I tried to write something yesterday, after absorbing what had happened in Connecticut. Several times I sat with the Add New Post page staring at me, but I just didn’t know what to say, what I wanted to say. What is there to say? Guns are bad. Guns kill people. People kill people, the NRA would argue.
Guns sure make it a lot easier.
But that’s trite, it’s bullshit really, when yesterday is considered. I can’t even really consider it. It’s so damn sad.
This morning, I woke next to my warm, loving husband. I didn’t think about Connecticut, or guns, or the bleeping NRA, until he mentioned football, wondering when his Packers play on Sunday. Football, huh! I stayed away from the news for most of last week because the NFL has been a bastion of stupid violence, either with guns or alcohol. I was up to my eyeteeth with stupidity and violence, so much violence inherent in the system. Monty Python made a joke ages ago, as King Arthur rides up to some peasants in a field. He addresses one as old woman, but the peasant informs him that he is a man, Dennis, and he’s thirty-eight, not old (although really, in King Arthur’s time, thirty-eight was probably fairly aged for peasants or kings). Quickly the action turns silly; King Arthur tries to assert his rights as ruler, yet Dennis notes this is a self-governing commune. Arthur gets angry, hauling Dennis from the ground. Dennis yells that he’s being repressed (See how he’s repressing me?), then notes the violence inherent in the system.
My nation, the United States of America, is dying from the violence inherent in the system.
I couldn’t read any more about yesterday other than the basic facts, then one article in the LA Times about if this will change gun laws. Then I moved on, trying to consider other issues. I didn’t get very far, reading one more article, about this very theme; America is a turbulent, unhappy country. It’s not just guns that caused yesterday’s massacre (even if they did make it so much easier to achieve what the killer wanted); it’s America’s thirst for violence. Football fans decry the way the game is being made safer. Talk shows ratchet up the noise; attack attack attack. I never realize how violent a nation I lived in until I moved to Britain. Violence was kept off TV until after the watershed, nine p.m. Sex wasn’t the issue there, Janet Jackson’s nipple of no concern. When I came back, I was appalled at how rough were the commercials during my beloved football; if they weren’t trying to sell me beer, they were forcing fights and bloodshed down my throat.
Adults watch football, okay. So do little kids.
Two nights ago my husband put on the Thursday night football game, mostly out of habit. The teams, Philadelphia and Cincinnati, didn’t interest us, and I picked up my book, Lonesome Dove, and read as the gridiron was trod. Then I said to my husband that the recent tragedies involving football players had really dampened my enthusiasm. Plus it’s getting hard to reconcile serious head trauma with a sport that I have loved and followed for thirty-one years. Baseball appeals more, and not just because my team won the World Series. Baseball is a gentler sport, also more demanding; one hundred sixty-two games spread over six months requires more of players’ attention. I was just getting sick and tired of all the injury and death. I am sick to death of death!
I write plenty about death, I won’t deny it. I also write a lot about love. No matter how bleak my plots get (and they get pretty damn bleak), love triumphs, love always wins. 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13 is often read at weddings; it was read at my daughter’s just this past summer. It is usually attributed as 1 Corinthians 13, but that last verse of the previous chapter really nails it: But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.
That’s LOVE! Not violence, guns, hatred. Yes, a writer needs drama. Cain killed his brother Abel, conflict from the biblical beginning. But good grief, can’t we have evolved some since King Arthur strong-armed Dennis the peasant? My faith demands I remain optimistic, that two thousand years ago love conquered evil by dying on a cross. But for God’s sake (and I mean that just as I wrote it), can’t we move past the blood lust and fury, the need to be number 1 no matter the cost. All the firearms in the world won’t keep anyone safe; little children weren’t even safe yesterday at school! When Kasandra Perkins was killed, the NRA said she might have survived if she’d had a gun. Are they going to say that about the five to ten year-olds who died?
This is an anti-gun rant (in case you missed it); it’s also an I am sick and tired of all this honk-honking vent. In Britain, drivers rarely honk their horns; it’s impolite. My husband and I used to joke that when it did happen (maybe once a year), what was it with all this honk-honking? It’s Christmastime, believe it or not, which exacerbates yesterday’s catastrophe. But maybe, oh please God maybe, that such awful wretched violence occurred so close to when many all over the world celebrate the birth of a baby, maybe someone will take life and love into consideration.
Yesterday, writing about the writing, I didn’t think so. I was pessimistic, pissed off, weary. I had not one iota of expectation that anything in this nation would ever, ever change when it comes to guns. Today? Well, I’ve had a night’s sleep. I thought about Monty Python and The Holy Grail. I lay beside my beloved, who erases all my earthly woes. Then I took a shower, ate some Grape Nuts, the violence inherent in the system floating through my brain.
Many things have changed during my life. Some will never alter. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I have to have hope. Miracles happen. Maybe, one day, the violence will cease to be.