Many people are angry today because a constitutional right that’s been in place for more than 50 years and widely supported by the vast majority of Americans was overturned by five conservative justices, three of which were appointed by the most corrupt president in U.S history.
The court’s decision does not align with what most Americans believe and want regarding bodily autonomy and healthcare for women.
So, what to do?
Well, for the 2022 midterms, we need to become single-issue voters and do whatever we can to get like-minded individuals to become single-issue voters, and then VOTE!
Vote against any candidate who supports the Supreme court’s decision to do away with a woman’s right to choose.
It’s important to remember the court’s decision does not make abortion illegal. Instead, the decision says the constitution no longer protects a woman’s right to an abortion. It’s now up to individual states to decide whether abortion is legal or illegal. A woman raped in Missouri might be criminally liable if she tries to terminate her pregnancy in that state. But if that same woman crosses the border into Illinois, her right to terminate her pregnancy is fully protected and legal.
The ruling to overturn Roe will disproportionally affect poor women. Keep your eyes peeled for organizations that will connect women who live in states where abortion is illegal to services in states where abortion is legal — and then support these organizations by donating money and volunteering. Help these organizations provide transportation and a safe place to stay for those who don’t have the means to secure resources on their own.
After the latest mass shooting of children, I cringe with disgust at my fellow citizens crowing incessantly and selfishly about their right to own and carry an AR-15.
As their toxic attitude elbows its way to the forefront of a national discussion on safety, we watch news coverage of funeral processions for the 19 elementary school children slaughtered by that weapon.
It’s fucking infuriating.
I’m tired of the threadbare and ill-fitting argument that tries to square a 233-year-old constitutional amendment with the right of an 18-year-old fast-food worker to purchase a weapon designed for inflicting mass casualties. The argument collides inhumanely with grief-stricken and shell-shocked parents with pierced hearts and tattered psyches.
With images of their dead children still fresh in their minds, grieving parents listened to a United States congressman argue his constituents need the AR-15 to shoot varments.
We should be enraged by what happened in Uvalde, Texas. But, we should be just as enraged by what’s not happening in the aftermath.
Small and incremental change in the face of a full-blown public safety crisis is like placing a band-aid on an AR-15 gunshot wound to the head of a 9-year-old. We need substantial changes to our gun laws if we’re genuinely interested in saving lives.
Tweaking existing regulations around the edges is mere window-dressing for politicians. It will do very little to prevent the next mass shooting.
An outlier is something specific you can point to and say “that’s what differentiates group A from group B.”
When people ask why America has way more mass shootings than other countries, finding the outlier becomes an exercise for politicians, media, and citizens alike.
Republicans, who are close bedfellows with the gun lobbyists, always point to mental illness as the reason for mass shootings. But when you compare mental illness in America to mental illness in other countries, you see that Americans don’t suffer disproportionately. It doesn’t matter if you’re French, Italian, Spanish, or American. We’re all at the same level of crazy.
Mental illness is not an outlier for mass shootings.
But in America, when someone feels jilted, wronged, or bullied, they can stroll into a gun store, log in to a website, or walk to the back of their daddy’s closet and get a weapon like the AR-15. You can’t do that in other countries. They have laws that prevent that.
So, access to guns is an outlier.
Everyone knows that gun access is an outlier, but Republicans continue to focus on everything but guns. They put all their words and energy on other factors — steering clear of gun access like an infectious disease. For example, after the school shooting in Uvalde, TX, “hardening” targets (making it more difficult for potential shooters to access schools) became a talking-point for Republicans.
But “hardening” targets ignores the root problem. Even if we transform our schools into virtual fortresses, an angry or desperate person with a gun will find a way. When a wanna-be mass shooter gets their hands on an AR-15, they understand what they can achieve. They’ve seen what success looks like – they just need to pick a target. And if they can’t walk into a school, they’ll walk onto a playground, or they’ll walk into a mall, movie theatre, grocery store, or their place of work – as we’ve seen repeatedly.
Knowing that we can’t create universal safe zones, anxious Americans begin to feel like fish in a barrel. A sense that wherever we go or send our children, we’re potential victims of an angry man with an AR-15 who can murder multitudes in seconds.
An obvious solution is to address the outlier directly and limit access to weapons. Passing laws that up the age requirements for purchasing guns, requiring background checks, or banning certain types of weapons, such as the AR-15, would likely reduce the carnage.
The problem we face is that other outlier, which is the second Amendment to our constitution.
“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Two hundred and thirty-three years after passing the second Amendment, Americans are reciting it as pushback against health and safety measures for fellow citizens. That’s where we find ourselves today.
With the 2nd Amendment, millions of Americans believe a well-armed citizenry provides a valid “check” on tyranny. And if you’re waging war against your government, you better be packing serious heat. A pistol and a 12-gauge can protect you from an intruder, but they’re no match for the 87th airborne.
That message, where citizens become patriots to fight against a tyrannical government, has been marketed and sold with great success. It’s a message that taps into our deeply held beliefs around freedom, independence, and rugged individualism. And the byproduct of this successful messaging and business model is a country awash in weapons.
I’d also argue that the mindset of “the patriot” and the mass shooter have something in common. If you push these people too far, they’ll respond in kind.
We’ve seen members of congress posing with and filming campaign commercials with the AR-15. Marjorie Taylor Greene created campaign posters of herself posing with an AR-15 and threatening other members of congress. We’ve seen angry citizens at town halls across America talking about taking up arms because they believe the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
Whether it’s an 18-year-old incel looking for revenge, a deranged congresswoman from Georgia, or millions of Americans hoodwinked by lies and conspiracy theories, each sees guns as a means to solving their problems. Unfortunately, that socio-pathogenic attitude has infected America profoundly.
Passing laws to stop mass shooters from arming themselves will inevitably affect law-abiding citizens. But if you believe the polls, most gun-owners are OK with that. Moreover, gun owners are more than willing to be inconvenienced by regulations if that means their sons and daughters are less likely to be mowed down in 3rd period English.
The people who are not willing to make concessions are politicians. A politician who budges on guns will likely lose the NRA as a friend and endorser. And because most politicians have less backbone than a jellyfish, it’s unlikely they will do what is right and in the best interest of their constituents.
And so once again, America sits at a crossroad of gun rights and our right to health and safety. Politicians are left standing with their dicks in their hands, unable to make decisions and pass laws. And as they wrestle with the politics of guns, innocent people will continue to be mowed down in classrooms, grocery stores, movie theaters, concert venues, churches, malls, and parking lots.
We often turn to prayer to help us heal from emotional or physical trauma. Prayers can help us achieve inner peace or resolution. Prayers can help us get to a place that allows us to get on with life. In that sense, prayer can be a valuable tool.
But prayer is never a solution to a problem. Prayer is never an agent of change. For example, do you know who was praying the most fervently during the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas? The teachers and the parents of the students trapped in the classroom – and the children themselves. They were desperately praying for God to intervene and save them.
By now, we’ve established a precedent: praying to enact change does not fucking work.
Republican senators and congressmen desperately want their constituents to believe that prayer is a solution. Because they know if people rely on prayer alone, nothing changes. And if nothing changes, these senators and congressmen will continue to fill their coffers with money from the gun lobby.
The only way to enact change is through action. By demanding those who represent us support meaningful and impactful gun legislation. And if they don’t, we must organize, march, campaign, and pressure both candidates and corporations in communities and states where representatives refuse to act.
How does one’s life change if they no longer have their AR-15?
What can these folks no longer do that they could do when they had their AR-15?
Does their world change in any substantive way if they no longer have that particular gun?
Can they still go to work, provide for their family, hug their children, and take their son or daughter to their little league game?
I’d suggest that the only substantive change to their lives is anchored in “feelings.” They’d no longer be able to fire an AR-15 — no longer be able to experience whatever the fuck it is that gets them off when they fire that gun.
Perhaps, those suffering under the NRA-fed delusion that they “need this type of weapon” might feel unsafe without their AR-15. But that feeling would dissipate over time.
Are a rush of endorphins and a false sense of security worth sacrificing the health and safety of children?
The depth of this uniquely American attitude in the face of unending human tragedy is a fucking disgrace.
I don’t know what to say anymore. I feel empty inside – bereft of hope – drowning in sorrow – swallowed in darkness.
My expectations of humanity obliterated – smashed into the ground under the butt of an AR-15 in the hands of apathetic, craven, and power-hungry lawmakers.
What does it say about our country that slaughtered elementary school children huddled in corners of classrooms, their bodies ripped open, their fragile bones splintered and shattered, their blood smeared on the floor and splattered on the walls, the final minutes of their lives filled with overwhelming fear and terror, and still US representatives refuse to even talk about gun legislation?
This happens over and over and over again. The next school shooting is right around the corner and yet we remain stuck, unable to do anything because the people we send to congress care more about their job than the safety of your children.
The river of apathy that runs through the halls of congress intensifies the futility and hopelessness we all feel for days after a school shooting.
Now we’ll go through the scripted responses from spineless and heartless Republican legislators – the lies about the threat to the second amendment, the outrageous claim that we need more guns to combat this violence, the blame it on mental illness argument.
We’ve heard these responses so many times that we can recite them almost word-for-word.
Until US representatives who oppose gun regulation get voted out or begin losing their loved ones to gun violence, situations like what played out in Uvalde, TX, and Buffalo, NY will happen repeatedly.
Would Republican lawmakers care enough to act if their child or loved one was struck down by a bullet from an AR-15?
Would Republican lawmakers care enough to act if they had to identify their child or loved one gruesomely and mortally wounded by a bullet from an AR-15?
Sadly, other people’s children and loved ones being mowed down in a hail of gunfire is not enough to get these people to act.
At first, it was difficult to brush aside the carnage.
We see the horror of war and empathize with those engulfed by it.
We get angry at the senselessness of it.
We get agitated that one man’s evil ambition can wreak havoc on millions of innocent people who just want to live their lives.
But as the war drags on, we’ll grow to accept it as part of the global landscape.
For Ukrainians, outrage and anger fuel their fight and their will to survive.
For Ukrainians, outrage is ammunition. Outrage is necessary.
But for us watching the war from a safe distance, in 3-minute segments on flat-screen TVs, maintaining the same level of outrage we felt initially is not sustainable. Not because we’re callous or ambivalent, but because that level of outrage interferes with our daily routine and our need to get on with our lives.
Humans are not wired to maintain a constant state of outrage when their environment does not merit it, or when their survival does not depend on it.
For those not directly impacted by war, extended outrage is an impediment. To move on with our lives, outrage gives way to a begrudging (and guilt-laden) acceptance of other people’s suffering.
In a way, turning off our outrage becomes a survival mechanism.
Putin understands this.
Putin is betting that the world will get tired of feeling outrage.
Putin knows that outrage has a short shelf-life and all he has to do for victory is wait us out.
We need sustainable outrage to stand up against the enemies of freedom and democracy.