Sunday, December 16, 2012

AFTER NEWTOWN

ANGER AND OUTRAGE

I never talk about my political convictions on my blog although heaven knows they are strong enough, an integral part of my being. My blog, for the moment (and I stress this point), is about food and my life in France. Although I often write about difficult moments and personal tragedy, although I sometimes wax eloquent on the tough decisions my husband and I are forced to make when at a particularly stressful crossroad, I still keep my politics out of it. Little do my readers know or understand the role my political beliefs played in my leaving the States to search for another country, another culture, to see how the rest of the world handles such topics that have an impact on my life, that mean a lot to me.


But once in a while, my anger and outrage get the better of me. At a moment such as this, after what happened in Newtown, I cannot reign in my emotions nor can I contain my words. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Portland, Newtown, the world watches the images roll across the television screen over and over and over again. And I stand and watch, stunned and enraged, and wonder when Americans will simply say Enough!

I have been reading articles and Facebook posts about this tragedy, another tragedy in a long line of tragedies, claiming forbearance, asking each of us to put aside our politics, not to allow the urge to blame this person or that entity get the better of us in this time of mourning. They say this is no time to start the debate or ask for legislation; this, they say, is a time to remember the dead, a time to pray, light candles, gather, hands held, united as a country and hug our loved ones close to us. Respect for the dead comes, for now, they say, in putting all of our thoughts and energy into thinking of a better, a Utopian world in which men and women and tiny children do not die at the hands of a gun-crazed lunatic on a shooting rampage, that shaking one’s fist and crying for something to be done is an injustice and tarnishes their memory. And groups of food bloggers are asking for each of us to observe a “Silent Monday” in memory of the dead, a social media Day of Observance. But I cannot do this. My way of showing respect for those babies and all those whom have died of gun violence is to stand up and make my voice heard, to get angry and scream my outrage at the top of my lungs. My way of showing respect for these innocent victims whose own voices have now been silenced forever is to try and make sure that something this unfathomable, this horrific never happens again.

I cannot stay silent. We have been silent for much too long.

And so I post this here today on my food blog. The following piece was written in the heat of the moment as the television behind me was blaring the news of the shooting. These are words that have come straight from the heart. I am sad, heartbroken for the victims and for my country. I am angry and outraged that this has been allowed to happen, nurtured by a long-standing gun culture and the fear of our politicians to stand up to political bullies and just say Enough! Feel free to remain silent or shout your pain and anger from the rooftops; we each deal with this in our own private way, and this is mine.

WHEN WILL IT CHANGE?

There has been a spate of gun violence in France this past year: political assassinations in Corsica; gang-related shootings in Marseilles; bungled jewelry shop burglaries in Paris. And the most shocking of all was a seemingly random hit-and-run style rampage over a period of more than a week in Toulouse and Montauban this past March in which seven people were killed, three of whom were children and three of whom were military men. In a country with such strict gun laws and regulations, this all seems rather unimaginable and leaves the public not so much outraged as stunned and dazed. How can this happen here in France? Yet the slow infiltration of illegal guns into France is as real as those innocents who are dead.

But nothing comes even close to what is happening in the United States. A war zone without the war. Innocents by the dozens being razed down at such banal and public places as shopping malls, movie theaters, high schools, post offices, universities and now an elementary school with no rhyme or reason. From simple handguns to military-style automatic weapons, strapped to bodies, arsenals found in bedrooms, we watch in horror as we realize how our fellow citizens are able to arm themselves to the teeth with ease, stockpile to their hearts’ content. Barely a week goes by, or so it now seems, that we aren’t crying our eyes out and wringing our hands as the news floods in about yet another shooting. But what are we doing about it?

Very little. And why? Isn’t it obvious by now? From the NRA to the Tea Party, too many Americans and their gun-clutching political lobbies are shouting about freedom and liberty. They shake the Constitution in front of our faces and recite the few words that make up the Second Amendment as if it is the only thing that holds are country together, the only thing, fragile and beautiful, that makes our country the “land of the free and the home of the brave”. Some tenuous interpretation of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms”, written and adopted in 1791 as the United States government was struggling to guarantee their citizens’ freedom in the shadow of imperial rule, has become, for many, the cornerstone of their politics; the guarantee of everyone’s right to walk into any gun shop and buy an arsenal equivalent to our collective and individual “pursuit of happiness”. They have succeeded in making us believe that real patriots love guns and refuse all gun restrictions.

And then there is the religious contingency. Former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee decries – and seems to put the blame on – the removal of God and religion from schools. Connecticut’s own governor Dan Malloy stated immediately in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that “Evil visited this community today…” as if speaking of some hooded and cloaked creature straight out of a Harry Potter novel that can only be held off with magic spells and pure hearts. We hold vigils, light candles, organize prayer meetings, flood into churches. And skirt around the issue of guns. We hide behind Bibles and flags and avoid an actual adult debate about firearms. We avoid the responsibility of making choices, refrain from bringing politics into our struggle to accept yet another tragic mass shooting, loathe discussing the hard facts while soothing the weeping families.

And then, when we do get around to it, there is the debate itself. The idiots at Fox News try and reason – if reason is a word that can be used in this discussion – that with or without a gun, Jovan Belcher would have killed his girlfriend anyway. Someone that big and strong, they argued, would just have throttled her to death if that was what he really wanted to do. Maybe. But maybe not. How easy did having that loaded gun make it? How fast and impersonal? Do they realize how difficult it is to strangle someone to death? Do they realize how psychologically different it is having to physically touch someone, be body to body, feel them writhe under one’s touch, struggle and gasp, have to look into their terror-filled eyes? Taking a gun, pointing and shooting is impulsive; one does not even have to look at the other person or be near that person. It is over in a second. Take that gun out of a violent partner or spouse’s hand and how many women (or children or parents, for that matter) would still be living?

And the insensitivity, the outrageous arrogance and smugness of the NRA whose Executive Vice President said only this year that “anything less than 1,000 dead kids (in school shootings) would not be enough for the NRA to stop urging Congress to pass pro-gun legislation.” Really? I wonder if he feels the same after Friday's senseless massacre in Newtown.

And how many children are killed by gunfire every year? According to IANSA, International Action Network on Small Arms, just over 3,000 a year. How many of these were accidents in the home, just a couple of kids finding a parent’s firearm and seeing how it worked, or making it into a game? Yes, those same defenders of our supposed right to own guns claim, accidents do happen. But how many of those 3,000 innocent children would still be alive today if it was not for the availability of guns and ammunition?

Do not try and defend gun ownership to me as somehow safeguarding my every freedom. Do not throw the Second Amendment in my face as if 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. is somehow a good enough reason for anyone to walk into a gun show and purchase a semi-automatic or two.

What kind of militia were they forming, what kind of imperialism were they fighting those two boys who killed 12 fellow students and teachers at Columbine? What kind of freedom allowed for them to have an arsenal of weapons, allowed them to purchase thousands of rounds of ammunition at a Walmart? How does allowing a mentally unstable student or a man with “some form of autism” or, for that matter, my own father who was sold a rifle while he was suffering from dementia, how does allowing these people to legally buy guns preserve our own freedoms, defend someone’s own interpretation of the second amendment? Carry a gun to church, school, the supermarket… now we seem to be urging more Americans to carry more guns more places and for what? To protect themselves against somebody else who has a gun. Like some insane return to the Wild Wild West. What kind of freedom is this defending?

Isn't the freedom to go to school, go to a movie theater or a shopping mall or the office without the fear of being razed down by a lunatic wielding an arsenal of handguns and automatic weapons more important than the freedom to buy and stockpile guns? Isn’t the freedom for those teens killed in Columbine, those young adults at Virginia Tech or those children in Newtown to celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas, to celebrate their next birthday, to grow up, graduate, marry and have children of their own, more important than any American’s freedom to buy an assault weapon? Where is their freedom? What protects their liberty?

Enough is enough. When do we as Americans put aside our own selfishness, our own flag-waving, heart-crossing ideology and look at the reality of what is happening in our country? It takes courage for politicians to stand up to the political bullies and engage in serious debate and make serious, effective decisions. Some people say that we shouldn’t be bringing this up now, just the day after Newtown. Some people say that this is the time for remembering, praying, drying tears and pulling together as a united country. I say now couldn’t be a better time to take action, now as the wound is fresh and bleeding, now as we are crying for yet more of our fellow Americans, now as we are watching 20 children being carried to their graves rather than decorating Christmas trees and opening gifts. We must do more than simply hold hands and light candles. We need to say no to the NRA, we need to take drastic measures to get guns off the streets, make more types of weapons illegal and the rest absolutely more difficult to purchase. And we need a strong program re-educating and re-sensitizing our young people as to the horrors of guns and gun deaths.

Sixteen years ago, a lone gunman armed with four handguns, walked into a primary school in Dunblane, Scotland and shot and killed sixteen children and one adult, shocking not only the nation but the world as well. Immediate public outcry and media-driven public petitions created a real debate on gun ownership and the demand for immediate government action. The lives of children became more important, overrode the public’s interest in any kind of freedom or liberty associated with firearm ownership, and within a year the British government enacted extremely tough gun laws, effectively making private ownership of handguns illegal in the United Kingdom. I remember two years later when a man (naked, but that’s besides the point) stormed into a church in the UK wielding a sword indiscriminately attacking churchgoers. Not a gun, a sword. He injured eleven people. Killed? None.

56 comments:

Ilva Beretta said...

I cannot but agree Jamie, well said-we mustn't be silent!

Mairi @ Toast said...

I couldn't agree with you more, being from Dunblane & having gone to the primary school it always touches a cord. So I am more than not a fan of guns. Even here on the radio on the way home there were some cretins advocating that if the teachers had had guns in the classroom it may have been OK....I am not sure what planet they are on, I only know how angry it makes me. That & all those that seem to thinking that being able to enter shooting competitions is more important than peoples lives. Whereas in Dunblane we could all understand the outcry....it actually helped, as at least something was being done to stop such a tragedy happening again. We can only hope that something is done soon to try & stop any more senseless tragedies.

Ivy said...

I totally agree with you Jamie. I tried to leave a comment earlier but could not. The law should change and not sell guns so easily. I am glad that I live in Greece and maybe we are facing a tragic economic situation but we feel safe and would not trade that with anything.

Jamie said...

@Mairi @ Toast: Thank you and your comment brought tears to my eyes. xo

@Ilva: Thank you xo

marjay said...

I also left America. 1972 was the year. Since then I have lived mainly in New Zealand where even the police normally do not carry guns,but also in Australia and France. There is another way to live but sadly Americans are blinded. Speak out and hope they at long last listen. Thank you.

Denise said...

I couldn't agree more Jamie. Your perspective from being an American living in Europe is very insightful in this difficult issue. Enough is enhough.

Finla said...

Well said Jamie, do we need a silent Monday,some might say yes some might say no, but what I personally think is how can one keep quiet after what one have seen these last days.

Jamie said...

@Finla: Exactly! Thank you!

Deeba PAB said...

Thank you! Words like this must be said. It's ironical to talk of being a developed world, let people arm themselves and see same thing happen time and gain. How many more incidents will it take to change the law. I live in the so called 'developing' part of the world, but am happy to say that I feel safer. It's time to draw a line ... let the state take charge, let them hold the gun. Enough is enough.

Aparna said...

You've said everything that's been on my mind.
I don't live in the US and as an "outsider" I'm have no idea about a lot of policies behind various deciisions including gun (un)control laws there.
But as a citizen of the world, I cannot begin to understand the need for anyone to carry guns for personal use (even under a license) in a civilized society.
Yes, I understand how gun laws came into being in the good old days, and also that there's a strong lobby of gun manufacturers who wouldn't want to change things as they are for obviously selfish reasons.
But I don't understand how the general American public is unable to vote for a change in gun laws despite seeing so many horribly wrong deaths of innocent children and adults time and time again.
I'm seeing all sorts of explanations including mental ill health, but can't they see that anyone who picks up a gun to shoot someone can do so only because that gun is there to pick up, within easy reach.

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

Well said. There is a very well reasoned article doing the rounds in response to this tragedy about the media glorification of the perpetrators by the media written my Morgan Friedman. However his last statement is unsettling: "You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem."

There are not more mad people in the US than other less violent societies. There are more guns...in people's hands.
Watch Bowling for Columbine to see what tragic nonsense the NRA and the other gun-touting political groups are spouting.

Nanette said...

Damn it Jamie Schler you've managed to cut through all the political bullshit and address the key issue, that being that your beloved America needs to take back control from the NRA and become the land of the free once again!

Nuts about food said...

Thank you for speaking out. This is exactly the time to discuss these issues, when we still feel raw about what happened. I, an American, watch in shock from a country where buying/owning a weapon is much more difficult. It doesn't solve the problem but it certainly helps.

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

I agree with every single word (as another American not living in the US, and ashamed, so ashamed). I am a great admirer of President Obama and donated to his campaign repeatedly. But if he doesn't take this opportunity to do something, he will have lost me.

WiseMóna said...

Jamie.... You are - for so many reasons - an inspiration. So well said and I am glad you did not stay quiet.
I can only hope that the law will change to protect the lives of the innocent and that is something we will all vote and campaign for.
Broken hearted here too x hugs to you from Iland.

Jill said...

Jamie, you couldn't have put this better. Well said from the heart! I remember the Dunblane shooting and at least something was done about it. I was in NYC around the corner from the other crazy shooting this year. It wakes you up. You're so right to say stop the silence and do something. Let's pray Obama can really get through and people wake up to take positive action.
Well done on your piece. It should be not just in the Huffington Post!

Not Quite Nigella said...

So beautifully and yet logically put Jamie. It has to change because as you say it's a war zone without a war. I love visiting America but the guns scare me senseless. And the religious aspect is also so strong! :o

P.S. Oops re twitter mention of Huff Po article. I thought I read that you were writing this for them but I must have been mistaken.

Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez said...

Thank you, Jamie. For your conviction and the courage to voice it.

Sarah said...

The repercussions of these shootings are not only felt by the family and friends of the victims. It changes America. Instead of freedom to live in peace, fear, suspicion and anger encroaches on everyday life. It becomes a constant part of it. Guns need to be regulated and out of the hands of children and the mentally ill (facilities to accommodate the latter is another pressing issue). It is sad that in Israel, considered one of the more turbulent areas of the world, I feel safe in my home and in public places. Contrary to what many believe, it is very difficult to obtain a license for a gun and entails a high level of responsibility. America needs to change their mentality about gun ownership. It is not a basic right, but a threat to society.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I believe this current president will do something about it, or at least try. He doesn't have to worry about reelection, so he has nothing to lose politically. I can't believe the ban on assault weapons disappeared after its time was up. I hope at least it will be restored.
Sam

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Thank you Jamie for speaking out. I understand the need for respect through the day of silence but ultimately, speaking out and voicing opinions is needed too. Thank you for saying what so many of us cannot put as eloquently.

Jenn said...

Thank you Jamie, for saying so much more than a silent form letter ever could. I still cannot comprehend such a tragedy, it brings me to tears every time I think about it.

Barbara Bakes said...

It's a shame you actually get Fox News in France - hopefully it's just clips. I watched Mike Huckabee on Facebook and couldn't believe that was his take away from the tragedy.

President Obama spoke to the families last night and said he will work for change. I hope so, but wouldn't hold my breath. The NRA is powerful and determined to stay that way. They rake in so much money every year that it isn't about the guns any more for them. It's about money.

Hilda said...

This has driven me over the edge with anger. I unfriended a couple of people on FB after my rant on Friday because I noticed that they didn't unfriend me and still posted beyond cretinous updates or comments of the "what if one of those teachers had been armed?" variety. One of them has four grown kids. Oh ok, so apparently because you're a psycho whose kids are already grown and out of school, it's fine for people whose children are small to have teachers and administrators carry lethal arms around "their" kids.
There's a point where I give up on the notion of *let's agree to disagree/I respectfully disagree with you* and I have to just say I'm sorry but I refuse to be associated with you because you are either a total moron or a total asshole or both.
On a more level-headed note, in a column on the Atlantic about this, someone made a very good point that "everybody packing" besides being the stupidest.suggestion.ever, does not create equal perception of everyone who is carrying a weapon, e.g. if you are african-american, hispanic or middle eastern or hispanic, carrying a gun, however legally, opens you up to being potentially viewed as respectively a criminal, a criminal, or a terrorist. That's obviously not something that people who cling to their semi-automatic weapons would ever consider since many of the same people who advocate for their beloved semi-automatics are white.
I was reminded yesterday about how growing up in LA in the late 80s and early 90s, there was that spate of freeway shootings where people just started shooting at each other because someone cut them off or whatever stupid reason. It is inconceivable to me that anyone would think more people having more guns makes any sense at all.

I have so many thoughts, mostly profane, about this whole issue, that I'm glad that you were able to put it succinctly and eloquently this way, because I wouldn't be able to manage it any time soon. We are moving to the US (to SF) very soon, it just happened in the last month or so, and I told A yesterday that if more people start to carry guns, we are out of there and not going back.

Cuisine de Provence said...

I am with you all the way.

Kristen - Dine & Dish said...

Very very well said.
Don't assume that those of us who are choosing the day of social media silence are being silent though. I'm choosing to spend my day writing to politicians about this urgent need to do something, now.

Jamie said...

@Kristen: I admire you for that and wish you (all of us) courage. I can only imagine your thoughts with small children. xo

Patti Clark-Wunder said...

This is so well stated. Thank you for putting your heart into this subject and post. I will be sharing on twitter and fb. If we continue to be silent, change will not happen. I will not be silent.

Terri said...

So very well stated. Thank you for your voice

Winnie said...

Thank you, Jamie, for not staying silent. I too am outraged and want to see change.

Bunkycooks said...

Thank you for speaking out on this topic today. As you know, I believe there are several reasons we continue to have these tragic massacres in our country. It's not just the guns. Mental illness and our violent culture are just as much at fault along with the breakdown of families and social norms. We have far too many young people with serious problems that are left untreated and families left with nowhere to turn to help them. Liza Long's story is the story of many mothers. We need to assist parents and families when they have a child (or an adult) who is mentally ill and are a potential threat to society and take on this culture of ours that glorifies violence. We will continue to have these horrific massacres unless we change the laws on not just guns, but on these other issues as well.

Fresh Local and Best said...

I am grateful that you posted this and more so that it has fostered smart conversation about the events and issues. My initial reaction to this event was "Again?" How many more tragedies before real change happens? You echo our outrage.

Matt said...

Very well said.

El said...

Amen sister. Big hugs from New England.

Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

I have the dubious distinction of living in Denver where we have seen this happen too often.

Even before Columbine, a lone gunman walked into a nearby Chuckie Cheese and shot 4 of his co-workers. My children attended birthday parties there and it was too close for comfort. At the time only 4 people were killed; it's a measure of how much worse it's become that I would even use the world 'only.'

My daughter attended a high school only 20 minutes from Columbine. We know people who lost a child and that event affected her childhood and our lives forever. Like you I simply can not imagine how two young men were able to amass an arsenal but they did but even worse...how that ability continues unabated today.

I sat in nervous anxiety for days after the shooting in Aurora at a theater not far from me, not knowing if someone I knew would be listed as a victim. Again, a young man with enough weaponry to start his own war...unchecked.

The 2nd constitution was written during a period when people lived on the frontier; when they were personally responsible for their family's safety in ways we can not imagine. To use it as the reason for allowing people to build personal arsenals which include automatic weapons is beyond comprehension.

I live in America and let me state right now, for the record that the proliferation of guns does not in any way increase my sense of safety, just the opposite. It's been suggested that I fight fire with fire and get a gun. There are simply no words to argue that lunacy. What's next? Shootouts over parking spaces?

No where in the world are people more exasperated than those in America who find our voices drowned out by the voices of people WHO DO NOT REPRESENT US!!!

We are told that now is not the time to start discussing the issue of firearms, that it is too soon. Well when then? Columbine was 13 years ago...isn't that quite enough time? I'll tell you when the NRA will get behind something being done. When something happens to one of their own...and not before.

If we don't make the deaths of innocents a cause, a reason, then what will it take? I say it starts now.

I will not be silent today either. We have been silent too long. We need outrage and conviction; we need our voices heard. America is not a land as portrayed on reality (?)TV. It is filled with good, decent people who care about their families and others and somehow, some way we need to rally those good people to stand up and really be counted.

I made a commitment to my daughter for my post today but you have brought my outrage to the table most eloquently. Something has got to change.

Jamie said...

@Barbara I am weeping...

Monica Bhide said...

I am with you all the way. Well said.

Nancie McDermott said...

Thank you, Jamie. You have written a brilliant, detailed, powerful essay and I nodded and whispered "YES!" over and over as I read it from beginning to end. I live in North Carolina, USA, and I am filled with hope. This underlines and italicizes and boldfaces what has been clear and true for so many years. The other side has held the power for so long, and their deathgrip on the conversation has been unbreakable. They have big 'weapons' in the form of $$$ and political influence and fear-mongering influence on many people. But as we have seen in our recent presidential election, all that money and all that power and all that screaming-right-wing talk-show screed melted into the dirt in the face of people determined to go stand in long lines to cast their votes for a leader who said 'we are all in this together' and 'there is enough'. It won't be simple and it won't be easy, but my sense is that a huge dam has broken and that the waters are flowing toward the changes we must make to become a safe place for everyone. I learned the phrase "Silence Means Consent" during the 1980's when ACT Up activists used it during the AIDS epidemic. The bullies with the bullhorns and the politicians in their pockets can no longer hold on to The Last Word. We are ready to have this fight, and to win it. Your words here mean so much and give strength, clarity and enlightenment to the discussion. Thank you.

Manu said...

I couldn't agree more. Now it's the time to act... in a few weeks, all this will be forgotten and nothing will be done. Praying and remembering cannot and should not be made an excuse for not fixing this or it could happen again and again. :-(

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

Every one of us should stumble this post. I've already done it. This is a well researched and honest opinion of a thoughtful American. I agree with everything you've written. It's time that America wasn't known as one of the most violent countries in the world.

Jennifer @ Delicieux said...

I couldn't agree with your sentiments more Jamie. This is not a time to be silent, it's a time to act.

In Australia gun control laws came about through a similarly and needlessly tragic event, a terrible massacre in Tasmania, where 35 people were killed and 21 injured at a major tourist attraction. This event brought about major changes in gun laws, we implemented strict gun control laws, made the use of semi-automatic weapons illegal, and the government bought back guns (our constitution forbids taking property from citizens without compensating them) from the gun owners and destroyed them.

While it hasn't stopped gun related offences, people bent on getting a gun will find a way, it has certainly lessened gun related crimes.

I understand the culture in America is vastly different, but something has to change, and hopefully that change will come soon for the good and safety of the community. Now is the time to act while the horror of this act reminds everyone what they are fighting for.

Lora CakeDuchess said...

As a mom of a child the same age as those tragically killed the other day, I've found myself breathless with sadness many times these days. Why kill the most innocent? Our children are clean slates and our hope for a better future. I think it is fine that people chose one day of silence as a matter of respect. I think we should be thinking of these poor lost souls every day and wonder why does it keep happening again and again. We live in a country that has become desensitized to all this violence. When another act of violence occurs we become more and more scared here in America. I dropped my daughter to school today and saw the very serious police officer put there today on duty to protect the kids at the front of the school. I drove away feeling my heart sink in my chest. I heard on CNN this weekend a former NYPD police officer who now runs a security business saying the only way to protect our kids is to make the classrooms completely locked down and secure. So our kids will feel like they are in prison instead of at a place of learning. I do agree that gun control is an issue to be addressed but I also feel the gun culture is just as pertinent an issue to discuss. Did you know Americans own 270 million firearms, almost one for every citizen. So we implement gun control laws and what about these existing guns floating around here in our country? Could we regulate them and the owners the way we regulate our cars? Canada now has a 28-day waiting period to buy a handgun and the buyer has to have two people vouching for them. Our very violent culture, the state of mental health, guns...It is a multifaceted issue that we face.

Claudine said...

Hi Jamie, Nanette [my sister] told me about your post telling me I must read it. I am ever so glad I did. You have passionately articulated exactly what Americans [actually the world] needs to hear. I truly hope Huffington Post publish it as it needs to be widely read. Why? Because it will make many people very, very angry. You have flown in the face of all the rhetoric our there that seems to be disguising the raw truth of what has happened. Twenty babies have had their lives torn away by gun laws that need a radical overhaul. I agree with every point you make and felt your anger. I am very glad you put your thoughts down for us to read. I pray many more feel as I did and that hopefully, you change some minds out there...

Amanda said...

Thanks for having the courage of your convictions to speak out past all of the political correctness. It is becoming increasingly alarming to see the astonishing level of control the NRA enjoys in the US - their agenda seems to over-ride everything in it's path and that is really scary.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Enough is enough ... yes you are so right here. The Second Amendment is a fossil in our 21st Century and the laws need to changed from it's core It's a herculean act but there has to be a start towards this.

However, I still believe there is another level to these issues and it is not an America problem but a problem we as humans need to review. It is the issue of being a stronger society, of not shunning people out for being different or having issues. We tend to be superficial with our behavior, pushing our kids because they have to stand their ground in an ever-competing society. They have to be better than their classmates, friends and neighbors kids. Not everyone can take that pressure ... this is absolutely NO EXCUSE or even trying to find a reason for what happened .... please do not see it as such ... but just as the guns have to disappear from the homes, shooting ranges, basements etc. in the same way we need to banish hostility, malignity or the extreme superficial world we have created around us. Fighting this from both levels is, in my opinion vital.

I hope I do not sound like I am preaching - it is not my intention.

Thank you Jamie for writing this!

Jamie said...

@Meeta: no, you are not preaching! This is what must happen, this heartfelt discussion. We can't wait until the raw, open wounds are healed and we are back to our ho-hum, level-headed, rational selves. That is how nothing happens. That is how we stand by while our politicians are bullied by the NRA and their ilk? We need to channel our passions about this and bring it all to the table. Guns; mental health; nurturing the American gun culture; the glorification of violence all in the name of earning bucks; how we push our kids today; how we immediately put our kids on medicine to treat behavior a harried teacher or parent cannot deal with... it is a bucketful of issues and each must need to be faced. One at a time. Which is why I advocate starting with gun ownership and gun control because it is, in my opinion, the most straightforward.

I truly and gratefully appreciate each and every thought and comment here, on Twitter and Facebook. We need this discussion now. And we need to take action now.

Minna Hong said...

Very well said, my friend. As we end day three after the shooting, it's imperative that we don't let this case fade in memory as the others have done.

Yes, it's time to grieve and to mourn, but it's past time to do something to stop the insanity. We as a country need to be better than we are on the subject of guns, or else, we must resign ourselves to reading/hearing about cases like this more and more frequently.

With rights come responsibilities. Someone's right to pack heat ends at the right for others to not get murdered as they go to a mall, the movie theatre, or school. If we must live our lives in constant fear, we are not free at all.

Yes, there are many things that kill people, but guns make it very easy to kill a large number of people from a distance in a short amount of time. You never hear of a drive-by stabbing, do you? No.

I keep hearing that this is the tipping point, that things will be different after this shooting. I am not as sanguine about it, but I really hope it's true.

Jamie said...

@Minna Hong: Thank you. Yes, when was the last "drive by knifing"? Or the last 8-year-old who accidently killed a sibling with a knife? Or ran through the halls of a school with a knife, leaving 20 children dead in their wake?

Karin@yumandmore said...

Yes Jamie it is heart-breaking, anger-filling and frustrating that nothing seems to move forward on this issue! How senseless to kill small children in a school or the adults giving their all to educate and nurture them.
It is a hard time to be an American expat - people expect you to explain the unexplainable, you are too far away to get politically involved except with your voice, you are far away from those you love and fear for who remain in a country that focusses on economic issues and later a desire to divide - in politics, economics, religions, in sickness and in health benefits.
I am saddened and disgusted for my country and I am glad that you are speaking out.
I no longer shake my head when my sister who lives in Philly speaks to parents about their guns and where they are kept when she takes her small daughters to other peoples houses for a play date.
No child or loved one is worth losing to other people's stupidity and stubborness of being right.
Hugs to you my dear American friend and thanks for your courageous words.
Karin

Coco Cooks said...

Well written. I live in the very violent Chicago where it's normal to wake on a Monday and here about a rash of weekend shootings over night. One weekend last summer it was over 20.. And these dont always make the mational news for obvious reasons.

Valerie Lugonja said...

A heart felt and literate rant is the best kind. I see we are completely politically aligned. Not such a big surprise, but a comfort. Yet, you did not include exactly why you left the US... more of the same - or something that hit home? I am sad for you, Jamie, that you felt you had to leave your homeland. I agree with you completely about the NRA and the bullying mentality of that right wing group. I am so sad that this keeps happening - and as a teacher, know that none of those children will ever be the same again.
Standing Ovation for taking such a strong stand. I stand beside you.
Valerie

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

I read this on my phone first thing but today but unable to comment until now.

I suspect the genii is out of the bottle where guns are concerned in the US, those that have enjoyed access to them will go out their way to find weapons on black market if they can't still go to Walmart. But that's not an excuse to keep things as they are, I don't understand why anyone needs to own a gun.

Quite how doing so equates to 'freedom' I will never understand.

Lora said...

AMEN sister. You've expressed every sentiment and more I've felt since this senseless tragedy happened.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Well-written. One cannot stay silent in front of such inhumanity. Society's really sick...

Cheers,

Rosa

David @ Frenchie and the Yankee said...

BRAVO!

Lisa said...

Jamie..this is such a powerful piece. so much so..your 'voice' is still buzzing in my head as I type this. Me and D were just talking about how dangerous it is to keep a gun in your home. People have moments of insanity where one fight, one outburst of rage, can have dire consequences, and I'm speaking of people who are sane and don't usually rage. These shootings will not end as long as anyone is allowed to purchase a license for a gun. 20 little angels and 6 adults trying to protect them were killed because of this law. I don't know what else to say until it happens again, and then, and only then, will they possibly do something about it. How many people have to die first? I'm still hoping they do now. In't this enough of a reason?

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