After the Violence: All Quiet On The Eastern Front

As I noted in my last post I’ve been deliberately staying away from blogging since the bombing in my hometown of Boston on April 15th. Not because I have nothing to say, but I didn’t want to speak out of anger, not finding anything in that worthy of sharing. That and I was up to my eyeballs in recipe writing and testing for the cookbook I wrote for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

All is now quiet on the Eastern front, the summer has finally asserted itself, and my home is empty of teens for a week giving me a chance to reflect on the violence of the last few months.

The overwhelming sorrow came first. My heart broke for those caught up in the wreckage these deranged men wrought. For the families, especially the children who were mystified by the violence aimed at them, I wish I could offer them assurance that they’ll always be safe, as any parent is wont to do in times like these. Alas, we know we can never make those kinds of promises. At most, we shower them with love, and make them feel as secure as we can in the moment, in our embrace, and in their own ability to survive.

My daughters were five and three when the towers fell in 2001, too young to question what was happening. In the years afterwards when the ceremonies and remembrances began to make sense to them and they learned the details of what had happened that day, I could only offer that it is unlikely to happen again, likening the security precautions we take to wearing a seat belt – just in case. Who knew they’d be witness to so many more senseless mass killings both foreign, and domestic?

Foremost in my thoughts though since the immediacy of counteractions have dissipated, is that America has got to stop acting like it is not part of the world, because clearly the world will insinuating itself upon us.

It is just to be proud of who you are, to be proud of your country, but behaving like you’re better than everyone else or are some how exempt from being an accountable member of the community – well America, that just makes you sound like a bratty teenager.

Bombings and mass shootings are no longer abstract televised news bits that happen else where. Maddeningly, gun violence – our own brand of domestic terrorism – kills more Americans than foreign terrorists do. 

Domestic terrorism happens here on college campuses, in shopping malls, and theater complexes, not just in far off lands of Giza, Mexico or Nigeria.

Why should acts of terrorism by a foreigner’s hand be heralded as the ultimate debasement, rather than the domestic violence committed by our own citizens? Anti-government militant Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building full of children wouldn’t have been more evil had he been a Middle Eastern terrorist.

Shocking as the World Trade Tower’s destruction, and the bombing of The Boston Marathon were, it is tragedies such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and Parkland High School shooting, that should move us to act. Those tragedies committed by our own countrymen against our children and families,  deaths we actual have a greater chance of preventing if only we would keep weapons of mass destruction from their hands.

That there’s been no greater restrictions on arms, and we are still acting as if other nationalities, other religions are the enemy when it is our own brothers who are the perpetrators, is sign of America’s complicity in the violence.

The gun advocates are right, people kill people, people like the gun makers, the lobbyist, and those who pulled the trigger. They are the ones responsible, not the machines they make or wield. People kill people — with guns. Why do we still allow them to own them, unfettered by stricter regulations? People can not be trusted with firearms of mass destruction. How this simple truth is confused with an arcane idea of a “well regulated militia” described in the Second Amendment is crazy.

I understand the Amendment. I’ll tell you up front I believe its purpose addresses individual gun ownership, not that of the military. So yes, I believe it is the right for U.S. citizen to bear arms. But, that does not exclude regulation, it does not mean absolute power over ownership of any and all arms. It doesn’t mean being blind to the fact that our forefathers could never have imagined the fire power available to the average citizen or the enormity of political egos willing to compromise society’s safety for a few million dollars in campaign funds.

It is unconscionable for these types of attacks such as the devastating Newtown tragedy to further the agenda of those who would not just arm every man, but help them build an arsenal beyond the 2nd Amendment’s intention of self-defense. There is no logical rationale for more guns that fire multiple  rounds. More guns = more violence. It’s as simple as that.

Arms haven’t prevented any of the killings on military bases and those people are trained in combat! It is only the propaganda of arms dealers and manufacturers that fund and fuel a controversy that shouldn’t even exist.

After all, we aren’t talking about rifles people use to hunt for dinner or even sport. We’re addressing the destructive, mass-murdering abilities of automatic weapons and ammunition designed for maximum extermination. These are not handguns tucked away in the nightstand for protection against would be robbers. They are not shotguns to shoot the fox after your chickens.

There are a whole mess of gun owners who treat these mass-murder machines as toys. They’ve let themselves be manipulated into reacting with venomous hate towards anyone simply trying to protect the innocent. The pride and deeply patriotic feelings I have had since I was a child are now tinged with a shade of shame for how my fellow Americans treat their own countrymen. The ignorance of how ones actions affect society is more endangering to us than any ban of assault weapons. That is the action of men not machines.

Politician, rather than use their positions to further society as a whole, have polarized the population against each other, fueled by money furnished by corporations, lobbyist and a surprisingly small number of individuals–a largely old white conglomerate of Republican wealth.

Clearly, we need to remove money from our political system. There will be no reform for gun control, education, health care, the environment, drugs, welfare, or any other concern you have so long as so few have so much power and use it against those who have none.

There is no “in the public interest” in politics anymore, there are “Funders” as Lawrence Lessig calls them, the 132 Americans who gave 60 percent of the SuperPAC money spent in the 2012 election. Those people, the .000042 percent, are not pushing for public policy in our interests, there is no altruism, only money and the power it buys to influence and serve their purposes. If we don’t end their self-serving hold on America we’ll never again be a country for the the people, of the people, by the people.