Thursday, May 29, 2014

Letting sleeping dogs lie? Hell no, I won't. #NotOneMore

I've heard a lot this week, just like I've heard after every other mass murder... "Now isn't the time to politicize this." "Let the families mourn in peace." "Don't bring politics into it now." "Politicizing this tragedy isn't right."

I have to say, "If not now, when?"

Now seems the appropriate time for this quote:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.
Soon, there will be nobody left to speak for the gun victims. If we don't speak now, who will speak for us, when the victim is us?

I firmly agree and believe that the families should not be hounded for their thoughts by a media that is gleefully looking for dirty laundry. I believe that we should let them be...

However... when is it ok to discuss a tragedy like this and make it about public policy? If we continue to wait while the families mourn, the next shooting will happen and then we have to wait again.

I pointed out that I was pissed off to receive a postcard from Ted Strickland the morning after the shooting in Isla Vista - his own previous district. I was told that the timing had nothing to do with the shooting, and I was politicizing it. Of course, he didn't cancel his robocall that day, either.

No, I wasn't politicizing it. I was sharing my outrage about our gun culture in America. And I have every right to do that.

I have every right to be angry that politicians continue to do absolutely nothing to prevent these tragedies from happening, in an era where we have:

  • More than 100,000 people shot each year, according to  The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence.
  • Between 2000 and 2010, a total of 335,609 people died from guns -- more than the population of St. Louis, Mo. (318,069), Pittsburgh (307,484), Cincinnati, Ohio (296,223), Newark, N.J. (277,540), and Orlando, Fla. (243,195) (sources: CDF, U.S. Census; CDC)
  • One person is killed by a firearm every 17 minutes, 87 people are killed during an average day, and 609 are killed every week. (source: CDC)

As a citizen of this country, of the world, I have every right to be furious that we continue to do nothing about gun violence in this country.

When is it ok to ask that we have a rational discussion about the facts of gun violence? When is it ok to discuss matters of public policy? Is it after 1 day? 1 week? 1 year? 1 more death? 10 more deaths? 100 more deaths? When?

When is it enough? This headline out of Arizona today: Boy, 3, kills baby while playing with gun
Seriously. When is it enough? When is it time to talk about this?

I firmly believe the families should grieve as they see fit. Leave them alone. Don't go asking for sound bites. However, one of the fathers of a student killed last week made this statement:
"I don’t care about your sympathy. I don’t give a s--- that you feel sorry for me,” Richard Martinez said during an extensive interview, his face flushed as tears rolled down. “Get to work and do something. I’ll tell the president the same thing if he calls me. Getting a call from a politician doesn’t impress me."...
"Today, I'm going to ask every person I can find to send a postcard to every politician they can think of with three words on it: Not One More. People are looking for something to do. I'm asking people to stand up for something. Enough is enough."

I saw a statement today that everyone who kills with a gun is mentally ill, and this is all about mental illness.

Neither part of that statement is true. True, the killer in this case was mentally ill. But, in the grand scheme of things, that is not the relevant point. Mentally ill people are far more likely to be victims of gun violence than perpetrators. Additionally, by taking the onus off of policymakers to curb gun violence, we place the fault directly on the mentally ill.

Where it does not belong.

No, it belongs on policymakers who are in the pocket of big lobbyists like the NRA. It belongs on fearmongers and hate-rousers like Wayne LaPierre. It belongs squarely on the shoulders of our cowardly Congress who refuse to pass any legislation around gun control, and in fact pass legislation forbidding our own government to research the statistics surrounding it. And it belongs on the SCOTUS who has allowed unchecked money to pour into campaigns, rather than to force politicians to stand up for what they truly believe without the fear of big money abandoning them.

It belongs firmly on the shoulders of people like Todd Kincannon.

I don't want to live in a country or a world where we get enjoyment, no, where they gleefully get enjoyment out of other people's tragedies. These people who purport to be god-fearing Christians are hate-mongers of the worst order. The answer to WWJD is that he would be rolling over in his grave about now. Horrified at how his teachings have been twisted for personal profit and gain.

In a world where killing little babies in a mass murder only makes people more crazy and insistent that they be armed, I'm at a loss. All I know how to do is to speak out.  And so I will continue to do so. If you don't like it, you are free to mute me. Unfriend me. Block me. Shun me. Ignore me.

The one thing you will NOT do is quiet me.