05 June 2013

Guns and Anger

(Photo by Anoosh Jorjorian)
On my way to my kids’ preschool on the morning of May 16, I found my route past Santa Monica College barricaded. When I arrived at school, a teacher told me that they had received an alert about a man with a G-U-N at SMC and so were keeping the children inside. John Adams Middle School, across the street from the college, and Will Rogers Elementary School, around the corner, were also on lockdown. I talked with other parents dropping off their kids. Should we take them home? Or should we continue with normal life and not alarm the kids unduly? The threat seemed vague, and our school was not within the lockdown perimeter, so we left the kids there. I came home and immediately went to the Los Angeles Times blog to learn that the man had specifically threatened schools. I kept refreshing the page until they posted that the police had arrested the man.

This is a tirade, lightly revised, that I posted on Facebook while I was waiting for the lockdown to be lifted. I wrote this in the heat of the moment, and it shows. In Part 2 of this post, I have a calmer response. But I wanted to post my initial reaction because I want to honor my anger, and the anger of so many other people who have suffered due to gun violence.


Santa Monica Community College is on lockdown this morning because there’s a man wandering around the campus with a gun. Off the top of my head, I count three elementary schools, two preschools/day cares (including the one where my kids are), one middle school (also on lockdown), and two public parks that are always filled with children located within a few blocks of his location. I dropped off my kids as usual, and they are staying inside until we get the all clear.

On the east side of Los Angeles, in Monterey Park, schools are in lockdown as well because someone called and threatened to “shoot up” one of the schools.

So here’s what I say: Screw you, America. We tout being the “land of the free,” but hundreds of supposedly “free” children are confined indoors because one idiot managed to get possession of a gun. Is “freedom” blocked-off streets, refreshing internet news to see if the danger is all clear yet, and parents huddled in groups, wondering if they should just take their kids home?

I don’t call this “freedom.” I call it tyranny of the few. The few who are so afraid of “government tyranny” that they are willing to impose gun tyranny on the rest of us.

I’m not willing to let my children be sacrificed to an antiquated and outdated “right” to form a militia. My children are smart, and they are going to be well educated. They are, to put it in crude economic terms, money in the bank of the nation.

But apparently this nation doesn’t care enough about the health and safety of its future citizens to protect them from what is a clearly defined mortal threat with an obvious solution. There is no “debate” about whether gun control works—it does. And yet as a nation, we can’t muster the strength to pass the laws that will ensure that no child will die of a gunshot at her school, that no mother will be pierced by a bullet while dancing in the street on her day, that no teenager will be massacred in a movie theater. >

So screw you, United States of America. You’ve lost the right to my love, to my patriotism. Screw you, all you Senators who worked against gun control laws. I’m calling on citizens' groups to make gun control the centerpiece of your agenda. I’m calling on local representatives to show the courage of conviction that escapes our national politicians.

Because this is terror. I don’t worry any day that I send my kids out the door that a random extremist with a political agenda who hates our country is going to kill my kids. I’m afraid that a U.S. citizen with a gun and a chip on his shoulder is going to kill my kids. Take away the gun, you take away his power to end my child’s life in a fraction of a second. It’s that simple.

I don’t want this in another election cycle. I want this NOW. There are helicopters circling over my house NOW. We can do this NOW if we say: We won’t shut up. We won’t forget. We are watching you, and if this doesn’t change, we are going to force it. We will withhold donations. We will keep our tax dollars. We will stop work. We will take our kids out of school. We will stand in the halls of our government houses until gun control gets done.

I’m done sending e-mails and tweeting my reps because frankly, the only response I get back is bullshit. I’m ready to put my body on the line—in a demonstration on the street, in a sit-in in the state capitol, at the steps of the Senate—to keep my kids out of the line of fire. Who’s coming?

(To be continued in Part 2, in which I quote Sarah Palin and my 5-year-old daughter.)

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