“I pledge allegiance to our paymaster, the National Rifle Association, and to its unfettered arsenal of horror, for which it defends, one broken Nation for which it divides, with carnage and heartbreak for all.”
There, America, I fixed it for you.
President Joe Biden often promises in his remarks that we can do anything, that everything is possible. He means well in that rather irritating whispery, elementary school voice he employs, but his statement is simply false.
Mr. President, there is something we can’t do: ban assault weapons and pass sensible gun legislation.
The two most recent mass murders in Atlanta and Boulder will do little to grow spines among our so-called Congressional leaders, whose fidelity to the National Rifle Association and its blood money is unyielding. And disgusting.
Protect From All Enemies
One could say that the victims, our beloved American brothers and sisters, were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but there no longer is a right place at the right time.
We are gunned down worshipping in our mosques, churches, and synagogues. We are butchered while relaxing in spas, studying in schools, watching movies in theaters, shopping in stores, dining in restaurants, and just about any normal activity one can conger.
As one witness to the Boulder slaughter said to CNN, he “nearly got killed for getting a soda.”
So, see President Biden, in America, the nation you love and lead, and are sworn to protect from all enemies, domestic and foreign, there is nothing we can do that is safe from the insanity of violent white males with military-grade weaponry.
You need to do something. Now.
Banning the AR-15
An AR-15 is a hunting weapon. It hunts people. It sprays bullets. It is the weapon du jour and every American is its prey.
This weapon needs to be banned. Today.
Every time I go out in public now I feel as if I have a target on my back. When I stand in line in a big box grocery store I not only scan the items, I check out where the closest exits are. I observe the other customers for signs of odd behaviors because, let’s face it, today everyone is a suspect and the line between deranged and normal can be marked in chalk.
Sometimes my heart begins to palpitate and only returns to its normal heartbeat once I’m back in my car.
But who am I fooling? I’m not safe there either.
Gun Violence in the US
In 2020, the year of unimaginable deaths from COVID-19, a record number of Americans were killed because of gun violence. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 19,380 people lost their lives from homicides—299 children, ages 11 and under, 1,073, ages 12-17—a marked increase from the previous year’s total of 15,440, 209 children, ages 11 and under, and 779, ages 12-17.
This rise in gun deaths correlates with an increase in (surprise!) gun sales. (Remember, the NRA is first and foremost a gun manufacturers’ lobby, or, to say it in plain street lingo, its pimp.) Some 40 million guns were purchased in 2020, a 40 percent rise over the previous year.
But that was then. In January of this year, the infamous month of the attempted insurrection against the federal government, a new record for gun sales was reached: 4,137,480, a 60 percent increase over the previous month, according to USA Today. Michigan, no strangers to militia activity, saw its January gun purchases soar by 306 percent from January 2020, according to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check.
But these are simply numbers. Cold statistics. Static data. One can get lost in the figures to the point of becoming numb to the almost daily occurrence of unthinkable gun tragedy that hobbles this nation like a ball and chain.
Remember Their Names
The names of the victims in Monday’s Boulder mass shooting were read by the Boulder Police Department in the next morning’s grim press conference. Their ages range from 20 to 65. They include Boulder Police officer Eric Talley, 51, father of seven children, ages seven to 20.
Here are the nine other victims. Remember their names: Denny Strong, 20, Neven Stanisic, 23, Rikki Olds, 25, Tralona Bartkowiak, 49, Teri Leiker, 51, Suzanne Fountain, 59, Kevin Mahoney, 61, Lynn Murray, 62, Jodi Waters, 65.
In The Long Way Around, Jackson Browne sings, “It’s never been that hard to buy a gun/Now they’ll sell a Glock 19 to just about anyone/The seeds of tragedy are there/In what we feel we have the right to bear/To watch our children come to harm/There in the safety of our arms.”
Seeds of our tragedy indeed.
President Biden, I am asking you, pleading with you, as I have asked previous presidents over and over again, what do you feel we have the right to bear? And what will you do to keep us from harm?Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.