The New American Way

I could point out all the numbers, but it wouldn’t make a difference. I can wax poetic about how wrong it is for people to do this to one another, but it won’t make a difference. We could pile up all the dead children and young people in front of the homes of every politician and NRA member, and it won’t make a difference.

Nothing will leave a dent.

Gun violence in the United States is now a tradition. In some states, whoever wants a gun, especially a semi-automatic weapon, can get one without too much of a hard time and with a little patience/planning. Other more restrictive states do their part, but if you want an AR-15 on American soil, you can get one.

Better yet, your parents, older relatives, or maybe even your neighbors may have a readily accessible gun hoard that they, for reasons known only to them, leave unsecured.

And stuff like Robb Elementary and Sandy Hook happens. We used to be shocked by school shootings, but now even elementary school shootings are pretty much par for the course. A guy slaughtering people from the window of his Las Vegas hotel room? Reporters getting shot in a live stream?

All just part of the new American way of life.

I’ve fired guns. It’s exhilarating, and from a sporting perspective quite satisfying. The unbridled power and unique feeling is totally alien to any computer or video game. In the westerns I adore, the rifle and revolver are the staples of every hero and villain that breathe the outlaw air of an untamed American west. Guns are fascinating, exciting, and terrifying.

But this country has no accountability for this invention. We as a general culture have silently, or explicitly in some cases, agreed that guns are a human right that should be acquirable with only the most meager of restriction, and there should be no cap on how powerful or deadly those acquirable guns should be. How individuals secure those guns is entirely up to them. If people get ahold of those guns and kill a pile of children at school or Black people going grocery shopping, so be it.

They are, according to our elected officials, a necessary sacrifice.

We’ve done nothing, and we’re out of ideas.

If you own guns, lock them up. Separate the ammunition from the weapons. Redundantly secure your unnecessary armories.

Maybe consider destroying the more brazen, wildly deadly assault rifles you own. When you’re out in the country innocently shooting cans or clay pigeons, think about that same weapon in the hands of a wild-eyed bigot, mowing down some elderly Black folks, or being brandished by a maniac determined to make headlines by riddling the bodies of small children, stacking corpses high and destroying the lives of families forevermore.

Maybe consider voting for further gun security and restrictions, hell, maybe consider running for some sort of local office to where you could help evangelize responsible gun ownership. Do something. Do anything.

Because nobody in our government will. They, like most of us, have simply given up.

I’m going to go about my day now, as I do every day, and hope that during my waking hours, I’m one of the lucky ones that doesn’t get shot.

Thankfully I’m not going into an elementary school. That should help my chances.

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