Reflections on the
Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre Las Vegas Mass Shooting, Which State Statute NRS 202.4415 Defines as an "Act of Terrorism"
(I wrote this on December 15th, 2012, the day after the murders of 20 students and 6 educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Since then, nearly 2000 Americans have died in mass shootings, thousands more have been injured. Nothing has changed, no progress has been made. Tragically, it applies as even more now than it did then.)
Looking back on the last few years, when it appeared America's soul had finally been bought, owned and sold by Wall Street special interests, debilitated by those who would deny health care to millions in need, reduced to lower standards of living by anti-labor corporatists, crippled by those who desire to deny equal rights based on gender or sexuality, judged and proselytized by fundamentalist Christians with no concept of the separation of church and state or the core values taught by their Christ, defiled by racists whose lives are driven by fear of Islam and by the success of a black community organizer and law professor who had the audacity to have had a Muslim father born in Kenya and who succeeded in spite of the odds created by the bigoted system devised to keep men and women like him "in their place," what we now see as the real threat is a mentality that still insists that "guns don't kill people, people kill people." That's the foremost mental health threat we face, the soul sickness that will ultimately destroy us: The gun lobby's culpability in the slaughter of babies in elementary school and their insistence that they are innocent.
"Nothing surprises ya anymore" and "It's not the time to talk about gun control" is the mental health problem we face. It means that our souls have been so stripped of compassion, our minds so numbed by what we see on the news, in films, video games or on television or the twisted revenge scenarios we create in our minds because we're too shallow and afraid to sacrifice or simply show up and be of service, that we're not surprised by kindergarten children and their teachers being mowed down by semi-automatic weapons - weapons of war - in an American elementary school. Our bitter, self-serving resignation to the belief that we are who we are and will not change and cannot learn a new way is the mental health issue we face. And another, more insidious and threatening one, is the mentality that claims, after such a wound to our hearts and souls and flesh, one of two things 1) that 2nd Amendment rights supersede the rights of parents to send their babies to school without the risk of being massacred by the clinically depressed with WEAPONS MADE ONLY FOR WAR, and 2) that this equates on any level whatsoever with the constitutional right of women to choose have an abortion.
It's time, finally, to prove we care more the living and breathing than our religious or constitutional delusions of supremacy and dogma. And we do not need to prove this to our gods. Our gods are allowing us the rope - and the ability to choose - to either hang ourselves or set ourselves free.
We need to prove it to our children. We need to save them from the slaughter. That's our ultimate, god-given responsibility. And we will never, ever accomplish this by legally handing out any kind of firearms - weapons of war, not personal protection - to anyone who wants them without any kind of regulation whatsoever.
It's time - again and finally - to draw the line. This is the war civilized America should be fighting: The war between those still surprised enough to be moved to work for change by these crimes against reason and humanity and those who aren't. Between those who are still surprised and moved to work for change and those who will stand idly by while more of our babies are mowed down by automatic weapons, just so they can still possess the weapon for their "collection". What are we collecting, ultimately? And whom, ultimately, does our "collection" serve?
Those who would possess the weapon above all else represent the mental health problem we face. And they cannot be cured or beaten by reason, love or tolerance. They don't understand it; it's not in their wheelhouse, as they say. They must be yanked from their position of power, of legal control, by force. It's time to be moved enough to finally move on them.
The choice is simple to me: It's between those who would insist on unlimited and unregulated access to the weapon and those who would protect the living. They are not one and the same and they never will be, no matter what those who believe otherwise might say or fire at us to convince us.
Contributing Editor: James Morrison
I am a father, husband, actor, singer/songwriter, teacher, and balance-seeker, consumed by issues that I feel will negatively impact the quality of my son's life in the future, as well as all other kids, like him and not. As far as my personal politics are concerned, I was raised to believe we should leave our children a better world (and planet) than we inherited, and that we must work together to protect each other's rights under the law, stand (or kneel) for those who are oppressed, forgotten and in need, actively care about the welfare of others, and that government must be answerable to ALL its people, not just the moneyed and aggressively privileged few.