I’ve been quietly watching this whole Aurora, Colorado dialoge plays out in the world. In the media, on social networking sites, in the salon…it seems that people are all talking about it. And we should be. It was a heinous thing. Beyond comprehension. As the individual stories start to trickle out, as we get to know about the lives of those injured, those killed, and he that did the damage, the underlying theme of the conversation is centered around guns. Guns. Gun control. Gun issues. Guns for purchase legally, and why they shouldn’t be illegal. There are raging words for and raging words against.
As par for the course, anyone who dips their toes into the pool “gun control” is deemed a crazy fucking liberal tree hugger socialist nazi who is trying to take away my God given ‘Merican rights. Just look at the backlash Jason Alexander got on Twitter. Granted, in the new world of instant publishing that we live in, the aftermath of such a gross thing will illicit knee jerk reactions. But it’s still happening. To his credit, Mr. Alexander is retweeting all of the dissenting tweets as well as the supportive ones. There are more up just this morning.
Now, let’s just kind of look at this from a different angle. Change the words a bit.
I think it’s fine to own your own gun. Get trained. Don’t be batshitcrazy. Know that if the moment comes when you point a gun at another person, you can follow through. Make sure it won’t be removed from your hand and used against you. Make sure you KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. It’s a mental and physical task and you need to make damned sure you’re up to both. Because that slight error in judgement has the potential to change the course of your life and possibly mine, forever.
Do we need military grade automatic weapons ala Scarface available to purchase? Don’t those bullets do the same damage as a handgun or shotgun? Dead is dead, right? When someone is collecting 6000 rounds of ammunition, how come there’s not a red flag? Are there any red flags in this case of James Holms? I think there were, and I think those flags were completely overlooked. The conversation has been centered on the guns, and the ammo and the bombs and supplies he used to booby trap the apartment.
The conversation, in my opinion, needs to change. We need to be focusing on the state of mental illness in our country. They way we look at it, deal with it, fund it, treat it. Look people, this isn’t just a case of “he watched a violent series of movies and decided to kill people.” That’s easy. And irresponsible. For anyone to blame a game or a movie or a song…pull your heads out please and get yourself a big gulp of oxygen to your brain. I think Tracey Letts, playwright and screenwriter, said it best:
“I’m clearly on the side of the argument that say we simply reflect [violence in society],” Letts, a Pulitzer Prize winner for August: Osage County, said. “That crazy motherf—– [in Colorado] had an AR-47 and 6000 rounds of ammunition. Anybody who would point the finger at us and our little fried chicken movie, as opposed to the ability to buy 6000 rounds of ammunition, is out of their goddamn mind.”
When told that conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh had blamed violent Batman movies for the massacre, Letts added, “There you go — consider the source.”
Mental illness is prevalent in our society. Did you know that? “An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year” Did you know THAT?
We have got to figure out a way to change the words. Change the conversation. This kid, yeah he could be faking the whole thing. I could really be sleeping with George Clooney every Friday night. There are a lot of “could be’s” in the world. It’s your brain and you get to decide what you believe. But I believe that this kid fell through a big fucking crack in our system and as time goes on, more will be revealed. It’s not sane, educated, trained gun owners who are Falling Down. It’s the batshitcrazy people who are going through our “proper legal channels” and procuring off the wall amounts of ammunition and big giant guns.
This whole gun debate… look. I don’t want to take away your guns. I may even want to own one myself. I don’t want to take away the right to bear arms. I want though, some dialogue, serious and real dialogue on why certain arms are NEEDED outside of our military? Dead is dead, right? I want it to be more difficult for the crazy people to get them. I want it to be more difficult for anything like this to happen again. What’s the phrase being bandied about every three seconds on Facebook? “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
What can we do about that?
I don’t think anyone will ever calm down the frothy rhetoric enough to look at it. The same phrases spewing back from both sides will continue to spew.
I do think it’s time to change the phrases.
I think it’s time to look at the other layer of this story and ask ourselves, and the people that we vote into office, what we can do about it.
I think it’s time to change the words.
In the meantime,
May God bless you, Aurora Colorado. May you feel the peace and grace of a nation who mourns with you, who questions for you, and seeks answers for all of us.