Gun Violence In America – The Show Must NOT Go On

Young woman kneeling at flowers left and mourning after El Paso shooting.

 

by Jennifer Keller Puebla


 

We’ve had another mass shooting in America. And another. And another. We say “in America” even though that’s pretty much a given. We say it in order to imagine we aren’t the only ones. But we know we nearly are.

We’re the only ones making gun violence normal. The only ones making it part of the routine to just get on with our lives when hundreds of others can’t.

The dead, the injured, the mourning, and the traumatized will never return to the lives they had the day before the shots were fired.

It’s been a week and still the only concern for some is to clutch their guns more tightly to their chests than others have held the bleeding and broken bodies of their loved ones who have become the latest human sacrifices on the “shall not be infringed” alter.

Just as the Constitution has become the Bible for many on the “Right” the 2nd Amendment is their favorite verse of scripture. And just the way people misquote the real Bible they often quote this “verse” without understanding and without context. For instance,

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America

If this preamble, the very introduction to the contents of the Constitution is to be taken seriously then the 2nd cannot mean what so many of these “gun nuts” want it to. Zero regulation. Things are not tranquil. There is no general welfare demonstrated in the level of gun violence we have in our society. And one of the blessings of liberty should be being able to not fear for your life every time you leave your home. But they interpret it like this “**** **** ****** ******** COMMON DEFENSE ****** ***** SECURE *****LIBERTY TO OURSELVES******etc

As soon as anyone say the words “guns” after a mass shooting they spring to action. No human life is too young or too old or too many to overcome their devotion. Innocent victims are “acceptable losses” when it comes to securing their “right” to enables death and, for some, to make money in the process.

Fox poll showing desire for gun control measures

Despite growing and overwhelming evidence to the contrary the Pope, I mean the head of the NRA phoned the White House shortly after Dayton to “warn” that the GOP base would not tolerate improved background checks. Voters would be lost.

It’s about power and position not human lives. What sane human being can desire that someone wholly unfit to own a weapon not be prevented from doing so unless it is because they wish to perpetuate the problem for personal or professional gain?

I wasn’t there. I don’t know anyone affected directly, still I’m having a problem “getting on.” I can’t fathom what the victims and families are going through. What I do know though is I find myself more and more putting off going to sleep at night because of wondering what I will wake up to next.

There is a saying “the show must go on.” The Free Dictionary defines it as:

“A set phrase meaning that whatever has been planned or scheduled must be carried  out, regardless of the current circumstances, including any problems or disruption.”

It is continuing with the norm no matter what, as if it’s OK.

This isn’t OK. Nothing about this is OK. Bulletproof backpacks for children are not OK The fact that they are selling out is not OK. Having your purse or bag searched at the movie theater is not OK.

I have friends who are afraid to go out shopping or to crowded events and that’s no OK. Most of all bombers, bullies, and shooters being inspired by or their ideals being further validated from the highest levels of our government is absolutely not OK. In fact it’s Stochastic terrorism

 1. “The use of mass communication to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are  statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.” 

 2. “Remote-control murder by lone wolf.”

Graffiti mural of clowns and man with his head down America has become a circus and there are far too many clowns and every time this performance takes place they throw buckets of confetti toward the bleachers, each piece with a tiny label of blame saying something like “video games,” “mental illness,” “not enough prayer,” “single parents,” “sin,” “gays,” “the other guy,” “Chicago” and so on and on.

The same old excuses because the show must go on. Not a single fragment from the clown buckets ever says “easy access to guns” and we’ve been sitting here watching the same act for decades.

We are the audience, if we’re lucky, watching helplessly as the blood of the unwitting players soaks all the little bits of colorful impotent distractions. And as horrified as we, the untouched, are we just keep sitting through it! We may heckle to varying degrees but then we meld back onto the bleachers to watch the same old show. Because it must go on.

I went to work on Monday and, working with people as I do I was asked many times “how are you?” And I said, “fine.” I was numb and at the same time screaming on the inside and I said, “fine.”

I wasn’t “fine.” I’m not fine! And I realized after about the 6th time that the absurdity of that reply the day after back to back mass shootings which had only shortly followed another was more than I could morally choke out anymore. For the rest of the day I just ignored the question. I wasn’t rude. I just moved the conversation along. I decided I would carry on, but the show be damned.

Definition of insanity quote

Carrying on is different. You can’t comfort people, confront evil, or search for alternatives to the same old insanity with a “show must go on” mentality. All that knows is how to apply band-aids. How to protect tradition and project fantasy.

However, when you “carry on” it leaves room for change. It requires forward movement and offers room for change as opposed to the stagnation of maintaining the show. You must continue your life, go about your business, return to personal or family routines, you go out shopping or to events despite your fear but you don’t pretend nothing happened. You don’t ignore facts or put tragedy out of your mind. You don’t have to accept the repetition of failed policies and habits. You can look for solutions rather than patching the status quo.

You crawl through the rubble, unashamed of being a little more broken, to do what needs to be done and work for change. Regardless. The bad guys never win but neither do the circus masters nor the clowns. You refuse to sit through another performance and carry on to a build a better tomorrow.

I’m not fine. You’re not fine whether you admit or even realize it or not. We need to pull the tent stakes up on shit show that is gun regulations in the US and carry on with getting the clowns out of the offices of leadership at every level.

There is very little reason to fear an all out firearm ban in the US. Besides there being no way to implement one or verify it’s success there is no real heart for one. 

A Pew research on gun ownership from 2017 shows that 16% of Democrats own guns and another 9% have them in their households. It also shows that 36% of independents own with another 12% having guns in their households leaving less than 10% fewer independent homes with guns than Republican ones.

courtroom gavel and deskOn top of this, recent Supreme Court decisions such as Heller have squashed any serious attempt at all out bans. Heller was a fight against the handgun ban in DC.

Gun owners won by making the argument that the 2nd did not just apply to members of a militia. As a result portions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 were struck down.

The court removed restrictions on handguns and also ended the requirement for rifles and shotguns to be kept unloaded and disassembled or trigger locked.

The reasoning being they would not be quickly to hand if needed to protect ones home. The court however did not find all regulations to be unconstitutional and added this to their decision:

Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”                 

My concern, as a gun owner, is that the more the radical pro gun side shows it is unwilling to make
even the smallest common sense compromises in reasonable gun control the more fence sitters on the issue will come down on the side of the radical anti gun side. Judges change. With enough public opinion the very Constitution can change. The “gun nuts” may be the ones to precipitate the nightmare of being totally disarmed that they fear.

  1. Universal background check across state lines including mental competency required for every sale including gun shows and private sales.
  2. Waiting lists
  3. Red Flag laws (concerning those who are evidenced to be a danger to themselves or others. Here is a list of the actual bills you can read rather than propaganda that is being passed around.
  4. Licensing, training, insurance, and registration
  5. No gifts or inheritance with background checks on recipient (also see #4)

These measures do not infringe on anyone who should own a gun. Let the NRA and other 2nd A groups use some of their millions to help anyone who cannot afford to train and license their arms. Set up firearm education centers in the inner cities to take the manhood out of violence. And let them do what they always love telling other groups to do “police their own.”

We must start acting to save lives.  The show must not go on and on and on. Instead we must carry on.  And we can help carry those who are too weak on their own. We can no longer pretend this is “the price we pay.”
And we will not be “fine” until real change is established and we can live our lives and sleep at night without fearing what the next act might entail or when or where it might begin.


man holding his small son on the beach at sunset

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