time there is some business involving a gun, I’ll be happy to fly a banner from the antenna of my old Ford Taurus that says “Hooray for the 2nd Amendment”, “Hooray for the right to bear arms”, “Hooray for the NRA and their warm and fuzzy care about “My Fellow Americans”. I’ll drive it up and down the state, up and down Interstate 5, right past Roseburg in fact.
But until then, if you are one of those “If we outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns” types, one of those “You’ll have to pry my gun from my cold, dead fingers” types, I strongly encourage you to walk directly to the nearest bathroom, look in the mirror, and tell the person looking back at you that they are the stupidest motherfucker on the planet. It’ll feel good to tell the truth, for a change.
I wonder if the NRA lobbyist — fat cats and leeches that they are — and all the “Religious” right, holier than thou, “Pro-life”, “Family Values” congressman and senators are going to show up at the homes of the families of the victims of the Umpqua Community College shootings, and the kids from Newtown and all the others. Not just today or next week, when the broadcast news is all hot for it — the story du jour, and everyone is all sorry and sad and gushy with their sympathy — but next year on those victims’ birthdays, five years from now on their birthdays, on all the holidays and special, human occasions their families endure without them. The real family values.
I doubt it. They’ll be too busy defending our rights. You know. The life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness ones.
Here’s one more thing. I might not be able to do much, to move our country and the planet toward unconditional love, toward peace, love, and understanding. But it’s for sure that they are going to have to pry my cold, dead fingers off of this keyboard.