Robbed, abused, raped murdered or bombed, like Doctors Without Borders, most American targets know their assailants. Whether an act of friendly fire with catastrophic results or domestic violence, most life taking bullies are our friends, dates, teachers, relatives, co-workers or fellow students.
The trumped truth is there will be car accidents as long as there are drivers, rush hour, tailgating, texting and drinking, but it would be irresponsible to shrug away speed limits and fool-hearty not to add more police protection on holiday weekends.
When qualifying with an M-16, my battalion commander observed, “great shootin’ son.” Turning to face him, I half expected to see Uncle Gino with an approving grunt.
Long before playing cowboys and Indians transformed us into NRA disciples shooting innocents at school, play and work, I was a sharp shooter. When my parents weren’t around, Uncle Gino, learned me how to shoot and to spect, what he called, his backup. No such thing as, target shootin’, he’d say – you fire to eliminate threat, animal or otherwise. After grad school, I asked Uncle Gino who he thought should be allowed to own guns. Only fellas who should have guns is us, not dem.
Before you target me as pro or con, I believe attacking any violence needs to start with a gun-free America — then compromise as needed, from perfection.
I never once saw Uncle Gino draw his handgun from its hip holster, except to clean it. However, I did witness his knocking out a guy who slapped his wife at a party. He wasn’t a violent man, but an extremely strong one, who didn’t need a gun to prove it.
We can be American strong without a lethal extension to our arm. Fear, anger and a loss of trust in our institutions and faith in ourselves breeds violence of all kinds, for violence takes as many forms as it does lives. Guns are merely a convenient, deadly, accelerant.
Gun ownership without civility and the dictates of conscious, has taken a radical shift since Dallas November 22, 1963 when faith in government began to bleed out. With erased tapes, presidential resignation, then pardon, national trust became unhinged, especially from flag waving Watergate conservatives cannibalizing Democracy.
With the foxes on CNN and the hares on Fox hounding us with 24/7 Tally-Hoes, while refusing to hunt for real news beyond reruns of, if it bled yesterday, we can bleed it again today, we miss that the people who control our electrical power on and off switch; who remove our mountaintops; who dump Coal Ash in their employees drinking water – are the same Wall Street people who wrecked our economy and electoral process.
Could this be why the Arab Spring is backfiring; why Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard is rising above Party politics; why civil discourse has plummeted since Bush/Cheney/Wall Street induced Great Recession? Has Main Street targeted K Street for shooting Congress into the toilet, leaving our environment yearning to breathe free?
Big Coal is still the smoking gun, but only because we still elect people who give billions to corporations who neither deserve nor need it. While we lie to ourselves about farting cows, the NRA keeps America ambushed with O. K. Coral fantasy – all while our big screen TVs scream sports scores, stream rising temperatures and regurgitate gossip.
We murder earthlings and earth, burning coal for entertainment, unconscious of, those who live by the sword die, and take too many of us with them.
There is no such thing as Clean Coal and no easy solutions to gun violence, but until we honesty address both, violent stuff like Congressional cuts to public education, Alabama’s closing DMVs in minority communities and Americans shooting Americans will continue to be our national collateral damage, because Stuff Happens when we turn our back on any domestic violence.