From Classroom to Casket

Rose on tombstone. Red rose on grave. Love – loss. Flower on memorial stone close up. Tragedy and sorrow for the loss of a loved one. Memory. Gravestone with withered rose

From classroom to casket

an American journey

come in on a bus, leave on gurney


As children lay dead in Uvalde Texas

it’s hard to ignore the obvious nexus

with unfettered access to weapons of war

the number of dead will continue to sore


We live in a land

of pierced hearts and sorrow

no shooting today?

we’ll wait for tomorrow

in a fog of futility

explicably numb

we reach for our heartstrings

but there’s nothing to strum

Empty

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 feelings of futility and hopelessness that we experience the day after these school shootings.

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.

Baby teeth and bullets

I’m Calvin’s lonely cousin
the one without a friend
The darkly-quiet moody one
The one who couldn’t blend
I’m the smoker in the stairwell,
skipping school all day
the fall-between-the-crack-type-kid
the one who slips away


I’m the ink inside the headlines
the lead story on the news
The kid the network anchor says
was surely born to lose
I’m the details at eleven
a community in shock
I’m the often-bullied quirky kid
who lived just up the block


I’m a parent’s darkest nightmare
I’m my doctors deep concern
I’m the angst that no one seems to get
the match about to burn
I’m an issue in the social science
circles of the day
I’m the brush it underneath the rug
that never goes away

I see angels circling the sun
feathered wings and halos
golden and hand-spun
Frozen little angels
Circling the sun
bursting into rain drops
cleansing everyone

I’m the isolated Incel
The bullet in the gun
The angry white American
Who’s blaming everyone
I’m the cryptic manifesto
The video online
The AR-15 lover-boy
Who grew-up Columbine

I’m the one who gave up caring
I’m the anger and the rage
I’m the finger on the trigger
I’m the tiger in the cage

I’m the suicide by cop
On the stairway in my school
I’m the little boy with crooked teeth
That others ridiculed

I see angels circling the sun
feathered wings and halos
golden and hand-spun
Frozen little angels
Circling the sun
bursting into rain drops
cleansing everyone

Tired of the AR-15 yet?

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Memo to gun rights enthusiasts: We’re not living in the land of the Walking Dead. We’re not trying to survive the Zombie Apocalypse.

If a house is broken into, it’s probably not a gang of crazies looking to kill and eat an entire family. It’s more likely a desperate schmuck looking for cash or something to hock. A decent home security system can provide the deterrence and protection you need in most cases. But if a criminal persists, I suspect a 12-gauge shotgun or a handgun is sufficient protection.

Do people really “need” their AR-15? Of course, they don’t. Any citizen who argues they “need” an AR-15 is full of shit. But here’s the thing – they LOVE their AR-15. They enjoy firing it, and more to the point, they enjoy the feeling they get when they fire it. They get pumped like John Rambo on crack when they fire their AR-15. The sensation of a round exploding through the barrel, the synaptic crackle and pop, the release of endorphins, the sense of control, the validation of masculinity, and the empowering dissipation of weakness and insecurity, all in one-fell-swoop. Why would any law-abiding citizen give up all that pleasure?

Listen, I get the tired argument that guns and ammunition are “inanimate objects,” in-and-of-themselves, not dangerous. But if we know that one inanimate object is being used consistently in mass shootings and that banning the sale of that object would not cause harm to society, why the hesitation?

The NRA continues to use fear (nothing loosens purse strings like fear), patriotism, and (appallingly) God, to peddle guns and pad the bottom line of gun manufacturers.

The gun lobby fills the coffers of senators and congressmen to push the false message that the AR-15 makes citizens safer and that it’s a valuable insurance policy against tyranny. And let’s face it, ideologically ensconced, fact-challenged Americans don’t need a lot of convincing from the NRA.

Combine NRA efforts with an American mentality of wanting what we wantwhen we want it (also known as the big “FUCK YOU, I LOVE MY GUNS!”) – and we have what we have today.

Will banning the AR-15 and similar weapons end mass shootings? Unfortunately, no. The mass shooting issue is complicated and multifaceted. We need to do more than regulate weapons to prevent these tragedies from occurring. But banning these weapons will mean less carnage and fewer casualties per shooting. I know that’s not much, but in my opinion, it’s a baby step in the right direction.

The boulevard of the unsuspecting

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A mentally disturbed and delusional kid – spurned by others – sitting behind the wheel of a BMW – firing a legally purchased 9 mm semi-automatic pistol into a crowded café and deli – killing and maiming – just as he promised.

On any given day in America, any one of us can get cast for the role of the unintended victim in the twisted wreckage of someone else’s tragic life– like we are all just a trigger finger away from a becoming a profile on CNN’s website.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun – is a good guy with a gun, except that almost never ever happens – even though Americans are armed to the teeth – we still wake up (on average) to a mass murder every two weeks – and in most of these cases, the only thing that stops the bad guy with a gun, is that very same bad guy, when after killing a slew of people, he decides to eat a bullet.

Unfortunately, many American’s are as delusional as some of these shooters – as they continue to tell themselves that more guns make for a safer society, when the data tells us the exact opposite is true.

We are immersed a culture that glorifies violence, where too many believe that violence and aggression are the solution to problems – we have inadequate and often ineffective mental healthcare and way too many people who should not have access to guns – –  have access to guns.

I am sick and fucking tired of the NRA denying the role guns play in mass murder – there is clearly a gun component to this problem – but any time anyone even mentions, considers, whispers that maybe we should look at gun regulation along with other components of the problem, the NRA ratchets up a campaign of lies and fear.

We need to wake up.