Some of you may wonder why I’ve been quiet about the school shooting in Florida last week. Controversial rocker Ted Nugent has had plenty to say, but I try to keep politics to a minimum here. The truth is I have said nothing because I’ve been too upset – a toxic mixture of sadness and furious anger.
I’m not a parent, but I cry for all the children whose lives have been cut short simply because they went to school that day to get an education. I cry for the kids who will never, ever get over the trauma of seeing their friends cut down. And what about the kids of the future, who may never know what a normal, happy, unarmed classroom is like?
I’m not American, but I weep for the country that continues to bury dead children, one tragedy after another, while doing absolutely nothing about it.
I’m not anti-gun, but I shake my head the most ridiculous defences for potential killers to easily buy AR-15 rifles. Don’t pretend they’re “tools” and you’re GI Joe.
I love a good conspiracy theory, but I boil in pure frustration that Ted Nugent and others are calling these children “crisis actors” who are a part of an anti-gun conspiracy.
Student Emma Gonzalez has become the voice of the victims
In short, it’s taken me a while to stop being upset, and get clear enough in the head to write something.
I grew up around guns. My dad taught me how to shoot safely before I was even allowed to ride my bike out of the neighborhood. I was such a good shot that he nicknamed me “Deadeye Dick”. He encouraged me to get my Firearms Acquisition Certificate, and I did. I used to love going to hunting shops with my dad to look at weapons. Lake Huron Rod & Gun in Underwood, Ontario was our stop. My mom and aunt would look for knick-knacks at a store called The Chapel while we looked at guns.
I don’t know what the solution is to America’s gun problem. And yes America, you do have a gun problem. It’s obvious to everyone except you, because you can no longer see the forest for the trees.
You don’t have to worry about fighting off the Red Coats with your muzzle-loaded muskets anymore.
Nobody needs to worry about Obama taking over the country, he’s enjoying his retirement.
And let’s not forget, Hillary lost the election. She’s no longer the scary anti-freedom monster under the bed. She’s an old lady and she can only write books now about “what happened”. She never wanted to repeal the Second Amendment in the first place. That was just Russian propaganda that many people fell for and still believe.
I understand that your Second Amendment guarantees you the “right to bear arms” (muskets?) to protect your country and family. I think that’s just fine and I support you. What I am asking you to do is look really hard at the world around you, and ask who you are really afraid of. Right now, it looks as if you’re afraid of a bunch of 17 year old kids who are sick of being shot at and pushed aside afterwards.
If the Founding Fathers could see what the Second Amendment has wrought, I can all but guarantee you that they would go back in time and word it a little differently.
It’s different here in Canada. We still have lots of violent movies, rap music, and video games. We have guns, but we do not have mass shootings every two weeks. We do not have or want a lobby organisation like the NRA to tell us what to think. Our country was not founded upon revolution like yours. We didn’t worry about the British coming back to take over. We didn’t worry about someone declaring themselves King. In fact the only invaders we worried about were Americans. (Look up “Manifest Destiny” and you’ll understand why.) Yet we didn’t give in to fear and arm everyone in the neighborhood.
The point is, America took the Second Amendment and went a little far with it. Canadians managed to make it this far without worrying too much about deep states or elites taking over, and we’re doing OK. We’re not perfect. We are not likely to forget the École Polytechnique massacre in 1989. But we don’t do it every other week.
What’s the difference? I think it’s our very different history. You had a revolution to escape from monarchy, and have been worried about tyrants taking over ever since. We had a couple rebellions and slowly gained sovereignty, like a teenager eager to move out of their parents’ basement.
What’s the solution? At this point…I no longer even think there is one. After speaking to many Americans, I think the divide is simply too wide to breach. It’s far too easy to say “it’s a mental health problem”. We have mental health problems here, too. That lazy answer isn’t it. Token restrictions on guns or bump stocks won’t help either because you’re too far down the rabbit hole now. Something else has to change. Something evil and elusive has infected the country and it’s not going away.
I think it’s fear and hate. Too many Americans now distrust and hate other Americans. The media and political instigators stoke the fires of hate, and now it’s too late. If there is a solution, it has eluded me. Empathy needs to return to the United States. It’s your only hope.
America, you are my neighbor and you are my friend. But you’re becoming that scary friend that I don’t want to be alone with anymore. And I’m telling you this as a friend – you have enough guns. More won’t help. Open carry won’t make this go away. A lot of these shooters put the gun in their mouths when they’re done. They don’t care if they die – they often want to go down like Harris and Klebold did. And the “good guy with a gun” fallacy won’t work because you can’t identify who the good or bad guys are until it’s too late. “Good guys with guns” have made very little difference because this isn’t a Hollywood movie.
While I have no answers, Ted Nugent’s certainly not helping. I’m not surprised, seeing as this is a guy who once called for the nuking of Iraq. Shame on you, Ted, and shame on all those attacking the victims.
Maybe empathy really is the answer. How to get there? That is a whole other problem.