Violence

I had to think for a long time before writing this. I spend my time shaping things I’ve experienced into fiction as a way of dealing with them. I won’t do that here. Rarely, if at all, will I write about something the way I am now, but as a parent how can I not? I watched the President cry when addressing the nation today. Think about that, think about that long and hard. On my way home from work I was on the verge too.

Parents always say things change when you become a parent and I’m feeling that first hand now. Things that you passed off before, affect you much more profoundly and you can’t help it. Just last week my wife and I were talking about the staggering amount of violence in our country. We asked each other how do we protect our daughter? We asked ourselves that same question today. And I don’t know the answer to that question.

Gun control, or rather, more of it, is a start. And before anyone says anything about rights, or anything else, let me get this out of the way. Your shiny collection of weapons wouldn’t protect you from the big bad government if they were coming for you. Your rights are moot, just look at the Patriot Act and all the amendments to it that followed. So spare me the rights bullshit and while you’re at, it spare me the ‘criminals don’t obey gun laws’ lines too. These are not criminals in the traditional sense. These are lone cowards that wouldn’t even know how to obtain a weapon illegally. So make it hard, make it impossible for them to get these weapons into their hands. If you really want to live out your Call of Duty fantasy then fucking do the required backflips through the hoops to make it a reality. I can hear the groans of rights again already…do me a favor and go ask about the rights of the US citizen that had a missile shoved up his ass courtesy of a drone. Again and for the last time, your rights are moot.

We shouldn’t even be politicizing at a time like this, but we love to argue and it can’t be helped. This whole horrible day should have all of us asking ourselves when will we make an effort to stop this. This isn’t going away, this is the crime of our time. Look at the wars, 9/11, or the more than 30 mass killings in the last decade alone. We praise violence, we praise aggression, breed doubt and wield fear like a club, but we rarely make the effort to educate and be hopeful. We focus on the brutal shocking mess and never the good things in life. It’s such a shame that we don’t focus on the innocent until they are gone. Their deaths propel them to stardom, get them plastered all over the news, but we never showcase them in life, before they become tragedies.

This isn’t about violence in cinema, or games, or violence in any for of media. This is about the grossness that has become American culture. Right now, as much as I want to be hopeful, I’m just not seeing it. I think people are so selfishly obsessed that they can’t see the big picture. What kind of world will my daughter grow up in?

I don’t pray, I don’t believe in a god, but I can grieve just the same. It’s the one thing as a writer that I can do all too well. When people say I can’t imagine what they’re going through, I silently wish my mind worked that way. I do know, my imagination makes sure of that in every vivid detail. When things like this happen it is emotionally crippling, horrifying, and gut wrenching. It’s what makes me a reasonable human being. I hope it’s what makes me a good father, and I hope that it can help stem this terrible tide. If we all just shifted our focus, just a little, maybe, just maybe we can push the flood back. I hope so …. for all of our sakes.

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