Guns and Shit
Writing against guns in America never got us anywhere. And likely never will.
Yes, I’m going to rant about guns right here on my own page. It’s not as if I haven’t done this dozens of times before on other pages of mine. I have. At my now-defunct political blog, Ramona’s Voices, I wrote specifically about guns 17 times, with maybe a dozen more peripherally mentioning them.
I know I wrote that many because I just typed ‘guns’ into the search bar over there and they all came up, haunting me—as if I didn’t already feel so bloody impotent I want to go on screaming and stomping and raging in that same way I’ve done so many times before.
I get it that I’m just one insignificant person and nothing I’ve spent hours and hours trying to say will ever have enough impact to make a difference, but I’m singling myself out to prove a point:
Nobody, not a single writer, even those far more famous than me, has ever been able to write the magic words that will stop the horror of American mass murders, made so conveniently easy thanks to half the country’s obsession with military-style assault weapons.
Yesterday, May 24, 2022, an 18-year-old gunman wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying an AR-15 assault rifle, entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and mowed down dozens of second, third, and fourth grade students and their teachers, killing 19 students and two teachers and grievously wounding scores of others.
Thoughts and prayers and cries of ‘enough is enough!’ flooded the airwaves as everyone with access to a camera and a microphone expressed their shock, their anger, their rage, their condolences, their pity, their grief—without a single constructive solution to the problem—which we all know is government-sanctioned ready access to formerly banned assault weapons and the ammunition that feeds them.
The reason 21 lives could be lost in a matter of mere minutes is because those weapons hold magazines that rat-a-tat a spray of bullets guaranteed to shred skin and bone and sinew with one long pull of the trigger. They can’t miss their targets and they’re guaranteed to kill and maim. They’re built to do just that. And there are hundreds of thousands of them out there, in the hands of people we don’t know and can’t get away from because the system is designed to give them cover.
Why am I writing this in my writing newsletter? You know all of this. I don’t expect you to have the answers, either. But this is my community. We writers believe we hold the keys to insight and information and we spend our lives honing our abilities in order to get it right. To say it right. To make a difference.
I so wanted to make a difference. I honestly, foolishly believed I could make a difference with everything I wrote about those vicious guns and the human devastation they reap. Time and time again, year after year, I thought our outcries—the outcries of every sensible writer in the nation—would do it, would finally end that madness and the visions of all that blood and pain and either make the gun world come to their senses on their own or they’d be forced to by an enlightened government courageous enough to do the right thing without fear of retribution or lost elections.
It didn’t happen. It hasn’t happened. And we’re back again, doing the same thing over and over, as if doing the same thing over and over without resolution isn’t sheer madness.
So here I am today, bewildered and exhausted, because I need you to tell me all hope isn’t lost, that this new massacre is finally the last straw. That change will happen.
The children are dead. The teachers are dead. Again. I can’t stand thinking we’re helpless. We simply can’t go on being helpless, no matter how ruthless and powerful the gun advocates are. If there are answers, they’re beyond me. And you. And everyone else batting their heads against walls while the people who should have the answers are sticking to band-aids and platitudes rather than face the inevitable: they have to stop the killing. They have to.
They have to.
And now I’m done. My day goes on. I’m not one of those parents who didn’t sleep at all last night grieving over the child they’ve lost in a way that is so horrifying nobody ever even wants to think about it.
And there’s the problem. A few days of this and it’s over again until the next time, and the next time, and the next time.
If you feel like talking about this, I’m here. We’re here. And if you don’t, I’m the last person to say you must. I’m exhausted, too. This is all I’ve got. I’m sorry.
(Oh, I wrote this thread on Twitter today. One simple solution. Not that it’ll go anywhere.)
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