The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

America touts itself as being a civilized nation. Americans boast about being pro-life and congratulate themselves on valuing children.

And yet, America is killing its children. The word is filicide, and it’s defined as “the killing of one’s son or daughter.” This is America, a nation killing its own sons and daughters. America murdered nineteen of its children at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. To be clear, the killing was carried out by one eighteen year old with an assault rifle. The rifle was the instrument that the killer used to carry out America’s mandate. The killer was simply acting at the behest of American denial, inaction and love of guns.

It doesn’t stop at killing children. Most mass shooters don’t discriminate by age. Some might discriminate by race, color or creed, but make no mistake, it seems that everyone is in someone’s gun sight.

National suicide – one mass shooting at a time. Don’t think of it as simply lives lost. America is immolating whatever shreds remain of its soul, its decency.

It was only ten days between the mass murder in Buffalo and the carnage at Uvalde.

Ten days between massacres. Ten days of renewed pleas for sensible, fair legislation regarding guns and ten days of excuses, deflection, thoughts, prayers and push back from the depraved, soulless people who beatify firearms as if they’re calves of gold.

Here I am writing about guns. Again.

Why should I write about guns? Again.

Who the hell knows. Just another scream in the wilderness.

When the next mass shooting occurs, and it will, I don’t know if I’ll do a gun post. I don’t know if I’ll ever write about guns again.

What’s the point?

Ninety percent of Americans want background checks and yet the politicians who are whores of the gun lobby are holding up any legislation.

What’s the point?

In Texas, if you’re eighteen, you can’t buy a beer but you can buy a killing machine. I can’t be the only one who sees the absurdity of that.

What’s the point?

In many states you have to jump through some reasonable hoops to buy a car. Not so much when it comes to a gun.

What’s the point?

I don’t have nearly the bully pulpit of the legislators who’ve prostituted their souls. You know, like Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz, who has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from the National Rifle Association, came up with his own solution just hours after the Uvalde massacre. “We know from past experience that the most effective tool for keeping kids safe is armed law enforcement on the campus,” Cruz said in an interview on MSNBC. “Inevitably, when there’s a murder of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it. You see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” Cruz added. “That doesn’t work.”

Ted Cruz and people like him see absolutely no problem with turning schools into armed citadels. He actually suggests these things with a straight face.

Why stop there? Let’s include churches, movie theaters, indoor and outdoor concerts, supermarkets, department stores, parks, public bathrooms, stadiums, farmer’s markets, gyms, night clubs, restaurants, every Starbuck’s in America and the fucking Chuck E. Cheese over at the local strip mall. Chuck E. himself can pack heat.

“Law-abiding citizens” said Cruz. That’s one of my all time favorites. Well, Teddy, the kid who shot up the school in Uvalde was a law abiding citizen when he bought his two guns and nearly four hundred rounds of ammunition. Then he stopped being law abiding when he shot his grandmother and headed off to Robb Elementary.

The shooter at the supermarket in Buffalo was a law abiding citizen when he bought his gun as was Nikolas Cruz before he stepped onto the campus of Parkland High School in Florida. Stephen Paddock, who killed fifty-nine people and injured over five hundred in Las Vegas, was a law abiding citizen until he opened fire with a semi-automatic that he’d converted to an automatic rifle. Most of these butchers are law abiding citizens until they decide they want to be law breakers – of the worst kind.

The solutions from the gun lobby and its legislative mouthpieces are without exception, not only featherbrained, but insulting and quite frankly – obscene.

In 2019, lawmakers in six states were pushing legislation to arm teachers.

They think that well-meaning people who find their calling educating little children, would actually agree that it’s a good idea to take shooting classes and have guns in the classroom. Some lawmakers think that Mrs. Smith, the 68 year old social studies teacher would pose a threat to the healthy 18 year old who harbors malice where his soul should be.

Or maybe the teachers just get farmed out when they’re deemed too old for their “military service.”

What a marvelous idea. Because shooters announce their intentions before barging into a classroom or stepping onto a playground. Right?
The young gunman broke into the classroom.
“Wait,” shouted the teacher. “Let me find my key to the gun cabinet, retrieve my rifle and stop you in your tracks.”
No problem. The logical solution is for the teacher to have the AR slung over his/her shoulder.

Why stop there? Body armor for teachers and students. Look at the plus side, at least you won’t have kids competing over fashion.

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas was mortified that he was being outdone by liberal California.

In 2015, Abbott tweeted, “I’m EMBARRASSED: Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA. Let’s pick up the pace Texans.” In that tweet, Abbott linked to an article about Texas ordering one million guns that year. I suppose he thought that tweet was clever and funny at the time. It didn’t age well, did it Greg.

In April of last year Abbott tweeted, “Biden is threatening our 2nd Amendment rights. He just announced a new liberal power grab to take away our guns.”

If you believe this, then you apparently weren’t listening during civics class when the Constitution was discussed. Or maybe you were out back smoking cigarettes. Whatever you were doing then, rectify it and do a reread of The Constitution and pick up a basic civics book.

And if you believe what Abbott and Cruz and Mitt Romney (who has taken over thirteen million dollars from the NRA) are saying about your guns being taken away, then you’re allowing yourself to be played by greedy, power hungry politicians and pundits. Tucker Carlson knows that your guns won’t, repeat won’t, be taken away. But truth doesn’t make for good schtick.

Pay attention this time. Your guns, will – not – be – taken – away. Your right is embedded in the Constitution. To repeal an amendment requires an amendment which would have to be approved by a two-thirds vote of Congress. Following that, and it wouldn’t even get past Congress, three-quarters of the states (38 in all), would have to ratify the amendment. Pull out a map of the United States, consider the inclinations within each state, and then do the math? What thirty-eight states are going ratify a repeal of the Second Amendment? Maybe six?

The Second Amendment begins with the clause, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…”

Those two fundamental words, well regulated, have been lost in the conversation. Not infringed or abolished but well regulated. Maybe the founders should have phrased it, reasonably regulated.

My previous post discusses a relative who is a staunch, “you’ll have to pry my cold dead hands from my gun,” gun owner. Whenever an Uvalde happens, I feel a strain on the relationship. Time eventually eases the strain I feel – and it always will.

But it shouldn’t be that way.

We must, absolutely must, find common ground. Find a solution that we can all live with. So that we can all live.

29 thoughts on “America, Guns and National Suicide

  1. Holly Hunter says:

    All true. The Republicans have turned America into a ruthless ugly country where weaponizing the population is more important than children’s lives. There interest in children ends at their birth. The NRA fills their coffers with blood money and they are complicit in the killing of children.

    1. Paul says:

      I cannot for the life of me, imagine taking your evening shower, looking yourself in the mirror and then going to bed and sleeping soundly while carrying and publicizing this murderous hypocrisy. And they call themselves Christian.

  2. Hettie D. says:

    :(… no words

    1. Paul says:

      No words. We’ve exhausted the words.

  3. “The solutions from the gun lobby and its legislative mouthpieces are without exception, not only featherbrained, but insulting and quite frankly – obscene.” – You’ve said it as clearly as is possible, Paul. I am in a place of red-hot hatred right now for the elected officials who stand back and allow this to continue and the citizens who are, as you point out, absolutely stupid, falling for the NRA rhetoric. It makes me ill, literally; with every new shooting I feel a physical sense of anguish – headache, stomach ache, the works. I don’t know how any of these politicians – mostly Republicans but Democrats, too – can stand to look at themselves in the mirror anymore. I feel so powerless, and like you I sometimes think, “Ah, the hell with it; I’m not gonna write about the insanity of gun violence and lack of regulation by self-serving politicians anymore.” But we must. Besides our single vote, our voice in protest, it’s the best we can do.

    1. Paul says:

      “I am in a place of red hot hatred right now…for the citizens who are…absolutely stupid, falling for the NRA rhetoric.”
      Martin, I recently put together a listing of the five things in America that scare me.

      At the top of the list is ignorance.

      Consider, that the next senator from Georgia might be an incompetent in politics who has no political experience or any firm stated political philosophy, will refuse to debate, has been exposed as liar, and has been accused of domestic violence. His one qualification, if you wish to call it that, is that he played professional football.

      1. Walker appears to be confused about where he even is.

        1. Paul says:

          Then he’ll certainly fit right in with his Republican colleagues in the Senate.

          1. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

  4. According to the news, Robb Elementary DID have an armed school resource officer. So, arm the teachers? Like you said, s/he would have to get the key to the gun cabinet first. Maybe we should arm all the kids. Can you imagine the chaos? I am more than disgusted. I’ve heard “thoughts and prayers” so many times I don’t want to use those words myself, even when they’re appropriate.

    1. Paul says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting Marie
      Isn’t it amazing the way people will twist themselves into pretzels in order to forward a nonsensical idea, with the whole goal of protecting the ownership of an object.
      As for thoughts and prayers, I’m stunned that politicians still throw out that hollow sentiment

  5. Republican and some Democrat politicians stay loyal to their NRA masters and people keep voting for them so we regularly have charades like today’s press conference by the governor of Texas.

    1. Paul says:

      It all boils down to money and ignorance.

  6. Toonsarah says:

    Watching from afar (the UK) I continue to find it incomprehensible that any sensible, reasonably intelligent and not inhumane individual would find it acceptable that it should be so easy to acquire and use such a dreadful weapon. In fact I find it incomprehensible that anyone should support gun ownership by any other than those who need them for their occupation and arguably for the hunting of animals. And when I hear that ‘you can’t change the constitution’ I am bewildered, because surely the Second Amendment did just that? Otherwise, why call it an amendment? You say that 38 states wouldn’t vote to repeal it – why the h*** not, when to retain means more carnage like Uvalde? I can only conclude that a large majority of Americans, despite the statistics you quote, believe that on balance the retention of the right to own a gun is more important than the protection of innocent lives.

    1. Paul says:

      Hello Sarah,
      It’s impossible for me to try and put myself in the place of someone like a Ted Cruz and offer some explanation or reason behind the absolute refusal to compromise in some measure on gun legislation.

      Let me be clear. I think every gun in this country should be melted down.

      “…when I hear that ‘you can’t change the constitution’ I am bewildered, because surely the Second Amendment did just that? Otherwise, why call it an amendment?”

      The constitution can absolutely be changed and it is by amendment. It’s been amended 27 times, the first 10 constituting the Bill of Rights. In my piece I’m not saying that the Constitution CAN’T be amended as regards repeal of the 2nd Amendment, I’m stating that, realistically it WON’T be amended,

      There are not enough Congressmen with the political courage to vote in favor of a repeal amendment. It would be political suicide in most states. Even if we had enough members of Congress willing to fall on their swords, there are no 38 states willing to ratify – political suicide.

      “I can only conclude that a large majority of Americans, despite the statistics you quote, believe that on balance the retention of the right to own a gun is more important than the protection of innocent lives.”

      There are people who are pushing for fewer restrictions on guns. States are passing laws that relax restrictions. In many states, one had to go through training and special licensing in order to carry a concealed weapon. Those restrictions are being removed so that in many states you can carry a concealed gun. You may even have seen photos of people in the check out line of Walmart with an assault rifle slung over a shoulder (To answer your obvious question, I’ve no idea why someone would bring their phone, wallet, shopping list and gun to go buy the groceries).

      Republicans are twisting themselves into pretzels trying to come up with ideas to reduce mass shootings without restricting ownership of assault rifles and high capacity magazines.
      Arm teachers. I can only recall Mrs. Campbell, my white haired, 60 something year old fourth grade teacher.
      Restrict entry to a school to one locked gate. Marvelous idea until there’s a fire or a shooter actually manages to breach the gate.

      As I tried to point out in two posts, everyday Americans do not have a basic knowledge of civics. If they did, everytime time Ted Cruz says, “They’re going to take your guns away,” the public would call bullshit.

      Statistics clearly show that America has more gun deaths by far than every other civilized nation. Americans like to tout “American exceptionalism.” We’re very exceptional at being ignorant.

      I’ve attached a link to a poll from November of 2021.

    2. Scott Blake says:

      It’s common and understandable that people in the U.K. would wonder about and be appalled by the obscene amount of gun love that exists in the U.S. I’m appalled by it and don’t expect to see it end during my lifetime.

  7. Forestwood says:

    Heartbreaking. And I sense the despair that resolution on this issue is unreachable.

    A dreadful mix of fear, greed, control and politics. The gun lobby and supporters seem to want and think you fight fire with fire, the bigger the better.
    It sounds like it will take massive education and awareness campaigns starting with small children and continuing for at least a generation to even slightly lower the barriers the US has in achieving gun restraint. I hope I am wrong.

    1. Paul says:

      “It sounds like it will take massive education and awareness campaigns starting with small children and continuing for at least a generation to even slightly lower the barriers the US has in achieving gun restraint.”
      Unfortunately, gunners beget baby gunners. It’s a sort of sick family tradition.
      That said, education and critical thinking would be a good place to start. Both of those tools might expose the lies propagated by politicians.

  8. mavimet says:

    I have never understood why guns are more cherished by so many people in the U.S. than children are (except for when the children are in a womb)

    1. Paul says:

      It is a puzzlement. My grandchildren go through shooter drills at school. I don’t know why people think that should be status quo

  9. Scott Blake says:

    Ted Cruz is a prick with ears. He is such a total clown in the circus that is American politics that it’s hard to figure on anyone taking him as a serious candidate for anything other than dog catcher. Right, let’s arm the schools and the malls and every other public place. Makes me think of the All in the Family episode where Archie advocated for each airline passenger to be given a gun upon entering the plane, thus evening the playing field between would-be hijackers and everyone else. Greg Abbott is also a prick with ears and is referred to by my friend Chris in Oregon as “Trump on wheels”. I know Chris very well and know that he doesn’t mean any disrespect to those in wheelchairs.

    “Law-abiding citizens” is what we always hear about when a heinous crime has been committed. “He was always quiet” and “He never caused any trouble” are the typical statements. It was said about Lee Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan. It has probably been said for centuries: “That John Wilkes Booth, such a nice man and never caused his neighbors any problems”.

    I give you credit for being able to stomach the news barrage over the latest mass shooting. When I heard of it and that it involved school kids, I shut down my watching the news to some extent. I watch it on YouTube and so can fast forward to other less noxious bits of news. You know; Putin’s Hitlerian war on Ukraine, baby formula shortages, rises in COVID cases, the usual news stories. I don’t want to know more about the deranged shooter and his motivations. I don’t want to hear punchbowl turds like Cruz ramble on about the 2nd Amendment. I don’t want to hear about how background checks are anti-American.

    What I do want is for this horrid endless chain of events to end. I understand the mechanics involved with “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. What aggravates me about such foolishness is the refusal to accept that people aren’t killing each other (at least in mass numbers) by doing demolition derby on the freeways (except for LA freeways and eternal thanks to Guy Clark for immortalizing that often awful experience into a classic song). People aren’t killing bunches of people with knives. They are using guns and typically guns with multiple fire capability. If we had stuck to flintlock pistols and muskets, this wouldn’t be happening.

    Agreed about the irritation with those who jump on the 2nd Amendment as their right to own anything just shy of a Tiger tank. The operative phrase in that amendment is “well-regulated militia”. That amendment is the best example of why our Constitution needs to be rewritten to reflect the 21st century. It was written in a horse and buggy world. As you said, what is being regulated? Militias (not counting the ones full of Duck Dynasty types) have gone the way of the Dodo, the Passenger Pigeon, and vaudeville.

    Jefferson (Thomas, not George) said that the Earth belongs to the living and advocated for the Constitution to be rewritten every generation. As you stated, the amendment process is almost impossible. I have a better chance of having an intimate relationship with Salma Hayek that this country has of getting amendments passed.

    Your closing paragraph made me think of the Wild West, when it was common for shootings in saloons and in the street and in the general store. So much for progress. The only progress we’re making is the variety of places such shooting occur, which is regression and not progression. I do like your mention of 55-gallon drums of capers. Those and cornichons could go with larger containers. That will happen when gun violence becomes part of distant memory, so I can figure on buying capers in small bottles for the rest of my life.

    1. Scott Blake says:

      I’ll amend my comment about you saying the amendment process is almost impossible, which you didn’t. As you pointed out, it doesn’t happen frequently. It’s not impossible but often it is improbable. I agree with you that any significant change to the 2nd Amendment doesn’t seem realistic, at least not for the next few decades.

    2. Paul says:

      Not much to your comment that I can add except that I’m in dread of the upcoming mid-terms. Unless things change, it’s going to be a blood bath (and I don’t mean to come off as flippant given the subject of my post). The administration needs to get its shit in order and very quickly. As usual the Democrats seem to be about five steps behind. It’s like watching Charles Barkley guarding Steph Curry.

  10. eden baylee says:

    Hi Paul,
    This is an informative and exceptionally well written piece.
    I just wish you didn’t have to write it.

    1. Paul says:

      I don’t mean to be flippant but I suppose that I can use this piece as a template for the many future posts on gun violence that are sure to come up. Just change the names, the places and the dates.

  11. I wish we in Canada could say things are much better here. We too have racism, guns, cars that purposely kill, and hatred of those different from ourselves. What is happening to us? Good luck.

    1. Paul says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting.
      Every country has problems. Many of those problems are common to many countries.
      Some countries admit the problems and the causes and tackle them head on.
      Other countries lack the gumption to face reality. Their solutions to problems are based on greed and selfishness and so the “solutions” turn out to be worthless.

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