Monday, December 17, 2012
A Gun Culture
I have friends who tell me that the problem isn't guns, it's our culture. It's our society.
I agree - the problem is our culture. And our culture is guns. We have a gun culture in this country. In our culture, when people collect guns, it's a hobby. Like collecting tea pots. Or rare stamps. People can talk about the stock, the craftsmanship, the rarity of the particular production year, and forget that what they're talking about is a weapon designed to kill.
I'm a parent. If I were not a parent, I'd be fully prepared to get medieval about this latest massacre. You know the way that anti-abortion people parade around photos of dead fetuses? It's the most grotesque, most shocking way to make your point. I'd be doing that with the pictures of the children who died in Newtown.
But I can't do that, because I can't even look at the pictures. I change the station when a story comes on. I have a child. I have a son, and I'm going to go drop him off at his school this morning, and I'll probably take longer to say goodbye than usual.
I am heartsick, people. and I am every time this happens.
I remember the first time. It was in San Ysidro, California. A man shot dozens of people at a McDonald's restaurant, just like the one where my son and I had dinner on Wednesday. He had an Uzi, along with other weapons. It was 1984.
I remember Columbine. I used to live in Colorado, so that hit home for me. Before that, there was the kid in Moses Lake. And Kentucky. And Mississippi. And Jonesboro, Arkansas. Yes, there were school shootings before Columbine. Lots of them.
Too many. Shootings in schools. Shootings in shopping malls. In restaurants. In homes. On street corners. Too many.
So what are we supposed to do, live in a police state? Station an armed officer at the door of every school, every mall, every public place? Turn our country into a military zone, all because we can't admit that guns are as much a part of our culture as Sunday football?
We have to do something. This is no longer acceptable. It wasn't acceptable in 1984. It wasn't acceptable in 1999. It's beyond acceptable now. We should all be rioting in the streets, demanding that our nation's leaders act now to keep guns off the streets and out of the hands of unstable people. We should all be angry. I'm angry. I'm sick - my heart is sick - but I'm angry. And today, we need to use that anger to demand change.