In October, we wept for my state.
Now, in February, we weep again.
Thoughts and prayers did nothing. Bump stock legislation meandered, dried up, and died. Then wasn’t the time. Now isn’t the time. No time is the time.
I see Facebook posts mourning children. And the immediate response from those who side with killers. I grow weary of these men. Bearded and begutted, bellies hanging low over the belt with the weight of years conforming to stereotype. Words, so meaningless, thrown into the wind of social media. Rights. Constitution. Patriotism. Men whose identities have become so wrapped around a constructed narrative they can no longer question it.
Violence was this nation’s original sin. The violence of treating human beings as chattel. The violence of power. The violence of denial.
Violence begets fear. Fear bends the irrational, weaving it into narratives that harden against change. We can’t change. It’s our right. We need the good guy with the gun. More violence. More blood to feed darker urges.
I’ve met these men so many times in my life. Their fear amplified by their media. By anecdote. By cherry-picking and straw men. By glorification of violence throughout the American consciousness. We all want to play the cowboy.
The wet-dream of Red Dawn feels tired now. Today’s patriots are waiting for the tyranny of the state to pour over their gated communities. A reductionist fantasy of power where only those with the gun survive–a chance to right the supposed wrongs of democracy. A world in which only those stalwarts who man the wall keep our freedoms alive.
This is broken thinking. Our freedoms breathe and take shape through our democracy. Through negotiation and compromise with our fellow citizen. Through law and legislation and community action. I see the same men attacking movements like #BlackLivesMatter, yet isn’t this a true response to actually tyranny–government’s injudicious lordship over black communities? Citizen power, not that of the gun, is what creates change in America.
We have little time left for the vagaries of fantasy while schools echo with the thud of gunshots. These men, their world, their fever dreams will one day be a thing of the past. But for now, they own the infrastructure of power, and system change is a long, difficult walk. But it is a walk that we must make, each step reminding us of bright lives lost to the gun barrel.