To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Observercast

Our Days Of Guns

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BY VERN TURNER

VernTurnerAllow me to begin with a poem written by my colleague and friend, Steven Love of Dallas:

VOICES

Voices, the high-pitched tones of childhood,

Laughing and enjoying moments of innocence

And the company of others with little and big voices …

And then came the bullets … the bullets! … the bullets!!

And then all the little voices went silent.

The little ones cradled in the loving embrace of some with big voices

Also silent!

Voices in prayer, big voices

Voices tempered with decades of seeking justice and peace

Seekers of healing from long memories of a struggle for dignity

A sacred gathering of big voices … in God’s house!

And then came the bullets … the bullets! … the bullets!!

And then all the voices went silent.

Peace at last! At peace … at last!

Voices, barely heard over the beat of the drum

Bodies moving with the universal tempo of music

A celebration of our common humanity

And the unquenchable quest for love and acceptance.

And then came the bullets … the bullets! … the bullets!!

And then in the midst of the screams of the injured

The voices of 49 souls went silent.

What are we to make of so many voices

Silenced in the midst of life?  

Silenced, but still present in our memory

Snatched from us in moments of unspeakable violence

When came the bullets … the bullets! … the bullets!!

Shall their voices remain silenced forever

In the solitary aloneness of their grave?

Or will we in one voice,

Rooted in the pain and grief of so many silenced voices

In defiance that so much silencing of voices

Would be the national legacy of our freedom

DEMAND … an END … to the

Coming of the bullets … the bullets! … the bullets!!???

I can in no way emulate Steve’s elegance. I am too full of sadness and disappointment. But my desire to communicate is strong and, as is my wont, mostly unfiltered so the reader can hear my heart beating and my voice trying to make sense of it all.

Right now, none of these elegant words do much good except to give people like us a place and means to grieve. We grieve for our lost citizens and our nation. We weep for the wasted promise of a civilized nation, wallowing in the slime of fear, hate, madness and money. Our elected representatives have failed us absolutely. Over 90% of us want the meagerest of gun controls, but the politicians give us nothing. They parse words and take no action. The people cry out for action. They’ve heard enough wasted words and endured enough “moments of silence.”

We elect the whores of the gun/ammo industry. We elect the easy marks of The Lobby of Death, the NRA. A significant number of our males feel as if they are not masculine without a gun in their hands, a gun to solve all their problems of self-identity, inadequacy and ignorance. In Texas, for example, 26% percent of the gun licenses are held by women and only 7% are held by African-Americans [another urban myth dispelled]. That means that around two-thirds of the licensed gun owners are white males.

The deranged and unhinged people grab at guns as a way to commit the murders that haunt their souls and a way to take so many innocents with them in their suicide pacts with Hell. How is it that this distinct minority gets more attention from the Republicans in Congress instead of the vast majority? Money. Bribery. Graft. Incompetence. That’s how.

Are we not long past the day when the gun was our main tool of survival? I guess not … at least in the minds of those who must have them. The current gun “show” now in theaters everywhere is a sure sign that we have lost our way as a people and as a nation with regard to understanding the meaning of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. We have allowed the tail to wag the dog of government, and the tail has a peculiar smell: cowardice.

Explaining the nuance of a “ … well regulated militia … ” is lost on those who fear government – and their neighbors. Is the gun pathology a symptom of our national psyche and its inherent, self-induced disease of paranoia, insecurity and inferiority by those who choose not to think and are not willing to work toward improving life in this country? Or is it just a temporary condition until rational people actually take over the conversation? How many have to die at the hands of lunatics with guns – lunatics who could legally buy them – before that conversation will actually generate action?

No new law is going to change anything unless the conversation is changed. Perhaps saying something definite will override the handwringing about “due process” conversations in Congress. Bribery will still persist as long as there is money to be made from the death of innocents. In Australia, when assault rifles were banned, the mass murders disappeared. Here, all that law would do would be to enable more mass shootings with the guns already in circulation; including the new guns that would be mass purchased before the sales ban deadline.

Oh, the horror of someone coming for your guns. How could anyone survive without one? The perfect irony and confirmation of my sarcasm is that nobody has tried to come after anyone’s guns unless laws were broken. Add to that the fact that home defense events are extremely rare. But every time there is a need by the gun industry to boost profit, some mindless spokesperson shoots off his mouth and scares those weak souls enough that they go out and buy more weaponry they don’t need. This is called a racket. Exploiting fear for profit, in the case of guns, is a most deadly undertaking. There is nothing good about this racket. Perhaps it takes a major stockholder in a gun manufacturer to lose a loved one to mindless gun violence before the message will get through.

Why are our rights to bear arms so badly misconstrued into a drooling anxiety about grabbing all of them we can before someone, anyone comes to take them away? Simple. Guns and killing in America is a profit opportunity for the gun-makers, the ammo-makers and the media. Our Congress, outside of a few brave, rational souls, looks the other way and creates moments of silence. They are the gutless, the corrupt and the villains in this macabre drama of death we see every day in America. The 90 people we kill every day by gun is testimony to our fundamental incompetence at managing and governing ourselves.

We have lost our way. This is not a poem, but rather a venting of pain from an old man who has watched too much killing; killing by the enraged, the disconnected, the deeply disturbed, the criminals, the bullied, the bullies, the angry, the disenfranchised, the police and the very stupid who allow their children access to lethal weapons.

I keep waiting for the shroud of our shame to somehow be lifted by some inspired movement or leader capable and strong enough to also lift the primitiveness from our society along with it. If this election season is any indicator, I think my wait will be in vain.

Vern Turner lives in Marble Falls, TX and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism, is available through Amazon.com.

Vern Turner
Vern Turner
Denver resident Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Why Angels Weep: America and Donald Trump, is available through Amazon.