Ten Lives Lost

“And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through”

santa-fe-shooting-vigil1

It just doesn’t make sense anymore.

I wanted to talk about the latest episode of Westworld, or some other diversion from the horrors of it all. Yet, here we are again.

We’re about twenty-four hours removed from another senseless school shooting. A domestic terror attack at Santa Fe High School in Texas, that left ten people dead and a further ten injured.

My opinions on gun ownership are what they are. Having lived in the USA during some of the more recent tragedies, I struggle to comprehend why anyone would defend the ownership of high-powered weapons. I think it comes down to a fundamental lack of empathy. Yeah. That’s all it can be at this point, right?

It can’t be the whole “well-armed militia” thing anymore. Anyone with half a brain should understand that if the American government violently turned on its people, they’d have the entire United States army behind them. As well as the nuclear codes. No sane person can possibly think they’d stand a chance against highly trained soldiers, with their weekend assault rifles. Surely? Maybe, this is America we’re talking about.

So if its not that, then it’s just people not wanting to give up a right. Right?

Which, to me, signals a lack of empathy. It ignores the pain of countless families and loss of life that could be prevented in a country that’s free from high-powered weapons. It sounds crazy that this is my opinion, given that six months ago I was anti-guns of any kind. Now I see that the issue is more complex, and for whatever reason people truly love these phallic sticks of metal that are designed to kill.

I’ve heard people talk more passionately about guns than they have their loved ones. So I know there’s something there that’s deeper than a debate to be had over the internet.

Guns vs No guns will be a conversation that America will have for the next hundred years. It’s a complex issue rooted in history on one side and guided by the future on the other. It’s what all “conservative vs liberal” ideological arguments come down to in the end; Are we who we were, or are we what we want to become?

But Assault Weapons vs No Assault Weapons feels like a no-brainer at this point. Or at least it should to anyone with a heart.

If we’ve established that it doesn’t matter which weapons you have, that you’ll never be able to defend yourself against bombs and nuclear warheads. Then surely removing assault weapons from the public sphere is a logic next step. Having typed that sentence, it’s felt logical since Pulse, but then Vegas happened. It felt logical then, but Parkland was a thing. And now Santa Fe…

Speaking as an outsider, I sometimes feel as though there’s a portion of American citizens that hate Americans. They’re usually the people who tout their love for their country the loudest, yet show a complete lack of empathy for their fellow citizens.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me, I love America. I wouldn’t have moved here if I wasn’t fascinated by what it has to offer. It’s a picturesque continent that’s home to some of the best cultural products ever made. The majority of people here are positive and wonderful, and they genuinely want the best for everyone they come into contact with. Those people, to me, are the real patriots.

It’s my opinion that if you allow people to live the life they want with complete and total freedom, as long as that liberty doesn’t directly inhibit the liberties of others, then you are an American.

Just because you don a red hat and wave a flag, whilst standing for ideologies that lead to the deaths of children, doesn’t mean you love the country you’re from. Honestly, at this stage, it means you loathe it.

I know I’m politicizing a tragedy already, but that’s how change happens. If we keep something in the public conversation, and educate others into finding the middle ground, then maybe we can collectively put an end to the violence.

There’s one thing that we all need to agree on. Whether you’re pro-gun or anti-gun, liberal or conservative, Republic or Democrat. We need to agree that the NRA is a poisonous, noxious terrorist organisation, whose only goal is to collect “membership” fees whilst your children are murdered in cold blood.

After every mass-shooting they capitalise on the bloodshed by promoting their membership plans and insinuating that lawmakers plan on taking away ANY AND ALL guns that you own. We’re decades away from any kind of legislation like that. All of the lobbying and increased advertising comes down to one thing; The NRA gets rich on the premature deaths of children. They happily let the bodies pile up, whilst they count their coin.

I want to address any pro-gun citizens that might be reading this. You might be rolling your eyes or mentally rebutting each of my statements. I commend you for that, and I agree that the debate of guns vs no guns should contain voices from both sides. I will defend your right to have your opinion, and I would expect the same in return. I just want you to think about the NRA for another minute.

So…

Dear anyone who is pro-NRA,

Having an organisation enforce their dogma on you, that doesn’t sound very free and American now does it? You’re a conscious, self-governed individual and you’re letting some men and women who earn six-figure salaries tell you what to do? You’re better than that. Own your gun and take all the safety measures you possibly can, but giving money to the NRA is to support a toxic special interest group.

Remember how Trump talked about draining the swamp? The NRA are the epitome of that swamp. They don’t need to exist for you to continue owning your weapons, and yet they claim relevance. You’re a free American who should be able to make the choice as to whether or not you want to own a gun.

Please, watch this advertisement from last year and tell me it’s not structured with the exact same tone and editing as a terror-recruitment video. It encourages Americans to turn on each other, divides us at a time where we need to find the middle-ground.

My middle-ground is banning assault weapons, but you don’t have to agree.

My proposition to you, is that your middle-ground includes dropping your NRA membership. Hell, you’ll save a hundred bucks a year and you’ll still get to keep your weapons! As well as getting to stick two middle-fingers high in the air to a boardroom of rich, corporate layabouts who’re happy to see your children die.

Sincerely,

Someone

I’ll leave you with this quote from a survivor of yesterday’s shooting. With the knowledge that the NRA is salivating at the fact that this is the America we live in.

Interviewer: “Was there a part of you that was like, ‘This could not happen at my school?’”

Santa Fe High School student: “No. It’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always felt it would eventually happen here, too.”

Today is Saturday, May 19th and I encourage you to be empathetic in any and all situations.

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