Yet another mass shooting at a school. Yet another slew of hate-filled comments on social media and in the news by Republican politicians and their supporters. Yet another “Our prayers are with all of you,” from a Godless president. My outrage is volcanic.
(What follows is a long post.)
It began when I saw the headlines on Wednesday afternoon after spending a few hours in the company of a friend. First at the Met Museum where we saw the David Hockey exhibit, which I encourage anyone in New York to see. I left suffused with his sense of colour–pinks and greens and blues and yellows, very bright reds–and the way he does palm tree leaves, and all manner of sleights of hand by which he drew me into his world. Followed by lunch at a nearby Italian restaurant, and conversation.
Then I came home and logged onto the Internet to check my email. And there it was:
Another mass murder of school children, this time, teenagers. 17 DEAD the headline read.
Yesterday, a friend wrote about the Florida shootings and someone commented: “Don’t use this horrible trajedy [sic] to promote your political beliefs.”
I won’t repeat the whole of my comment to this woman–the first half expresses my outrage–but here’s the second:
Second Amendment Rights say this, and ONLY this:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Had the Framers been able to foresee what kind of weapons we have created in the 20th and 21st century, they would have framed this Amendment quite differently.
The Oxford Dictionary defines MILITIA as:
“A military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency.”
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines MILITIA as:
1. a : a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency [e.g.] The *militia* was called to quell the riot.
b : a body of citizens organized for military service
2 : the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service.
We live in a time and age when no one has to have a weapon, even if called to join a militia in order to supplement the regular army. The regular army has more than enough weapons to deploy to those citizens called to defend their State’s FREEDOM. Not their own personal freedom, their STATE’S FREEDOM. America prides itself in being the superpower that has the most advanced army in the world. When do you think you (now that women have the right to join the army), or any men you know, will be called to join a militia. I’m betting: NEVER.
Every sane, moral person, not just Democrat politicians, has been calling for gun reform. GUN REFORM. Not banning guns. Merely, sensible reform to prevent lunatics and those with criminal intent from being able to obtain a gun without any checks. We’re calling on the ban of semi-automatic assault-style weapons to the public. No one has said you can’t own a handgun. NO ONE. (Personally, having grown up in a country where not even the police had guns, I am shocked that a country like America, which claims to be a civilised country, allows its citizens and police to have guns, but that’s just me. The number of school shootings in my home country, the U.K., since one in 1996, none. Number of deaths by shootings until recently, practically none.)
NONE OF THESE SHOOTINGS IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS HAS BEEN CARRIED OUT BY A MILITIA.
If you can’t think, even for one second, about the loss of those lives–those children who have now been forever denied THEIR RIGHT to post even the kind of outrageous insensitivity that you have; if you can’t imagine, even for one second, what those children’s parents are going through right now, will go through for the rest of their lives–and, I’m betting that not a single one is quoting their Second Amendment rights, at this moment; If you don’t have one cell of humanity in you to realise that what’s happening in this country because people like you think your fictitious Second Amendment Rights are more REAL and IMPORTANT than the lives of other people’s children, then you have no earthly or heavenly idea of what it means to be a moral, responsible human being. And, if you are a Christian, I can assure you that neither your God nor mine (mine being the Roman Catholic God) is looking down on Earth today and saying: “Good job, Lynne Farley, well done! You beat Me to it. You took the words right out of My Mouth.”
Dear Shelley, your old friend Tracy Pace here, good to read your excellent writing even on such a sad topic- well said.
It’s the age-old question- will you be on the right side of history, because evil things which are normative one era will not be the next.
I was thinking of you over the weekend, wondering how you’re doing.
I am already on the right side of history…I was a child of the sixties. I think these young people in Parkland are, too; as well as everyone joining them. You and I grew up without guns. I feel I have made a huge concession in my own heart and mind simply by saying in America (though I would not say it in the U.K.), “Own a gun, if you must.” But no civilian needs assault-type weapons. Not a single one.
I’m doing ok, chronic osteo arthritis but still working and writing.
There is only one function of rapid fire weapons and that is to injure and kill a lot of people quickly, so clearly no use within our society except- profit.
I was pregnant when the inquiry into Dunblane was going on, and wrote a long letter about it, I still have PM John Major’s reply.
It’s interesting though Shelley, I have lived in Texas for 15 years and never once even seen a gun except holstered on law enforcement agents. I suspect one of the reasons NRA stirs people up so much on this issue is there really isn’t a huge modern popular interest in weaponry or ‘militia’.
Good to see the young people assert themselves, 2020 may be an amazing year for America!