I Don’t Wanna! (talk about gun control)

I actually have been writing.

I wrote several blog posts and then chucked them. I wrote like a madwoman yesterday to meet a deadline.

But there’s one thing I’ve been avoiding. Admittedly, I haven’t even been reading much in order to avoid the subject.

I do not want to talk about Sandy Hook.
I DO not want to talk about Sandy Hook.
I do NOT want to talk about Sandy Hook.
I do not WANT to TALK ABOUT SANDY HOOK.

So, here goes.

I really don’t talk about politics too often, do I? There was that DC40 thing last fall and the PantheaCon thing. But I don’t usually “go there.”

Today, I feel like I have to “go there.”

I have a ton of friends with small children. I guess I was ahead of the procreation curve, my kids are in high school and jr. high. And as I read my friends’ posts on social media about how hard it was to put their babies on the bus and how they gave extra hugs and kisses, I keep thinking, “Am I callous? I didn’t struggle with sending my kids to school. And high school is where we are expected to worry about guns.”

All this as I took the third batch of cookies since Friday out of the oven[1] and stirred the homemade mac-n-cheese while finishing some of the kids’ chores for them before they got home from school.

Perhaps we all mourn in our own way.

I haven’t been able to process this event. I’m sure you are all having a hard time with it too. But I just want to go into my mom-cave and hide until 2013 (which *is* coming, btw). On top of the normal response, I’ve started some of the lighter prep work for a solstice oracle. So, I am as open as convenience store. With some of my filters removed, I am admittedly testy and should not be in polite company—or Online.[2] Tomorrow should be a blast.

Today I got into two tussles with a brother with whom I typically have no contact aside from birthday and holiday wishes. I had a go at a stranger in the grocery line. I dropped the ball in magic-class. And I’ve had to walk away from family TV time—twice. This is not how I function.

Let me backstory before I go on.

When my cousin died when I was about twelve, I cried. A reasonable response. My brother chastised me, “You barely knew him.”

As a kid, my sister used to sing, “Gentle Shepherd” and “Shannon” to me just to make me cry. She thought it was hilarious. I was always emotive when it came to music.[3] With some songs it’s instant and consistent—doesn’t matter who sings it, I cry immediately.[4] And I’m not a sad, maudlin, or morose person—I’m Pippi Longstocking in a pointy hat. I just cry with music. And not cute little soap-opera tears, either. Big “boo-hoos” (and sometimes even some snot).

These family tidbits are just to explain why I shut-down “when bad things happen.” I always have Brother’s voice in the back of my head: “You’re being ridiculous. You don’t even know anyone in Connecticut.”[5] And I even hear my sister laughing at me as I cry.

I stayed offline for most of the weekend, even reblogged a post just to avoid thinking. (That worked out well.) Husband had some friends over for a birthday celebration for me on Saturday where there was absinthe and Prince–no thinking. And I took care of some grove business on Sunday. On Monday, a little tired from a magic class gone slightly cock-eyed, I crashed on the sofa to watch the finale of The Voice with my daughter.

Goddamnit!! if Blake Shelton didn’t stand there with a card that said, “Emilie Parker / 6,” as a piano and string instruments in C guided the soft candle lighting into focus. I’d know that Leonard Cohn song anywhere

And I saw what was about to happen: They are all going to be holding those babies’ names.

Blake didn’t even get to tell us about David’s secret chord before I had my hands in my face yelling, “Noh, noh, noh, don’t. Fast-forward! I can’t!” and ended up stomping out of the room so my own Emily could watch it without me.[6] After that, I pushed it waaaaaaaay down: “I will deal with this emotion at a later date.”

Guess what today was.

A later date.

Yesterday some of you saw my rant on FB about the t-shirt meme. My niece posted it first, then my brother. I commented on both. My644188_526552814037754_1413004826_n (adult) niece removed my comment. My brother and I went tête-à-tête. The crux of his argument was, “If a school is not teaching about God then, by default, it is teaching atheism.”[7]

The crux of mine was that God is everywhere—even where children die. And prayer *is* allowed in school—it simply cannot be enforced. And that religious education *is* allowed in public schools—as longs as no one religious dogma has preference over another.[8] That’s the trouble with rhetoric like this—all finer points that could be very good debates get boiled down into a sound bite, tossed on a t-shirt, passed around social media, and then cut off any meaningful discussion at the knees.

Then, after hearing my President speak, I quoted him: “‘We are going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to guns.’” I added, “Folks, I’m totally pro-gun (just not in *my* house). You see, it’s not about taking things away—it’s about providing access to the right things.”

This was followed by this The Conservative’s Club post which equated the human rights infractions in The (former) Soviet Union, Turkey, Germany, China, Uganda, and Cambodia to U.S. attempts at gun control. The only point I agreed with was: “With guns, we are ‘citizens’. Without them, we are ‘subjects’.”

Mind you, I was only on FB for a little while. And on-and-off at that.

Bam, bam, bam!

With the post that I just reblogged debating the etymology of The Rede—which followed one discussing the ethics of The Rede as it applies to cabbage worms—I am starting to wonder how my fellow Witches feel about guns and how y’all are handling all this shite. We are a pretty emphatic crowd. I can’t be the only one who can’t watch Adam Levine sing “Hallelujah”—especially through the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, and the major lift.[9] This has to be doing a number on you as well. Can we struggle through it together? (I promise to peruse your blogs as soon as I can do it without breaking-down.)

Here’s where I stand. I’m pro-Amendment 2; not because I like guns but because I believe in an armed citizenry to maintain a modicum of balance. I certainly don’t want an armed authority while I’m systematically disarmed. (I know, I don’t have access to nukes–but I’m fairly confident my government isn’t going to nuke my house.) Plus, I don’t want a gun in my house–but will protect your right to have one in yours.

However, I do not believe that “armed” should not mean “without regulation.”[10] So, I am also pro-gun-control. Gun control does not mean completely disarming. I can even imagine a world where I could be (conceivably and philosophically—if not viscerally and morally) amenable to automatic weapons—so long as they were only in the hands of well-trained and regulated citizens, and that I could be reasonably sure that they would remain only in the hands of such folks.

Ergo, *control.*

It’s like what I said about boundaries. Can debaters stop resorting to either/or, all or nothing reasoning? A boundary is not a rejection.

After I posed most of this on FB, (1) there was an odd explosion in town—but I don’t know what yet. Some lights went out across town—but it was startling. (2) I discovered that there was a (very real) gun threat at one of my kids’ schools. (No worries, it’s all in hand.) (3) I was told that a family neighbor killed (himself and??) his family this morning. This hits close to home, y’all.[11] WhoTF are we as a people? These aren’t anonymous strangers today. I know these people.

So advise me, my friends. How do we live practical lives surrounded by human violence? Yeah, yeah. I got the spiritual, ethical, philosophical end of it. I mean practical lives. The day-to-day and I have to live here end of it.

For instance: When a mentally ill person decides to follow through on threats to feed my dogs “antifreeze-steaks” and then attempt to kill me and my family, can I harm some?

Sure.

We’ve all pretty much decided that “self-defense” doesn’t count in The Rede. So let me push the argument. Didn’t we already harm the mentally ill person by not providing—and also verifying that s/he undertakes (there’s lots of folks diagnosed with shit for which they refuse treatment)—proper mental health care? Or do we wash our hands of that? As a Heathen, I cannot.

The argument that I keep hearing is tantamount to “That’s not my responsibility.” Well, who the fecks is it then? You certainly don’t expect the mentally ill person to be responsible for his/her own care, do you? Really??[12] And people close to the mentally ill? They tend to get so wound up in life that they believe they’ve “got this,” that they can manage the situation in a domestic way. We can’t count on them to be objective. So what do we do? I certainly don’t advocate rounding people up for Orwellian “therapy” or institutionalization. But there has to be something in between.

Has to be.

If I know that I know that I know (or even reasonably suspect) that a community member has at least three personality disorders, a grudge, a handgun, and a rifle—what are my obligations? If not as a citizen, as a Heathen? Because, if not me—someone else. Even if so-and-so doesn’t come after me, if s/he decides to go after someone else, did I not do harm by passively allowing it?

If we are in a community with an unstable person and we know that they pose a danger to someone (even if we don’t care about that individual on a personal level—hell, even if we actively dislike the target), what are our obligations? How do we do no harm?

I need a compassionate and ethical sounding-board unencumbered by Christian dogma and the political trappings that have somehow become part of “religion.”

You in?

It’s time:

the-voice-tribute


[1] Entirely non-holiday related. That didn’t even occur to me until later.

[2] Let me apologize to anyone who poked the typically placid bear and got an arm bit off.

[3] Still am. I bawl at the first two notes of “O Holy Night” even if I don’t have a connection to babies in mangers and shit. And it doesn’t have to be sappy songs. “Don’t You Forget About Me” does it as fast as “I Will Always Love You” (Dolly Parton, plz). I had to work at desensitizing myself to “Amazing Grace” so that I could attend funerals with a modicum of dignity. I can do it if there are no bagpipes.

[4] Except Michael Bublé. He only makes me feel ennui.

[5] As an adult, I know grief for a stranger is not a ridiculous reaction. But it’s hard to shake our hard-wiring.

[6] When it was over, I had a huge glass of wine in my hand and my darling girl said, “I saved it for you so you can watch it when you’re ready. It was lovely.” Damn kids. They never stop being precious.

[7] His children are/were homeschooled. That’s a whole story . . .

[8]    Brother: There is only one God

Me: I agree. Not everyone calls Him Jehovah.

[9] Coz on a regular day, I’m all about all of those things.

[10] Heck, I willingly make myself subject to lots of regulations: I can drive, but within a speed limit and in a particular kind of vehicle; I can purchase and view pornography, so long as everyone is a consenting adult; I can put ugly gnomes on my lawn, so long as they don’t pose a public hazard. I can’t marry a woman and I can’t grow or buy pot—but we’ll work on that next.

[11] Don’t get me started on the other shit that has gone on this week—like the guy who carved a pentagram in his son’s back. Do you know about this? Hazey told me since I was avoiding the news.

[12] This is not an invitation to indict Lanza’s late mother. We don’t know everything yet.

11 comments on “I Don’t Wanna! (talk about gun control)

  1. I’m having the same kind of deferred reaction, plus a reaction to something closer to home, so I am borderline borderline-disordered, too. THANKS FOR THE WARNING!

    I have been staying the fuck away from TV and especially TV news for a very long time, because I get tired of fighting the programming. Wizards program themselves, or they are not wizards.

    I’m pretty much a 2nd Amendment absolutist, but even I don’t think it’s unreasonable to keep guns out of the hands of felons, drunks, addicts, and certain mentally ill persons, or to require regular training for at least some armed citizens. Everything except that last clause is existing law.

    As for this: “I can even imagine a world where I could be (conceivably and philosophically—if not viscerally and morally) amenable to automatic weapons—so long as they were only in the hands of well-trained and regulated citizens, …” You already live in that world. One has to have a regular firearms dealer’s license, plus a special license requiring more stringent background checks and audits (and the last time I asked, a $600 fee which is probably more now), in order to possess machine guns, submachine guns, and assault rifles with military receivers (allowing full auto or select-fire).

  2. I am a Buddhist and vegetarian, but i own a gun. Here is a blog post from a couple days ago with some good articles to ponder:
    http://blausternschlonge.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/2-reblogs-about-the-sandy-hook-massacre/

  3. AmyM says:

    You didn’t wanna….but I’m glad you did.

  4. Drea says:

    My view on gun control is that no one needs a handgun if they aren’t a cop or in the military. That said, I know that it would be nearly impossible to disarm the US. That said, I also believe that while easy access to guns is a part of the problem, it isn’t the whole issue.

    I’ve seen a whole lots of numbers floating around recently, and in comparison with every other western nation, the US has vastly more gun related crimes/homicides/etc. That can’t be blamed on video games, television, Christianity in schools or whatever else the religious right want to blame it on (saw a study recently that showed that nations that have long, cold winters buy more video games per capita (the US was pretty low on the list)).

    A lot of people want to blame mental health care, and I honestly don’t know what the medical system is like in your average US town, so I can’t really comment on access (I’m Canadian). Things that I think will help are campaigns to help people (specifically men) not feel embarrassed for asking for help when they need it, and regulations that prevent the media from releasing the names of mass killers (similar to how they don’t release the names of those who commit public suicide to keep others from following suit).

    As for why everyone is going nuts right now, unfortunately, I believe that has to do with all this End of the World nonsense. We can cross our fingers that on Saturday people will start to even out again, but that doesn’t mean that these issues don’t still need to be dealt with.

    • I’m not game for one sector to be armed and have absolute power over another sector of the populace. That’s a hot mess waiting to happen. I’ve lived in places where the police are the ones you need protection from. (This is *not* my view of American police in general.)

      It’s a systemic problem. You can’t pinpoint one thing and say “*This* is why . . .” It’s all a house of cards–which is why it’s hard to fix without making the damn thing collapse.

      There are plenty of countries that have lots of guns and loose control over those guns but still have lower violent crime rates. Those countries also have socialized medicine (including mental health) and a high value on education–as well as no “national religion” now that I think of it. Guns aren’t the “real” problem. The society which creates those who use guns is the problem. No?

      • Drea says:

        I’m not for total disarmament. But I don’t believe in the need to “protect myself from the man” sort of attitude that seems so prevalent. Hand guns specifically don’t really serve any purpose other than shooting people, IMO. Shot guns and rifles have practical uses, and anyone who is into homesteading really ought to have one. I’m all for responsible gun ownership – I’m even flexible when it comes to antique pistols and whatnot for collectors.

        But, I do agree. Guns are the tool. Too easily accessible a tool, but a tool nonetheless. People need to remember that the problem is with the hand that holds the gun.

        I think it’s a different attitude in the states than we have here. There is a serious mistrust of all things government. Where as in Canada, the prevailing attitude is that the government and CSIS are incompetent bozos.

        I’m not saying that the worry is without merrit. I know I wouldn’t trust the US gov’t with my library books, let alone my safety. That could be another factor that needs to change. People should have faith that even at the best of times, their gov’t officials aren’t out to screw them over. And if they can’t have that faith in the current lot in power, they need to find people to be in power who they can trust.

      • I’m not sure folks believe they have to protect themselves from authority directly. It seems to be a philosophy concerning a balance of power.

        I’m struck by how many Northerners are involved with this little Southern girl’s blog. Thanks eh.

      • Drea says:

        The PBP brings folks from all over, eh ;)

  5. Cin says:

    As a Canadian I really don’t understand ppl’s reactions to the gun thing. We have strict gun controls in Canada. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a gun which is what everyone immed seems to think as soon as you say gun control. Lots of countries have stricter laws and regs and it works for them. And people still get to have their guns! Sigh.

    I am still adjusting to how I feel every time I go somewhere here and see a sign that says “Please leave your weapons in the car” and Im all “WTF ppl have GUNS??”

    My dad hunted so he had rifles, but they were kept locked up. Thats really the only reason I would ever own a gun.

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