“White and Black, gay and straight, old and young.” That is how Michael Wilson at the New York Times describes “the collection of the newly dead” arising from the three mass shootings that gripped the nation during the 11 days preceding Thanksgiving. The author paints a heartbreaking picture of the “fourteen people who did not know their last Thanksgiving was already behind them,” who left “14 empty chairs” at several Thanksgiving tables.
But Wilson also cites a couple of cold, hard facts: The Walmart rampage the day before Thanksgiving was the 33rd mass shooting in November alone, and the nation’s 606th this year.
One just has to google “2022 mass shootings” to get “the rest of the story” when it comes to our gun culture: A story unworthy of that “shining city upon a hill,” a flaw in that “great experiment,” a misinterpretation of the Second Amendment.
While thousands, perhaps millions, of stories have been written on this national tragedy, one – a poem written by a long-time friend of over 30 years, a Vietnam War veteran – made a big impact on me as it starkly addresses several of the aspects that make our efforts to address gun violence increasingly onerous.
The more you harm
They pose with an AR-15 – to show all that that they’re a “patriot”
“Tough guys” carrying pistols in public – to scare “bad guys” a lot
Feeding an image “I’m tough – I’ll send those “bad guys” away in fear
But where are the “tough guys and “patriots” – when danger is near?
Time to add up the score: to examine facts
Once anyone pulls a trigger – there is no calling the bullets back
Guns have stopped a few “bad guys”, this is true
But far, far more innocents are slaughtered by guns is everyday news
When and where have you seen any real bravery?
They just pose with their guns for right wing publicity
They just further mass shooting insanity
Playing up their own vanity
I’ve been in a war and have seen the casualties
From weapons they now say are now a necessity
Back in the day of the Minute Men
Yes, it was lethal, but with single shots -it was the end
Well-regulated is a critical modifier cited in Amendment Two
That cites the constitutional right to arm you
Are those strutting around with weapons on display?
“well regulated” – not by a “long shot” – I would say
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.