Unpacking it

So we’ve been adjusting to life as a family of four over here, which so far means waking up a lot to feed our hungry lady baby and also to (patiently, patiently) repeat “Theo, please don’t jump so close to Ellie,” approximately one thousand times a day.

It’s keeping us pretty busy.

Aside from some Facebook sharing and talking to some of my pals who have come to visit my sweet baby girl and ended up talking to me about politics because that’s what we do, I haven’t really commented on this latest tragedy in Orlando, which is messy from a gun rights perspective, from a religious perspective, from a hate crime perspective. It’s basically America at its ugliest, the most tangled web of intolerance and violence I’ve seen in awhile. It took me some time to write anything down because I wanted to try and unpack all the ways I feel about it, but that’s not going to happen. It’s too complicated and I can’t say nothing (I mean, we know I can’t stay quiet about anything).

People who believe in their Second Amendment rights are so rooted in the issue that from what I’ve seen they don’t really want to talk about it because you guys, it’s a right, but I want to talk about it. And I’m willing to do it in a compromising way, because chickens, I’m not ashamed to admit that my real feelings are that I wouldn’t mind if all guns were outlawed. To me, my right to peace of mind is more important than my right to bear arms, but I also recognize I don’t speak for everyone.

Sure, the bad guys might find a way no matter what our laws are, but we can’t pretend that if the shooter in Orlando had a knife instead of a semi-automatic gun, 49 innocent people likely wouldn’t be dead. And sure, people will find ways to get guns even if they’re illegal, but you could say the same for heroin. That doesn’t mean that we should throw up our hands and legalize it.

I watched parts of last night’s filibuster and was proud that lawmakers were doing something to say enough already, everyone. I was proud that it was led by my home state, and I was obviously proud that my in-my-head-bff Cory Booker was a part of it.

If you watch this part, you’ll probably cry. I did, but you know what? Some things need to be cried over.

Here are the things, chickadees, that I’m really struggling to understand about all of this:

  1. What’s the deal with people opposing additional background checks? I’m not talking about keeping guns from law abiding citizens, but why isn’t it as hard to get a gun as it is to get a license and a registered car? We’ve got huge loop holes in the secondary market too, and we should close them.
  2. Why can’t we get federal funding to at least research gun violence? What are we afraid of? The NRA (yes)? Finding out something we’d rather not know (maybe)?
  3. If you’re a hunter and you need an AR-15 to shoot animals, you’re missing the point of the sport. Maybe take up something else.

I have a lot of other feelings on this subject, feelings I don’t have enough data to back up and opinions I don’t know enough about to speak out about except for my gut reaction that there’s no reason that this keeps happening and that even if you believe strongly in your Second Amendment rights (which by the way, as someone who has read fairly widely on the Revolutionary War, I feel pretty confident in saying that the founders didn’t mean for us to just have access to whatever guns we wanted, even though I can’t prove it), after all these mass shootings you’d think that we’d maybe just want to consider trying something new as a way to avoid waking up to the news that large amounts of our fellow citizens have been killed by a crazy person, again.

I can’t unpack this cleanly, chickens, but I think we owe it to ourselves to talk about it, even if we’re not sure what the solution is or we aren’t versed in every nuance of gun laws or hate crimes or mass shootings. We owe it to ourselves and our families to at least start the conversation.

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Filed under Chicago, Reflections

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