Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Kith and Kin Are Armed

art by Stacy Innerst
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
At first it was shock, then some kind of shame, the kind a family member feels relatives get in the news for doing nothing good.

I'm taught to (and do) consider myself lucky for our relative freedoms of press, religion, for other rights, and our communal effort to expand or ensure freedoms, to continue to reinvent the Constitution as a document protecting humanness and encouraging humanity. We try, at least, and in the snarling face of furious opposition.
The NRA is furious, opposing, and wrong.

When I was a kid, I remember being ashamed when my folks were parental in the stiff manner of adults.  As my world expanded there was racism (to make me ashamed of my greater family, the kith and kin of the U.S.), and then the Vietnam War. More racism, more war. Financial arrogance on an institutional level. Gender inequality. The corruptness of politicians. The trumpeted contention that we have to import our freedoms and the fact that we do so by slaughtering civilians in the Middle East, the Far East, any place where white people won't get killed. And there is the odd coincidence of corporate gain, all the Haliburtons raking it in by providing private militia while securing oil and mineral rights. By protecting the "right" of the ridiculously wealthy to step up to teller's window to make another deposit.

But what is the outstanding freedom we offer?  Right now it is the opportunity to amass an arsenal of weaponry and ammunition in our apartments. Sure, the intention of the Second Amendment wasn't that we'd be free to go to a movie theater to slaughter a dozen people and wound another fifty. But we're able. We're ready. We do it over and over. And we're constitutionally protected.

There will be a next time. I hope you stay safe and have the wisdom and heart to enjoy a glorious now because it is all we have. And prayers and love. Regret. Maybe a more honest interpretation of the Constitution and the Amendments. 

Please visit The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Sign on. Step up. Donate. Write. Phone. Email. Tell the NRA its platform is a lie. By the way, according to its website, "The full NRA experience requires a broadband connection." And bloodlust.

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