I (and many others) have been accused of "politicizing" the recent murders of 26 people in Newtown, CT. I have been berated for not showing sufficient deference to the victims and their families by not talking about the "gun issue." I am told that I should set this aside in favor of simply feeling badly for them, of offering thoughts and prayers and sympathies to them, that "now is not the time" to discuss the reasons for this bloodbath. What kind of person am I that I could put my own feelings above those of the people most directly affected? Have I no shame?
First of all, I do feel badly. I feel incredibly badly. As a woman, a mother, a grandmother, hell, as a human being, my heart absoutley breaks for each and every one of those gunned down, for their parents, their grandparents, their husbands and wives, their families, friends and neighbors. I simply cannot conceive of the level of pain and suffering that comes with such a thing. How will they ever mourn? Will they ever stop mourning? But how can my offers of sympathy, my empty prayers, ever offer any consolation? What good will they do? The bile rises as I think of those 26 coffins, 20 of them far too small, being rolled down the aisles of places of worship and placed in cold December graves. I look at the bright faces of those children, the obvious love and dedication to them on the faces of their teachers, those who died trying to protect them, and the tears well up in my eyes. What good are my tears? Will they comfort the survivors? Will they bring back the dead?
Secondly, this issue was politicized long before the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary. It has been politicized for decades by people like Wayne LaPierre, and the organization he heads. Under their influence, millions of people have been convinced that their absolute right to own any sort of weapon, with no regulation whatsoever, outweighs the right of children and their teachers to be safe in schools, of people to go see a movie and come out alive, of Christmas shoppers to buy gifts for their loved ones without being gunned down where they stand. When I see that Merchant of Death give a speech, even before the latest bodies have been buried, encouraging, no, demanding, that the only solution to such mayhem is more mayhem, in the form of yet more weapons in the hands of yet more people, under the guise of "security," the bile that had been rising reaches its destination, and I retch. When he stands in front of the nation and dares to put the blame on movies, or music, or video games, instead of where it belongs, on him and people like him, who peddle fear to the masses, offering the comfort only of weapons of mass destruction against it, I scream in my head, and sometimes aloud. It makes me physically ill that monsters like this are taken seriously and given a place in our discourse. The only place for men like this is in a locked ward where they can't do any more damage.
I think to myself how different peoples' reactions might be if, instead of being shown the smiling faces of the victims, before their young lives were snuffed out, they were shown the results of decades of fear-mongering and lobbying for the gun industry. What would gutless politicians and babbling talking heads say if they had to see the bullet-ridden bodies, the blood-stained party dresses, the brains of their precious children splattered on walls and floors? These are the things we ask people like those police and rescue crews to look at. They had to see that. Why are we spared? How different would our discourse be if people were forced to face the bloody, violent ends of their pontifications about "rights?"
You're damned right I'm going to talk about this, and I will do it in the strongest terms I can muster. Because this never should have happened. It could have been prevented. And I don't want it to happen again.