I am tired of seeing parents on TV crying about their gunned-down children. I am tired of hearing people say that we really should do something about guns in this country after every horrific massacre, only to have us distracted with the next news cycle.
I am tired.
The gun lobby has been wickedly effective at shaping the conversation in this country. They’ve incited the paranoia of a small group of white men who feel beleaguered and they’ve brainwashed them into thinking that any sane restrictions on gun ownership mean they’re under siege. This stance has allowed a bloodbath in this country, a rate of gun violence that outpaces all other countries not currently at war. You are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence in the United States than in any other developed nation. Not clutching your gun in your bunker, but when your back is turned at the deli, as happened to Chris Martinez. HE WAS AT THE DELI AND NOW HE’S DEAD. But, yes, by all means, let’s talk about the right to bear arms.
Debates are defined by language. It’s one of the reasons that the death-mongers at the NRA have been so successful. It’s hard to argue against “Second Amendment rights.” Who wants to go against something that sounds as American as apple pie and baseball? Never mind that the Second Amendment refers to a well-regulated militia. They’ve so successfully hijacked the term for the profit of arms manufacturers that it’s moot to try to rationally discuss that they’re using it all wrong.
So what we need is a name – and a lobby – for the right not to get shot. For the right to go to the grocery store and not be gunned down by some unhappy man who had to feel himself made more of a man by a machine whose sole purpose is to injure and kill. For the right to go to school without having to do active shooter drills, which my kids have been doing since kindergarten. I want the right to teach my kids that men with guns are not a thing they’ll ever have to worry about.
But that right is being denied me.
I propose we call this the Right to Safe Passage. We’ll need a lobbying group and lots and lots of money.
Oh, right. There’s my problem. Where’s the profit in the right to walk free?