This happened yesterday, at my son’s school. Guy got out of his car, dressed normally, untucked his shirt and pulled it out and over the gun on his hip, was buzzed inside by the school’s administrators and went in and picked his kid up. I inquired with the school about this, obviously, when I heard about it. The parent is apparently a federal agent, and thus legally allowed to carry wherever he wants, whenever he wants, including when off duty in regular clothes. Never mind if it fell on the floor or a kid grabbed it up, thinking it was a toy…the mind reels.
This would make a lot of parents angry, as I was. “Why should it?” others argue, “He’s just yet another responsible gun owner.” A trained professional, even. And certainly none of them ever make any mistakes.
Last night at my alma mater, Kent State, someone was walking around with a gun and fired it. Details are still coming in, but the area near the building where I took logic and philosophy classes was where it took place, Bowman Hall. Where they used to have late-night movies for a buck when I was a student. Where I first saw Eraserhead and Blue Velvet. The campus was locked down, of course. The building where I took ASL and English classes is right next door, and a dear friend, an ASL instructor, was “sheltering in place” inside. As if there is “shelter” from this madness. This, thankfully, turned out to be a small incident, handled swiftly and capably by local law enforcement.
And Ft. Hood yesterday as well. Again. By another trained gun user. I won’t even link to that story, I can’t deal with much more.
I am past angry, really. I am bewildered. And so tired. How did this country turn in to the Wild West again? In re-watching the TV series The Wire (season 4 right now), one is struck by how so many issues and problems are handled instantly with gun violence. And how desperate and sad the people seem who live by the gun. Surely it’s just the marginalized poor, the gangsters and thugs who live this way, right? Apparently not.
Honestly, it’s embarrassing. When I read national or international news stories about incidents of gun violence in the U.S., it’s completely embarrassing how, in the comments, we are viewed by the rest of the world. They think we are all a bunch of obese, lazy, trigger-happy cowboys, and can’t understand “our” obsession with guns. As if there is a single voice for the country, and it’s coming out of the barrel of a gun. People against the proliferation of weapons everywhere are now viewed as a minority voice, at least internationally, with the looming presence of the NRA, Ted Nugents and Mitch McConnells of the world the public face that we are presenting to the rest of the world. I cannot understand someone who is not embarrassed by this.
It’s horrifiying, put simply. I want to take my son and run away to a country where they still have sanity, where every argument is not a dick-measuring contest solved with firearms. I am so sad for this country, and so scared for my son every day. This is no way to behave. It’s just not.