Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


Collateral Damage

I’ve been loathe to write about this subject.  It’s been written about adnauseam.  Yet, not enough has been said.

Seventeen students were gunned down with an AR-15 military style weapon on Valentine’s Day.  SEVENTEEN STUDENTS WERE GUNNED DOWN WITH AN AR-15 ON VALENTINE’S DAY!

Across my newsfeed I have a cacophony of messages being sent.  Many of them in support of the student survivors who are being brave enough to challenge the status quo.  Some of them mocking them.  Some of them accusatory in nature.  Why, these seventeen and eighteen year-olds are secret plants.  Actors who are paid to talk about gun control.  Or they’ve been hi-jacked by the left or the media or both since they’re essentially the same thing.

Never mind the politicians who are paid to be gun advocates by the NRA and it’s supporters. Sigh…

No, these young men and women can’t possibly be intelligent enough to formulate their own opinions or talk about politics or policy.  Or what is even good for that matter.

I hear people saying, “It’s the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.  Nothing we can do.  People have a right to buy guns, whatever kind they want.”  Some even advocating that those weapons that are illegal for average citizens to possess be made legal.  We need to fight like fire with like fire, after all.  In case we need to stand up to the tyranny of our government.

What do we need to stand up to the tyranny of the gun lobby?

Why am I seeing bullshit memes about ‘librals wanting to ban all guns’?  Why am I seeing my conservative friends being maligned as heartless even though they agree with sensible gun legislation?  Why is this a liberal or conservative issue?  It isn’t.  It’s a societal issue.  It’s a people issue.  It’s a you and me issue. Stop pretending compromise and finding common ground are dirty words.

Why am I seeing grown men and women act as if these students don’t have a right to their opinion?

Why am I seeing Americans attacking one another, eating each other alive, because we disagree about the best course of action?

Why can’t we agree that there are some things we agree about?

Why can’t that be a starting point?

The thing is, I don’t anticipate ever seeing a ban on the AR or any other gun that is legal to possess in this country.  I’ve heard arguments for and against a ban on AR’s.  Some compelling on both sides, though I see no valid reason an individual should own such a rifle.

Infringement of rights is what I’m told, the reason against.  Here’s a cold hard truth:  If we want to prevent mass shootings such as this someone’s rights must be infringed upon.

To have stronger background checks, ones that would really do any good, would infringe upon the rights of the mentally ill.  For background checks like that to work there would have to be a networking of Psychiatrists, mental hospitals, substance abuse treatment facilities with the FBI to alert them of anyone who has been treated, admitted, or taking any kind of mind-altering drug.  Relying on the honor system clearing does not work.

In addition to that, those who have been reported to the police for domestic violence would need to be logged.  Waiting for a conviction for a violent act takes too long.  Someone can go out and by a gun in the meantime.

Why can’t we find common ground on this issue?

Why are there people advocating for fences, metal detectors, and armed guards at school?  Or even more frightening, arming teachers?  Are these learning institutions or prisons?  Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather my child be safe.  And if it takes fences and metal detectors and armed guards to keep them that way then I’d rather that than nothing.  But is that what it’s come to?

Schools are not the only places these violent acts of terror take place.  Are we going to fence in everywhere?  Have armed guards on duty at every place of business? Every place of leisure? Every place? I don’t think the victims of the Las Vegas massacre would believe a fence and an armed guard would do the trick.  There were armed security personnel there.  Some of them shot dead.  There wasn’t a fence tall enough.

With regards to schools.  What happens when a shooter finds a vantage point above the fence line, who doesn’t go past the metal detectors, opens fire on students outside on break?  What then?  Will they no longer be allowed to go outdoors?  Will we infringe upon their freedoms to protect the freedom of those who want to keep their toys?

If I weren’t living it I’d think this was all taken from the pages of some dystopian novel. If I weren’t hearing hit with my own ears and seeing it with my own eyes I would never believe that anyone in America would ever say, “People being killed are collateral damage.  Children dying at the hands of someone with a gun are the price of freedom.”





For the Love of Guns

It is true.  I’m an avid supporter of the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.  I have never understood the Second Amendment to mean that anyone who lives in America can or should have any gun they want for any purpose they want.

I come from a fairly rural area with a long hunting tradition.  I know that some don’t agree with hunting full stop, but it’s the tradition I’ve grown up around even though my father wasn’t a hunter.  And around here we do have a significant deer population which is what most people hunt for.  That and wild boar.   Both are overpopulated.

We have laws in our state which govern what can an cannot be hunted.  For example, it’s against the law here to kill a snake.  Any snake.  It’s also against the law to kill alligators.  If either of these become a nuisance Animal Control is to be called and they are to remove and relocate said snake or alligator.

This time of year I can hear gunfire going off around most any time of the day.  Not typically at night as that is against the law. No night hunting.  No shining.

I, myself, have a handgun.  I like to fire it at the range.  At targets.  Not people.

When I was a little girl my dad had a pistol.  He taught my mom how to fire it because he was gone.  A lot. She hated it.  She still slept with it under her pillow.

My older sister and I knew the gun was there.  It never crossed our minds to play with it.  It wasn’t a toy.  I don’t remember ever being told it wasn’t a toy.  I also don’t remember growing up playing games like, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty – Black Ops, Manhunt, or Mortal Combat. Those seem to make a fun game out of killing as many “people” as possible.

We played Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, and War.  We used mud pies as bombs and mostly our fingers for guns. We used make-believe bows and arrows.  We got in trouble if we pointed our cap-guns at anyone. Ever. While those guns were toys they weren’t those kinds of toys.  They still had moving parts and could still hurt someone and we learned that.

I’m not blaming mass shootings video games, mind you.  But I do think it desensitizes humans who play them to a certain extent.  So if someone already has a bent toward the uncaring that might just help them see other people as game pieces instead of real and breathing.

It’s just that when I was a kid I learned about real guns before I had a toy one.  I heard the near-deafening boom as the bullet left the chamber.  I saw the damage it inflicted and/or could inflict on a living thing.

As I previously mentioned I grew up in rural South Georgia where rabid animals roam.  My first memory of a gun being used was when I was probably four years old.

My parents had bought this little country store and we were living in a room in the back of it.  Two double beds, one on each side of the rear exit.  That’s what we seemed to have.  Two double beds and a hot plate.

One morning we were awakened by the sounds of growling and barking at that rear exit.  My dad, wearing only a pair of blue and white striped boxers, opened the door a crack to see what was going on.  The growling and barking lunged at the door and my dad slammed it shut.

He reached under the pillow and grabbed the pistol.  He carefully cracked the door a smidge again.  The growling and barking lunged again.  He tried throwing a few things at the growling and barking but it was undeterred.  Finally he opened the door once more, just a crack, and when the growling and barking lunged he shot it.  With a yelp it went down.

My dad’s philosophy about guns was that they were a tool.  He didn’t hunt for sport.  He only used it when he felt it was necessary.  He used it another time, that I can recall, to put down our ailing Irish Setter.  With tears in his eyes.

My point is that anyone that can shoot people without batting an eye has something wrong with them.  How can the life of another mean so little?  How can the pain inflicted not at least make one pause?  Is there some empathy chip missing?

So maybe the gun lobby has a point – to a point.  Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  And maybe if they couldn’t get their hands on a gun they’d concoct homemade bombs and improvised explosive devices.  Or use machetes or swords.

Why is the gun lobby in this country against more intensive background checks?  Or even making it impossible for someone on the no-fly list to buy a gun?  Why are our lawmakers more afraid of the NRA than they are the people who are able to obtain guns?

Is there any way to rid the world of senseless violence when there are apparently those walking among us who would just as soon snap our necks without a second thought?  Why are there so many people who haven’t any conscience or empathy?  What can we do about it?

To be continued…




Having watched Pope Francis, and I’m no fan as I’m not Catholic(hell, I’m not even a believer), being eaten alive by conservative Protestants the words of this song came to mind. Oh, how fantastic Christans are at cannibilzing. I know, I know. The Pope’s not really a real Christian(sarcasm, if you can’t tell).

My Jesus

“And who is this that you follow
This picture of the American dream
If Jesus was here would you walk right by on the other side
Or fall down and worship at His holy feet? Holy, yeah

Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion
Is how you see Him as He dies for Your sins
But the Word says He was battered and scarred
Or did you miss that part?
Sometimes I doubt we’d recognize Him
‘Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church…

The blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet
But He reaches for the hurting and despises the proud
And I think He’d prefer Beale St. to the stained glass crowd…” Todd Agnew

No, if the Jesus depicted in scripture walked the streets of America today he would not be recognized.  He would be shunned.  He would be shouted down.  No matter how many scriptures you throw at me saying that Jesus was a capitalist I don’t buy it.  I don’t think that The Parable of the Ten Minas means what you think it means.  I’m not even a professing Christian and I know that this parable has nothing to do with greed or accumulation of wealth.  Even if it did it wouldn’t be advocating it at the expense of others.  It certainly doesn’t carry with it any meaning even close to “get all you can, while you can, and hoard it for yourself.”

Somehow I just can’t picture the Jesus found in your Holy Book packing heat and capitalizing on the mysery of others.  I don’t even think I can picture him building big walls across the border.  Funny, for people who expect that Jesus could come back soon, at any moment, you sure do spend an awful lot of your time stepping on the heads of others to get your leg up in this world.