Hold Up, Now

Ha, oh, pun not intended.

So today across Twitter came another report of another active shooter, this time in Seattle.

And I had to ask, “How many is that this week? How many is that this month?”


And that’s just the ones that make national news. I am sure my city has a shooting almost daily. I’m sure bigger cities have shootings daily. Domestic disputes, black-on-black violence, bar fights that spin out of control.

The crazy people who go after women, go after law enforcement, shoot up schools — they make the national news.

And we do nothing. We sit on our hands. We say we can’t control guns. We say we can’t control hate, crime, misogyny, mental illness.

We give a HUGE shrug to this shit.


On Saturday night, I went out with my husband to get drinks with two other people. The four of us had a civil, interesting, and illuminating discussion about guns and gun control in this country.

One of these people was a law enforcement officer, and he while he was quite pro-gun, I would not have classified him as a gun nut. We had an interesting conversation about guns in the home, concealed carry, and constitutional rights.

We all had different opinions are views on these things, and I would not have said any of us were extreme in our views.

I don’t think guns are evil. I don’t think people are evil. As a matter of fact, I would be in favor of my children learning about guns and about gun safety. On the other hand, I won’t have a gun in my house because it’s all too likely to lead to injury or death — not to someone trying to break in, but to those in my life whose life is most precious to me.

We have a crisis in this country. I don’t know what to do about it except to add my voice to those out there who think we can do better.

I’ll be sending this post to my representatives in Congress. When Moms Demand Action post something, I’ll retweet it. Something has to change. The status quo cannot stand.

Thinking Aloud: Gun Control

I read Josh Marshall’s editorial at Talking Points Memo yesterday, about what he calls “his tribe” that is, people who don’t carry guns and are, unabashedly, non-gun people. It’s worth a read.

A sample: “I think guns are kind of scary and don’t want to be around them. Yes, plenty of people have them and use them safely. And I have no problem with that. But remember, handguns especially are designed to kill people.”

I talked about this in the immediate aftermath of Newtown myself. A lot of what Marshall talks about in his article — in sum, how he rejects the idea that gun culture can run roughshod over non-gun people like him in the name of the 2nd Amendment — hit home for me.

I shot guns occasionally. I was a Girl Scout, and pretty good with the .22 rifles we used to shoot cans. As an adult, a boyfriend and I shot skeet (pretty fun, and I was pretty good at that, too), and at a target range. I fired an AK-47 (the AR-15 of the ’90s). It was hot. I was 24.

I briefly dated a man who had a permit to conceal carry. And he did, as I discovered the first time I was kissing him. Explained the way he wore t-shirts under very baggy flannels (he wasn’t into grunge, so that wasn’t why). Walking me home later that night, he said, “Don’t you feel safe knowing I have a gun on me?”

No, I said. No, I don’t feel safe at all, actually.

We didn’t go on another date.

Fast forward to where we are in America today. Some days, I feel like going to buy a gun, use it to practice at the target range near my house. You know, for the zombie apocalypse. I would probably store it off site — I don’t want a gun in my home, not as long as my children are young.

Most days, I don’t want a own a gun. Most days, I don’t care about gun owning either way. I do think most of the gun owners I know (even the conceal carry guy I walked home with that evening) are perfectly responsible gun owners, well within their rights to own guns.

But it’s gotten out of control, the gun culture in America. Like Josh Marshall, I don’t want to live in a high-fear, mutual assured deterrence kind of society. And I don’t think all the guns have to go away.

But some of them do. And some people should not be able to get guns. And some kinds of ammunition should not be available to the general public.

I support the gun control measures that Vice President Biden (I’m an unabashed fan of his, as I’ve said) and President Obama proposed earlier this week. (The only part of it that gives me pause are the HIPAA provisions; I need to hear more about those.) As Biden put in in his email to me (I know!), “Each of them honors the rights of law-abiding, responsible Americans to bear arms. Some of them will require action from Congress; the President is acting on others immediately. But they’re all commonsense and will help make us a little safer.”

If now is not the time to talk about this, to move on this, then I don’t know when is.

An Open Letter to Status Quo

I am not a gun person, I freely admit that. Gun control — stricter gun control — makes a lot of sense to me.

Not a ban on guns. Bans don’t work. (Nor do “wars” on things, i.e. the War on Drugs.)

More guns is not the answer. Arming teachers or principals, letting civilians carry concealed, NO. Not the way to go. I will reject that argument out of hand. Not sorry.

Here are some things I read in the wake of the mass shooting in Newton, Connecticut that make a lot of sense to me. If I have to argue about this, these are my go-tos.

First up, fictional President of the United States, Josiah Bartlett, via Facebook:

Here are some very practical things he suggests (I’m paraphrasing): increasing psychological screening and weapons training; increase penalties for illegal firearm possession; better mental health programs for all Americans; increased enforcement of existing gun control laws; increased funding and power to the ATF.

A couple of Slate articles:
Things Can Change. To my point, the status quo doesn’t have to stay the status quo.

Australia’s Strict Gun Laws.

From The American Prospect site: 10 Arguments Gun Advocates Make and Why They Are Wrong.

Finally, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s upcoming bill in the Senate to ban certain types of weapons.

If these things don’t make sense to you, why? In the wake of shootings in Tucson; Aurora, Colorado; outside of Oregon; in Newtown, Connecticut, I do not do not do not understand how the status quo is still okay with you. I just do not.

In Tucson, a 9-year-old girl died.
In Aurora, a 6-year-old died.
In Connecticut, 20 children — twenty 6- and 7-year-olds — died.

This is what the status quo has reaped for us in America.

Updated to add: I’ve been reflecting on mass shootings, but what about homicide rates in black and minority communities? African Americans are dispropotionally affected by gun violence. Tighter restrictions and increased enforcement will go toward keeping children in those communities safe, too.

I am fine with responsible gun ownership. That makes sense to me too. The problem is irresponsible gun ownership, weapons that can kill TWENTY-SIX PEOPLE IN 10 MINUTES, shoddy background checks, and a mental health system where people slip through cracks and under radars.

I don’t want to take away all the guns. Don’t go there.

On Friday, 20 families were robbed of the opportunity to ever tuck their children in again at night, or give them another hug or kiss. Or even yell at them, or laugh at them. They get to bury them this week.

If you find that acceptable, or think that nothing can be done about that, or that nothing SHOULD be done about that, I think something is wrong with you.

Not sorry. The status quo has to change.