Guns make me sick. Literally, sick.
At the sight of one, I get this queazy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I feel kind of faint. I want to throw up. I want to be anywhere but where I am at that moment, to put as much distance as I can between myself and the weapon.
In this, I am no coward. I am simply sane. I am damned if I’ll show that I’m intimidated, but I’d be crazy not to be. Because whether a gun is holstered at the waist of a policeman, held pointed at me by a solider at a checkpoint, brandished by a proud collector, or flashed by a thug outside a nightclub, it says one thing and one thing only: “I can kill you.”
So with all the years of psychology behind me, with all my “experience” with guns (the sound of a bullet whistling past your ear is not one you ever forget), why do I still not understand why others don’t react this way? Why do I not understand that guns evidently turn many people on, and make them want to be the ones doing the killing?
What am I to make of a Facebook “friend” who declares herself a peace activist, quotes Rumi, and then obscenely argues that if only the teachers at that Connecticut elementary school had been armed… ? Or of another self-declared Facebook peacenik who maintains that she is “neither for nor against guns”? That’s some kind of peace on earth. Forget good will to all men. Let alone women and children.
Over half the American population agrees with the National Rifle Association’s solipsistic dictum that “guns don’t kill, people do.” As though guns had any other purpose. The same majority agrees with the argument that “incidents” like the Connecticut elementary-school shooting — only one of an average of twenty such mass shootings each year in the US — are not a gun-control problem, but a mental-health one. And in a way they don’t realize, they are right.
The United States does indeed have a severe mental-health problem, but it’s not a matter of a sick individual here and there. It’s something far worse. It’s a mass psychosis, in which this country places gun protection above the protection of human life.
Guns are the sacred cow of American politics. Could there be a falser god?
Effective gun control is a political no-go. And even if it were possible, it wouldn’t be enough. All guns are initially made and sold legally. And the guns used to kill twenty 6- and 7-year-olds and their teachers in Connecticut yesterday were bought by and legally registered to the shooter’s mother — who was his first victim.
Here’s what we really need to do:
We need to amend the Second Amendment. We need to limit the “right to bear arms.”
And we need to brand the NRA a terrorist organization, one that aids and abets terrorism. The terror on the faces of the surviving children being led out of their school yesterday testifies to that.