Weaponized Ignorance

Blissful ignorance. Yesterday I knew nothing of the Parkland school shooting until I went out to get the paper for my wife, just as I was leaving for the bus. My peace has been shattered ever since glancing at the headlines. How any rational being can’t see the horror we’ve created by allowing gun lobbyists to buy the Republican Party I simply don’t know. Yes, I’m afraid. Yes, I’ve thought that maybe buying a gun would make me feel safer. Then I realize the insanity fear breeds. We could, as a society, address this fear. We don’t, however, because there’s far too much money to be made by it. We become weak-kneed whenever we think of that money flowing any direction rather than into our personal coffers. Insanity? A small price to pay.

The priorities of this nation are so messed up that Bedlam looks downright civilized in comparison. Even as we’re trying to come to terms with this 18th mass shooting of 2018, Republicans are attempting to balloon an already obscenely bloated military budget. Where do these weapons of personal destruction come from, if not the military technology? We want so badly to kill the enemy, and the castoffs end up in the hands of a troubled public. A traditional firearm to protect one’s home may not be unreasonable, but an assault rifle is. It crosses the line between fear and hatred. With a White House incumbent who ran on a ticket of hate, we’re reaping the whirlwind which we’ve sown.

Fear, many don’t realize, is a gift. It preserves us from danger in many circumstances. When it rules our lives, however, it becomes a neurosis. A psychosis even. Politicians may act stupid, but they know well that fear-mongering wins elections. Study after study has shown it to be true. This is a science they don’t doubt. The ease with which guns are available to what is clearly a deeply divided and very frightened public is like a piñata full of hand grenades. This is a scenario with no winners except those who accept the power the fearful eagerly give them. This is the danger of a thoughtless government driven only by personal gain and lucre. Those faithful to the call of destruction are, ironically, often evangelicals awaiting the end times. Agents of chaos bring those giant hands ever closer to midnight. The sweep of the clock moves ever forward, and if they’re anticipating Armageddon there’s no need to wait. It’s already here.

Rachel Weeping

“In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” I just can’t get it out of my head. The tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut is the madness of Herod repeated over and over again. I stand outside my daughter’s room and weep as she sleeps, terrified of what we’ve become. For the right of one person to own guns, twenty-eight are dead. The balance of power is way off-kilter, like a fishing vessel in a perfect storm. Those who protest are those who are unarmed who wish to remain that way. The bravado of the NRA says, “I would protect them, if I were there.” If I were there. I would feel no safer. Where was the NRA in Stockton, California, Iowa City, Iowa, Jonesboro, Arkansas, Littleton, Colorado, Red Lake, Minnesota, Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, Blacksburg, Virginia, DeKalb, Illinois, Oakland, California, or Newtown, Connecticut? Polishing their rifles in readiness, no doubt.

The time has come to put an end to easy access to guns. Life was more civilized in the days of the flintlock and musket—at least people had time to react or flee before another shot was loaded. Instead we tell people they will be safer if they can squeeze off forty-one shots before that crazy idiot shoots another. Drop to your knees and beg for mercy, you’ll be safer. While you’re down there, say one for a nation that loves its firearms more than its children.

Days like this it feels like God has us in his sights. The longer I ponder this the blacker my thoughts grow. We may blame the madman, but it is society that allows this to happen. Herod was king, and even the mother of God fled. But what of those left behind in Bethlehem? They paid the price for a man in love with power. I see a man in a cage, being sprayed by an upright ape holding a firehose. The man is one of the most vocal supporters of the NRA, but now he is the inferior being. “It’s a madhouse!” he cries. Yes, Mr. Heston, it is a madhouse indeed. Only those aren’t apes outside the cage, and those are firehoses in their hands. On further reflection, perhaps they are truly apes. Rachel is weeping for her children, while Herod reloads.

Slaughter of the innocents, 2.0

Slaughter of the innocents, 2.0