I saw Run the Jewels this week. It was rad. “36” Chain” is the best beat the world has ever heard. I won’t repeat myself.
I’m dealing with the same struggle I suppose everyone else is. I never quite know how to answer when someone asks how I’m doing. My friend Alan, however, has had the same response for as long as I’ve known him (almost 10 years now). Every time I see him I inevitably lead off with some inquiry about his current state, to which he responds: “Oh, you know, just trying to hold everything together and keep my head above water.” I know that’s what he’s gonna say. I loved it so much, I used it myself for a while. I still ask, every time. And he still says it.
This is what we do as individuals. We founder, we lose track of ourselves, we let each other down sometimes. As a nation—not just any nation, but a nation which places a grand emphasis on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—we cannot be allowed to fail in this way. We have, as we should, an elaborate system designed to keep us safe. Only it’s gone very wrong somehow, if it was ever right.
Someone died again, a little girl this time, at the hands of her own brother, himself too young to know what was happening. Someone will die tomorrow from an unnecessary gunshot wound. It’s all but guaranteed. And what are we doing about it?
Not much. We’re a little busy bombing hospitals and pretending not to know about it. Or paying attention to someone who is likely fabricating a story about being held up at gunpoint to gain political traction. Or listening to Gov. McGarbagemouth vomit actual garbage on people who love eating garbage vomited from a Presidential candidate’s shitty garbage mouth.
This has become a crisis simply because we’re not talking about it. On the day that someone walked into an Oregon school and killed nine people, Congress should have been in sessions that were not allowed to end until they had accomplished something.
How are we supposed to take anyone seriously who isn’t screaming with rage right now? Where is the anger these victims deserve?
Specifically, where are the artists? You know, the people we pay to make sense out of life for us? The ones who can croon endlessly about love or drone on in faux-intellectual abstract bullshit nonsense jargon, and yet can’t manage a single word about a brutal incident within a decaying culture—I’m talking about gun culture, mind you, the rest of us are doing just fine—the pop power elite who are all too happy to leverage social media to curry clicks and likes with jokes or sex or drama or some combination of the three? Where are these people?
Don’t point at some asshead’s tweet as proof that I’m wrong. You don’t get anywhere with one tweet. What needs to happen is absolutely everyone with any shred of public relations knowledge ought to be out there putting themselves to work to educate people about the truth. About the destruction of firearms and the unbearable crush of modern masculinity and how men today are so fucked up that we’re delighted to compartmentalize and rationalize and banter about the motives of a killer or what he was thinking about or what he wrote on Tumblr and completely overlook the fact that he killed people, and people are dead now for no reason. No, that’s not true. It’s not. That’s too easy. There’s something worse than dying for no reason, and that’s dying for a bad reason, an unnecessary and fully preventable reason. A disgusting reason.
Everyone should be talking about this. Every single person who has the cachet to be able to get in front of a camera and have people pay attention to them should be talking nonstop. You don’t have to be anti-gun or pro-gun. This isn’t a political issue. It’s a human issue, and you better goddamn believe that every single person on the planet is on the same side in this. Nobody wants children to die. Some of us just don’t want to compromise on a bullshit amendment that’s continually being misinterpreted and currently being used to decimate our country from within. That’s all.
But everyone else can do this, too. You’re surrounded by people you can talk to about gun violence. Saying nothing tells your family, your friends and co-workers that it’s perfectly okay with you that any one of you might be killed at any time, in a sliver of a second, beyond help and hope.
You don’t have to have answers. I’m not sure anyone has answers at this point, but there are still plenty of things to talk about. There’s a police angle. There’s a feminist angle. There’s even a sports angle. Take your pick. We definitely won’t get anywhere if we don’t talk about what’s happening right in front of us, regardless of how we approach it.
But if you are one of those people who have an audience, and you’re not already on camera or planning to be on camera, you’re a coward. That’s the only way to put it. You have something to say; it’s impossible not to. Ted Nugent has plenty to say about what a loser you are for not owning a gun or not wanting to carry it with you everywhere. He genuinely thinks you deserve to die if you’re not armed 24/7. Is that a defining attribute of American life in 2015? Are you going to let that stand?
I’m not. My new life goal is to repeal or amend the 2nd Amendment. To fix the root cause of the entire issue. To divest the American public of—wait for it—the entitlement they feel regarding guns, and how we can fix this and make it better and grow as a society and yes, we will change things. That’s what progress means.
Impossible, I’m sure you’ll say.
Forget about it. It can’t be done.
Not in this political climate.
We haven’t amended the Constitution in a meaninful way in 45 years…
I’m dreaming too big. I know. But I’d rather aim high and get something done—even if that something ultimately fails—than just sit here in this toxic landfill we’ve made for ourselves.
If no one wants to talk, we won’t talk. We’ll leave things as they are and people will continue to kill and people will continue to die. You could make a case that killing and dying are inevitable, but that’s the case of the lone nihilist, the coward, the one who doesn’t want to talk regardless, the one who resists all change at any cost.
If no one wants to move, we won’t move. But one person can move another. And we can find a way to start everyone moving. Not just Democrats or Christians or any other fraction of this country. Everyone.
If our leaders don’t want to speak on this because “it’s not the right time”, then we will speak without them. It is the right time. Now.