Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Center Cannot Hold: Thoughts On Orlando

So, another mass shooting.

It is an obscenity that I have to write that sentence. Mass shootings should be as rare as hen's teeth, as uncommon as Halley's Comet or a Bartolo Colon home run or a moon landing. But, in the country of my birth, they are not. So I have to write one of the most stunning sentences I can put together: there has been another mass shooting in America.

This is usually a writing blog, and it is certainly an infrequently used and poorly written one. (And, since I brought it up, there is a story collection called "Tall...ish" that is now available at Pure Slush featuring work by me along with other much more talented people.) But the events in Orlando need to have witness born, and I feel like I need to add my tiny voice to the chorus.

We will hear the usual claims and counterclaims, posts and counterposts. Friendships will end. Angry screeds will be added to comment sections. And then we will all move on. We always move on, and only the families of the dead are frozen in time, their lives forever split by the time before and the time after, and then it will happen again, and we will get outraged, and nothing will change. Again. I have to conclude that, as a people, we are okay with this, that 20000 precious human beings going into the ground before their time is a fine price to pay, because we need to slavishly obey to the letter what a bunch of dead freedom loving white slaveowners wrote down. This is not my belief, but it is the conclusion I am forced to come to because we keep burying our children, and we never do anything to change it. If you have a leaky faucet, and you won't fix it, you learn to live with the sound of dripping.

If you honestly believe, in your heart, that the right to bear arms is so sacred, is so precious, that spouses have to become widows, and brothers have to bury sisters, and parents have to bury children, by the tens of thousands every single year, all so we don't even begin to intrude upon the fringes of this most important of rights, you have the right to believe that way. It's a free country. I won't stand in your way. But I think you're wrong on the ethics, and wrong on the law (Kurt Vonnegut's question remains valid- how does a heavily armed man, woman, or child given no aims, goals, or training by any leader constitute a militia?) , and a moral midget who sees abstractions as much more important than people.


  1. I'm too emotionally exhausted to even typed the sentence.

  2. The only way gun-ownership should be possible is if grown-ups have blunderbusses (nothing more sophisticated) and go to the town green at 12 noon every day for well-regulated drill. If they miss drill, blunderbuss is confiscated. What a terrible and tragic series of events---diurnal and dreadful in their predictability.


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