Tag Archives: guns

Memories of the Peripheral Dead

A friend who keeps her Facebook locked down pretty tight shared about how a 31-year-old man was found dead of methadone overdose in his cell not too long ago, and how the man was once a boy whose file came across her desk when she worked in a law office. “He didn’t stand a chance,” she said.

I suddenly thought of a face I hadn’t pictured in a few years. For a few weeks, I taught ESL to an student staying with an Asian family in the mid-late ‘90s on a cul-de-sac in Surrey. Some years later, I saw a photo of that family on the front page of the paper. The father killed himself and his four family members in a murder-suicide.

I’d never liked being in that home. There wasn’t anything evil going on, but sometimes unhappiness is so thick it’s like trying to walk into a windstorm. It slows you down and defeats your balance. The gloom in that home was omnipresent, but I never imagined it could have that kind of outcome.

I don’t know why I felt like writing, and the words aren’t coming now. I’m lost thinking about how some people seem to both live and die in vain, and their legacies ripple further in death than they might have in life, but those legacies are more of how wrong things can go, and how many of us on the outskirts sense the trainwreck to come, but are defeated before we can even get involved.

I know I pushed my student, who seemed as depressed as the family she lived with, to step outside the language bounds, get creative, and try to find some kind of passion to write about, but the futility of it was crushing, and I was, in the end, dismissed of my tutoring duties because I was focusing more on ideas and communication than I was on nitpicking grammar and teaching an endless list of rules.

In those fleeting moments when worlds collide, one person on an upward trajectory while the other’s on the down, there’s no telling how long which of those influence plays out. Maybe years later, like the dozen years I have lived past that family, a shadow of our connection will linger.

Somewhere inside, I guess, the idea of that family dying in vain, for a stupid moment of complete despair and rage in the father’s mind, has long struck a sad chord inside, and the fact that I’ve even thought of them, though I can’t remember their name or locate a news story about them, is something I feel obligated to record.

Even that sense of obligation makes me a little sad right now. How many people forget about this family altogether? Like they were just vapours floating through a limited life?

But there you have it. Some people live in vain, die in vain, and are a struggle to remember after the fact. I suppose there’s a part of me feeling like I’d like to be anything but a struggle to remember.

I like to think I’m succeeding.

I’m sorry I can’t remember more of her, the family, or that sense of omnipresent gloom in their home, the memory of which gives me chills as I type.

Do not doubt the range of pathos and trial that some people live with. Don’t delude yourself into thinking the awful stories are uncommon.

And don’t think that you’re likely to change their stories either. We can’t make people change. All we can do is jump out of the way when the existential shrapnel starts to spray.

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RANT: When is Enough Enough? Fuck the NRA.

In a few days, I’ll be wringing my hands with glee before I give an awesome plush dinosaur to a 6-year-old boy I know, and a hippo to his little sister. The notion of being surrounded by giggles and silliness for a couple days before Christmas has struck me as a great thing for a while now.

But on Friday a mentally-ill kid took a .223 assault rifle, a commercial model of the military M-16, and blew away 20 adorable children my friend’s son’s age. I can’t wrap my head around this, even now.

I’ve been having a problem putting a point on my anger. I don’t even know where to start with my emotions. I’ve purposely watched none of the video associated with the day’s events unfolding live, because there are some things I don’t want to have living in my head, and humanity reeling from confronting its lowest moments is one of them. Especially when little kids are involved.

I remember where I was for Columbine. I was on vacation in the United States. I pulled into a roadside diner in some backwater town in Oregon for a bite as I made my way to holiday in Newport, and locals were bleary-eyed and fixated on a crackling old TV in the corner over the service counter.

They mumbled things like “Never thought I’d live to see…” and “How did this happen?”

Now, nearly 15 years later, the heartbreak grows wider with every shooting I hear about, but so too does the complacency of dismissing guns as being part of the problem. Every time, the reaction has been increased gun sales. You could say mass shootings are the best advertising the NRA has ever had.

In 1996, Australia had its worst mass shooting. 35 dead. Within a couple weeks, everything changed. A massive gun reform legislation was tabled and passed. The idea of 35 dead for a stupid, stupid reason of the wrong person having a gun was enough to affect a political body and the country it governed, and change happened. Since then? They’ve never had another mass shooting. In fact, murders and suicides by guns are down by as much as two-thirds since then.

And yet stupid fucking people who don’t deserve the oxygen they breathe have the audacity to claim that the answer to Newtown, to Virginia Tech, to Gabby Giffords, is more guns, more guns, and less laws.

Never mind that an entire world has seen the folly in allowing its populace to easily own weapons that can kill a dozen or more people in under 60 seconds flat.

The trouble in America is the foolishness in believing all guns are created equal. I’m all right with people owning hunting rifles. I’m not okay with pistols carrying more than 9 rounds, or semi-automatic anything. Assault weapons… come on! The NAME tells you what they’re for. How is this legal? It makes no sense!

If you need a weapon that fires any more than 10 rounds a minute, you’re a lousy fucking hunter. Get a new hobby.

This anger I feel, I can’t let this go.

This culture-of-the-gun thing is exactly what’s wrong with America. Selling fear? Everybody’s buying, baby!

An American tourist had a couple Canadians ask him in an “aggressive tone” if he had been to the Calgary Stampede just this summer, and the off-duty Kalamazoo, Mich., cop wrote a Calgary paper to say he regretted that he couldn’t carry a gun when he was here because he felt he had to protect himself in the exchange.

Funnily enough, all the two men were trying to do was promote the Stampede and give him free tickets.

America is a shoot-first-ask-later country.

Gun-toting Americans seem to believe the average person is up to no good, rather than the opposite. Where I come from, we assume most people are kind and decent. I’ve never seen a gun in person. The only three people I know (peripherally speaking) who’ve been murdered in my lifetime were killed with knives, and yet knowing three people on the outskirts of my life to have met with such violent ends is really enough for me. How many people murdered would I know if guns were aplenty here as they are in the States? I’m glad I’ll likely never experience that.

In the 9 years after 9/11, 270,000 Americans were killed by guns. And yet… get the terrorists! BASTARDS.

I just… [sigh]

Like, where do we draw the line and say “This isn’t working anymore?”

Seriously, is the fact that twenty 6-year-olds and several school staff dead in a town deemed only last year to be the FIFTH SAFEST PLACE TO LIVE in the United States ENOUGH?

Is this the tipping point? Is this when America wakes up and says “You know… this isn’t normal. We’re the only country in the world that suffers these crimes, and guns are easier to buy here than anywhere else in the world?”

How does ANYONE smarter than a doorknob NOT MAKE THAT CONNECTION?

Who the fuck NEEDS anything more than a hunting rifle?

I know implementing gun control won’t take all guns off the street, but all I want is a roadblock between the angry lover, the pissed-off employee, the drunk motherfucker, or the mentally-ill guy looking for a rampage. I don’t really care about gangs killing each other as much as I do about people with short fuses getting the opportunity to go on a spree, because that’s when innocents die.

I’m not asking for a fucking miracle here, America. I’m asking for you to look at the fucking logic. Keep your hunting rifles. Make everything else really goddamned hard to own. If you’re a law-abiding person, having issues with any of these very basic requirements makes you kind of an ass.

And if you want to debate this topic with me, don’t even fucking bother.

This is 2012. We do not need efficient methods of killing readily available in a world that does not have easy access to mental healthcare.

Scratch that. We do not need efficient methods of killing. Full stop.

Take your pro-gun debates elsewhere. You won’t get ink on my blog. And fuck free speech. I get free speech here. You want pro-gun free speech? Get your own fucking blog.

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