Scratching My Head

I’ve frequently purchased “Southern Living” magazine. “Home and Garden” is one I enjoy thumbing through, too. Oh, “House Beautiful” should get a mention, but “Garden & Gun?”

Really? I was almost tempted to buy the periodical just to see photos of people gardening with their guns. Maybe they use a pistol in place of a spade. Or a rifle as a hoe. My imagination has been titillated.

I’m not a gardener, but the essence of a garden is peace and life. To paraphrase Tina Turner, “What’s gun got to do with it?”

Peace, people.

Physician, Heal Thyself

I was on vacation in the Texas panhandle when our nation experienced two mass shootings in two very different parts of the country.

From CNN:

  • Two shootings: At least 31 people were killed over the weekend in mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.
  • El Paso: 22 people were killed in El Paso after a mass shooting on Saturday. Police said they found an anti-immigrant document espousing white nationalist and racist views, which they believe was written by the suspect. He may face hate crime charges in addition to capital murder charges.
  • Dayton: Another nine people were killed in a shooting in the Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio. The suspect in that shooting is dead.

Meanwhile, Studly Doright and I were involved in family fun at a reunion–grandkid watching, overeating, swimming, laughing, hugging, playing, storytelling. As news of the shootings came through we absorbed the generalities and continued with our event. My heart was heavy, but there was nothing any of us could do at that time except love our own families and watch over each other. Now that I’m home, I have time to process the information, and I’m furious.

As with every mass shooting in this country, politicians offer thoughts and prayers, yet nothing meaningful gets done to prevent the next shooting, or the one after that. In many ways it seems that some members of our current administration have encouraged such violence.

In May of this year, at a political rally, the current POTUS asked the Florida audience how to stop migrants from entering the country.

“How do you stop these people? You can’t, there’s,”–Trump paused as an attendee shouted, “Shoot them!”

Trump smirked and said, “That’s only in the panhandle you can get away with that statement.” The crowd cheered wildly for 10 seconds before Trump continued his speech.

I live in the Florida panhandle. That kind of talk is not acceptable even here, but our Divider-in-Chief encourages it and applauds it. He has set the tone, and it is one of violence and hatred of those who are not white “Christians”.

Now, in the wake of the shootings, many Republicans are scrambling to cover all of their familiar talking points.

1) Blame the video games! As if kids in the U.S. are the only ones who play violent video games.

2) Blame mental illness! So only the U.S. has a population suffering from some form of mental illness? And while mental illness might play a role in these heinous acts, in 2017 trump rolled back an Obama-era regulation that made it more difficult for people with mental illness to purchase guns. Yes, trump green lighted gun ownership for those who might be prone to violence.

3) Blame gays! A few crazy people believe that homosexuality is to blame for our gun violence problem. Of course these people also believe homosexuality causes earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

4) It’s not the gun’s fault! Well, maybe guns don’t kill people, people kill people, but easy access to guns sure makes it easier for them to do so.

5) It’s because we can’t pray in school! Seriously? God, as I understand it, is omnipresent. I’m not sure any of us can keep such a deity out of any location. And, as the old saying goes, as long as there are tests, there’ll be prayer in school.

5) If someone wants to kill, they’ll find some other way if guns aren’t available. Again, guns are way too easy to attain in this country. Bombs? Not so much. Knives? Easy to come by, but it’s difficult to achieve the body count that guns provide. And let’s face it, it’s a huge body count these killers (overwhelmingly white and male) are aiming for. Plus, killing with a knife is up close work. These mass shooters don’t want to dirty their hands, and a gun allows them to kill indiscriminately from a distance. It’s an impersonal act that reaps huge results.

The GOP is now urging us to come together, but most Republican congressmen and women aren’t willing to jeopardize their good standing with the National Rifle Association by enacting meaningful gun control legislation. It’s difficult to “come together” with people who are okay with gun violence as long as the NRA is lining their pockets.

I am a gun owner. I enjoy occasionally taking target practice. No one is coming for all of our guns, but there must be change. We are the only first world country that has mass shootings on an almost weekly basis.

Peace, people.

Don’t

Don’t

Don’t be shocked by another school shooting, the eleventh in this brand new year.

Don’t tell me we are better than this; obviously, we are not.

Don’t send up thoughts and prayers. God honors action, not weepy hand-wringing.

Don’t try to console me; your words are empty.

Don’t tell me you are pro-life when clearly you support the industry of death.

Don’t.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/tennessee/articles/2018-01-23/governor-1-dead-many-wounded-in-kentucky-school-shooting

Guns in Church

Will we take our guns to church now?

Jesus take the wheel, but leave me my pistol

Dylan Roof opened fire in a South Carolina prayer meeting

Now more dead occupy the pews in Texas

Just wondering which firearm goes best with Psalms.

Yea, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil,

For I am armed with a semi-automatic weapon.

No doubt lawmakers will offer meaningless thoughts and prayers

Their mantra sounding weaker by the hour

Who will answer for these deaths?

Who will offer a solution?

Counting Costs

Say the words of prayer and grief, lament the price of life’s cruel thief

Close the coffin, light the pyre,
forty-nine dead, when will we tire

Of violence, untimely loss,
naming names and counting costs?

After Columbine, Aurora, Newtown?
San Bernadino, Orlando, Charleston?

Too many times, too many lives,
close the coffin, on sons and wives.

Daughters and fathers laid to rest
a clueless nation fails the test.

Again, Dammit

Again Americans
mourn the deaths of
those lost to
gun violence.

Again politicians
offer their thoughts
and prayers and
meaningless
platitudes
whilst simultaneously
pocketing what can only be
described as
blood money
courtesy of the
National Rifle
Association.

Again mothers mourn
the loss of children
and children mourn
the loss of parents
while those
lacking in
humanity worry that
Obama’s gonna
confiscate their
fucking
guns.

Don’t talk to
me of prayers on
one hand
and praise
guns on the
other.
Your hypocrisy
is exceeded
only by your
utter lack of
compassion.

Guns and Thorns

the fetishists have cried,

“leave our guns alone!”

when no one has called

for their removal.

paranoid fools who fail

to see or care, cry time

and time again that any

move breeds futility

while still more innocents

die and we offer up only

thoughts and prayers.

Peace, people.

  

Sometimes Pain

pain is now televised
pundits ponder the
circumstances

terrorist ties?
white male loner?
more gun regulations?
fewer gun restrictions?

does any of that matter anymore?
have we accepted this as the
usual business?

sometimes pain
overrides the well-worn
patterns,
overcomes the malaise.

i find curses slipping from my lips like wine from a carafe:
emboldened red,
dizzying,
potent.

but please,
don’t show me
i’m all pained out,
the story remains
the same.

Studly and the Second Amendment

Trust me on this, I’m not going to get political in this post, it’s simply a summary of a conversation Studly Doright and I had this afternoon in regard to the Second Amendmendent to the United States Constitution. 

First, here’s that amendment:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Normally Studly and I don’t discuss gun issues. We own a couple of guns, but the only time we plan to carry them is when we go to the shooting range to learn which end to hold and which to point. 

In other words, we have no plans to run around carrying weapons of deadly force in public. Ours are for snake killng, period.

But there are a whole lot of folks in this country who advocate for open carry of firearms. This gives me the willies for a couple of reasons. 1) how do I know this gun toter is sane and 2) how do I know this gun toter is sane. I could add more reasons, but they’d look just like reasons 1and 2.

The simple answer is there’s no way to know for sure, but in Texas now police officers are not allowed to ask a gun toter if he or she has a permit to carry. That seems counterintuitive: There exists legislation requiring gun owners to have proof of licensing, but the officers who are sworn to uphold that law are not allowed to make sure it’s being followed.

This is where Studly comes into the conversation. I read an article about the new Texas law aloud to him, voicing my concern. 

“Well,” said he, “I really don’t see what the problem is as long as the person is obeying the law. Once they step outside the law then police officers can take action.” Then he topped this off with, “It is a second amendment right after all, “‘to keep and bear arms.'”

That always infuriates me when someone isolates that phrase from the amendment, but instead of getting pissed, I said, “Arrgh!!!” Okay, maybe I got a little pissed.

“What?” Studly asked. “That’s what it says, right?”

Patiently I read the entire amendment to him. To me it’s black and white. The well regulated militia is key to the whole argument. But Studly believes that the phrase “well regulated” has more to do with the registration and licensing than with an actual organized militia.

Sigh. This seems to be the cause of much misunderstanding. Not just in my home, but in the nation. I’m not comfortable with folks carrying guns in public. I know all the arguments for and against. I know the propaganda and the emotions involved. 

I just wish we could evolve past the Wild West mentality. 

 

Peace, people.