A nation of guns

I recently ranted on my podcast about guns, abortions, and transgender youth. Given that I started the podcast as a kind of cathartic remembering of my life and its strange turns, this was a new topic for sure. But I felt as though I would explode if I didn’t do it because my anger had reached a level where choking on those words might have caused me to stroke out. And my doctors wouldn’t want that to happen. So, here’s the basic question that is choking me because no one seems to be able to give me a good answer.

When did we become a nation that values assault rifles over our children?

Every time a mass shooting happens, we are horrified that anyone would do anything like that. When they kill adults, our hearts break for their families and loved ones. But when they kill our children, there is no comfort to offer because the searing pain takes a long time, if ever, to pass.

We hear from mostly conservative, gun loving politicians that this isn’t about guns, it’s about mental health and the need for better services for those who suffer from a mental illness. Then they vote against the money and programs needed to help those people before they pick up an assault rifle and wander over to the nearest school to kill some kids so they’ll feel better.

The fact that decent gun control laws would perhaps keep an assault rifle out of their hands to begin with is glossed over. Apparently, it is more important to assure the rights of everyone in this country to own an assault rifle than it is to protect our children.

What an upside-down world we live in!

I want to ask mothers and fathers where they find the courage to send their children to school every day knowing they may come home in a box for burial. I want to ask how they can do that without sobbing and holding their children tightly before the school bus shows up and brings them to the war zone that used to be called our schools.

It happened so slowly that we almost didn’t notice. But our schools have become war zones where our children practice how to stay alive while someone sprays round after rounds of bullets in their classroom. You know, the room where we thought we were sending them to learn reading and math, not how to stop your classmate from bleeding to death next to you. We have children using see through backpacks so they can’t bring guns to school. We have metal detectors at the front doors and then everyone gets locked in when school starts in the hope that a shooter doesn’t arrive who knows how to blow those door locks to pieces with their assault rifle.

Our schools have become scary places where children die and the best we can do is suggest we arm teachers. Imagine going to college to become a teacher. Now imagine that you are that teacher and you actually thought you went to college to learn how to teach children math or English, history or geography. Imagine how surprised that teacher will be to learn that what they should have studied was marksmanship.

America has become a country that exports war, guns, missiles and any other object of mass destruction that will make money for the armament companies. Our military hasn’t fought a war to protect America since World War II except for trying to destroy Al Qaida. Not to worry, they survived.

The world views us as a warlike nation that will come in and destroy your country if we don’t like who your leaders are. Don’t believe me? As an Iraqi or a Vietnamese citizen how America “liberating” them has made their world so much better… or not.

We are obsessed with guns and what we can do with them. Because of that fascination, we have become the terrorists of our own children.

This is not my America. It shouldn’t be yours.