My age comes up when I want to write, because I am dealing with it as a vantage point now. It is long enough to measure , and the instrument to measure with is not cake, or party, or bottles or landmark.
Where I came from, there was never such a thing as a good guy with a gun. There were western movies, they had guns, but they never looked good to me. The guys I mean. They would interupt criminal activity, but they were not very appealing in any way. I mean any way for real because I am a dyke and I was then too. But if there was portrait of the type of man that I would pay money to not sit next to on a train, he would look similiar to the characters in an american western. So, no, from where I come from, there were no good guys with guns. I don’t think anyone in my family hunted, even extended family. Fishing, yes, many of us enjoyed fishing, that cold and scaled form of killing.
On to the 60’s and guns were still not okay, I was extremely shy of the idea of violent revolution involving weapons such as guns. The thought of knife fights among gangs was disturbing enough. Cops had guns, Soldiers had guns, Gangsters had guns, Hillbillies had guns, Dangerous people had guns.
It was not until my eyes were opened by the Black Power movement, that I saw that, yes, sometimes good guys had to have guns to protect themselves. Yes, if the oppressed had a weapon of equal destruction, maybe some harrasment and abuse would back off.
Of course that did not succeed. Oppression did not stop, it just went undercover to rise again in the murder of civilians, particularly Black civilians, by a different kind of cop. A cop raised not on westerns but on constant war and violent media, and a new kind of glory attached to it.
And guns, oh my the guns!
I will tell you that terrorism of this kind works, because somewhere inside I am terrified, and getting old and slow and frail does not help.
I never knew a hero with a gun. I have seen guns up close only rarely. I have lived my life without them, or the need for them. I shot one off, about 4 times I think. I hated it in my hand and I hated what came out of it, and my eardrums were probably harmed. I was disgusted when I realized that it was a machine made for just one thing.
Am I a liberal? No, no I don’t think so. I am a Marxist. I do not believe in a Welfare State, but it has to be so until things get right. I do think the gun violence in Chicago is carnage that is not brought up in the media enough. I do believe in regulating guns, and to hell with the 2nd amendment. But I also know that the people who would ship me to Cuba for my statements, are many and they are organized, and, they have guns. They believe we live in a Godless society and that they are ordained by GOd to defend their faith. Which is ridiculous except that they are convinced their faith is under attack, (thus the right to bear arms). This is not some Black Panther defense, these people are not being attacked, but there are folks (politicians) and business people, who tell them that they are.
Somewhere inside I am terrified.
Makes a person want to stay right inside. Deer season starts this weekend I think. There are people with guns all around where I live. No, it’s not criminal. Most of the men up around here work in contracting, some own businesses, a few loggers , and they have guns and they go and shoot animals when the season allows. I am not afraid of them, but the fact that they are weaponized would give me pause if they needed a dressing down.
Why the need for such a thing? Such a life and death piece of equipment that you wear, like an accessory? Who is going to hurt you, baby boy? What are you afraid of? Should I blame your parents? Should I blame the life you were born into that was life and death from the start? I have compassion, but the ground needs to be levelled here, justice, fair, safe, unarmed.
It is not fair to me , as a citizen, to have you walk among us, with your nuerosis and fear and triggered testosterone, wanting to go bang bang.
You can say that it is a cultural thing, fine, but I don’t think it is. This shit started when Janet Reno was Attorney General and the Waco tragedy happened. There were always wackos, but the anti government wackos organized around the civil rights movement, and then got their strength with the Waco thing and then the internet. Southern Crackers allied with Northern Bushmen, Survivor types and sometimes I think meth heads, and here we are.
I’m going to pray for myself, and try to think of other ways we can fight this gun madness with other things than votes. Those of us who live in a rural state like Vermont ,be aware that the 2nd amendment radicals are many.
I think we have to stay away from the words gun control and start looking and feeling and using the word public safety. We have to insist that authorities label these mass murders as terrorism. We should refuse to go to any venue, or to check in any hotel, that does not scan for weapons or ask that long guns be locked in a safe.
Once upon a time long ago in NYC, in the seventies, early seventies, I had rode my bike from Brooklyn to Mid town, to meet a woman for dinner. She worked somewhere near there, and so I sat by the Time Life fountain, after riding around and smoking a joint. So I was looking, people watching, it was getting near 5pm and it was crazy busy, and loud, and polluted. The weed was good sativa, so I was alert and thoughtful. Right there and then I knew I had to leave, get out of the city and make my plan and path in that direction. I don’t mean that night, I meant that was my goal. This was decided on by the realization that a crowd of masked asleep people scurrying around like insects, could be mown down by a terrorist attack.
That is my confession of where my fear of random violence came from. After these past years, it seems I can’t blame it on the weed.
I do not think living in an unarmed society will make Hitler happen again, or Mao, or anything like that. I think Americans are too savvy for that, too mixed and diverse for that. But we sure are scared, aren’t we?