guns, guns control

I AM A DUMMY

I have been humbled by a great many things in life.  I have been humbled by great art, by small kindnesses, by making love that seems transcendent in some way, by great performances, even by a perfect flower sitting still in a junk pile.  I have been humbled by a wide array of things.

 

This was the first time I was humbled by hate.

 

Yes, humbled is the right word because you see I am a dummy.

 

If you had asked me prior to December 14, if it were possible for a grown man to walk into a grade school and blow away 20 children between the ages of 5 and 10, I would’ve said, “No way.  That is impossible.  PEOPLE ARE NOT LIKE THAT.”

 

newton shootings

 

You see, I like to see the good in humanity.

 

I like to believe that even though MEN are responsible for the vast amount of violent massacres the world over, I don’t believe that all men want to kill or hurt or destroy.  I have seen men who are capable of intense acts of compassion.  I file away those acts of compassion and I conjure them up when I need to see men as they really are.  Men as the babies they were.  Men as the injured souls we can all be.

 

But, maybe I am a dummy.

 

I like to believe that the army of people who are STILL holding tight to their defiant cry that we must save and defend and protect at every cost, the second amendment, are just not letting themselves FEEL what happened.  I understand that you hold the second amendment dear, just as I do the first one.  However, there are limits to my beloved first amendment, the right to “free speech.”  You can NOT use free speech to incite a mob or violence or to slander someone.  In that sense, my amendment is RESTRICTED.  Why shouldn’t yours be too?

 

But, maybe I am a dummy.

 

I like to believe that I wouldn’t have a child like THAT.  But, then I read the Anarchist Soccer Mom’s post entitled, “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” where she discusses the terror of raising a child with mental illness.  She eloquently expresses the complete and utter lack of help that we (don’t) give to mothers (and fathers) who are dealing with an overwhelming problem like a mental disorder with violent tendencies.  I like to think, “It wouldn’t be that way with my kid.”  I’d train it out of him.  Beat it out of him.  Love it out of him.  Whatever it took.  But, again…

 

I’m probably a dummy.

 

I like to think that this time it will be different.  That this time our great humanity will rise up and say, “NO MORE.”  We will pass legislation.  People will make hard decisions between their libertarian values and the far more important – protection of our children.  People will look at the second amendment in a HISTORICAL CONTEXT.  They will look at it and think, “We created that when we were worried about Britain invading again.  We created that when we were worried about the tyranny of our own government…these are different times.”  People won’t look at the constitution as a fixed and inflexible document, but as it was intended – poetry for a democracy – a living and breathing thing.  People won’t take it as etched in stone like they sometimes do the bible.

 

Yep, I’m a total dummy.

 

There’s a term used in the United States.  It’s used very freely and frequently, but I would also say too narrowly.  The term is, “Thank you for your service.”  Mainly, we use it for military service members.  We offer it with a pat on the back to men and women who have put themselves in harms way for the greater good.  This holiday season, I’d like to apply it to an entirely different type of service member…

 

TEACHERS.

 

Thank you to each and every one of them.  Thank you to all of mine.  Thank you to the ones I liked, the ones I didn’t like, the ones I was a pain in the ass for, my brother who is a mighty fine one, and above all…TO THE ONES WHO TAUGHT ME HOW TO RAISE HELL.  The ones who taught me how to question and reason and doubt and argue.  Thank you to all of you, for helping me to be strong enough to stand up in front of what may not be the popular voice, the popular opinion, or the popular statement, but I’m going to say it anyway:

 

LET’S LOSE OUR PASSION FOR GUNS AS A CULTURE.  LET’S STOP GLORIFYING THEM AND MAKING THEM SEEM SO ‘AMERICAN’ AND RED, WHITE, AND BLUE, AND SO TOTALLY, FECK YEAH, AWESOME!  BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT.  THEY SUCK.  THEY TAKE THE ONE THING THAT WE CAN NOT REBUILD – HUMAN LIVES.  YOU DON’T NEED A GUN TO HUNT, P*SSY.  USE A BOW AND ARROW.  THAT TAKES SKILL.  THEN THE DEER HEAD ON YOUR WALL WOULD MEAN SOMETHING.

 

But, again, this is just a dummy talking.

 

However, this particular dummy is taking a pledge.  A pledge to honor teachers.  This particular dummy is going to try and become less and less of one everyday.  She’s going to try and shed her stupidity.  I’m doing that for my teachers.  I think it’s the least I can do.

 

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Sweet Mother is updated daily.  Please click the “follow” button to stay in touch.

 

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Photo creds:

gunsbystate, vigil

 

66 thoughts on “I AM A DUMMY

    1. yes, i mean all the semi-automatic and gun clips with over ten bullets need to go… plus, how about universal background checks. i mean, christ, we don’t do any of that, apparently. on a serious note, thank you, my life, for commenting. this is not an easy thing to write about, that’s for sure. much love, mother

      1. And how about better monitored licensing. For example, medical professionals, those who hold lives in their hands, need to complete a number of Continuing Education Credits to maintain their licenses. How about we require training and CECs for firearm licenses? xoM

  1. The more we gun dummies know about how guns are sold, stored and used in the United States, the more able we are to fight the gun lobby. Seventy percent or more of gun owners actually favor stricter regulation. The NRA has the debate by the throat; we have to make it let go.

    1. in regards to this, we’re ALL dummies, as in we shouldn’t have let it happen. however, i have heard that on the news (npr) that the majority of gun owners are IN FAVOR of more restrictions. so, it’s hard to understand just what in the feck we are waiting for? much love, mother

  2. beautiful post Sweet Mom… so beautiful…
    its just hard to believe a person capable of looking into the tiny innocent faces and shooting at them…but mental illness is something not many people talk about…if someone was at a stage where he could do such thing then he was in need of help and he didnt get it…

    but what i didnt get it why would Lanza’s mother take his son to shooting ranges with him if he was ill..i read somewhere she used to go to these ranges and sometimes take her son with her…

    1. i read that too. i’m not sure we’ll ever know the answer to that lil miss. it’s very sad, very sad. and i think that’s my point. let’s restrict them and make access hard, so that the unstable and ill among us can’t get to them easily… xo, sm

  3. I really liked this.

    Some of the reasoning behind us being a “Gun Culture” is now gone. We no longer need to protect ourselves from the very people we stole this country from. We no longer need to provide for our families as we make a long trek this way or that way, into the vast unknown. No. Now we are worried about people coming in and taking “our country” away from us. In my personal opinion the 2nd Amendment does not read in a way to suggest every individual has the right to own a gun. It says the “people” have a right to protect themselves, to form a militia. What do I know though. And speaking of hunting…each and every season is regulated in one way or another. If hunting season is regulated why not the tools used for it also?

    The good thing is the laws in Connecticut worked…until they didn’t.

    1. jon, i could not agree with this comment more. that’s exactly how i know of it too… the second amendment was there ‘so the ppl could rise up and form a militia,’ which is not as necessary as it once was. and i’m not anti-hunting, nor do i think the 2nd amendment should be abolished, but i do think RESTRICTIONS, RESTRICTIONS, RESTRICTIONS. this is not afghanistan, children should be able to go to school without anything EVER happening to them except awkwardness and learning. xoxo, sm

  4. My dad doesn’t hunt for a deer head on a wall, although he does have a couple items like that. He hunts because you can stock your freezer with meat for the price of a tag. Now bow hunting is the prefered method. But sometimes you don’t get your elk or deer during bow season. Then you go out rifle season. Now I like stew made from elk better than stew made from beef. But I don’t get it anymore since I moved away from my family. And there are a number of rural areas where hunting is still a vital necessity for poor people to get enough food.

    1. I AM NOT ANTI-HUNTING. let me repeat that. i am NOT anti-hunting. i’m anti hunting being used as an argument in these gun debates. i am a meat eater and as my veterinarian wifesy will tell you, ‘veterinarians kill animals all the time…’ so i don’t have some kind of hippie-go-lightly-we-can’t-kill-anything mentality. i’m just tired of hunting being used as a pro-gun argument when most hunters will tell you that hunters NEVER shoot with semi-automatic weapons. that’s it. here’s the problem, stores that sell hunting gear will go out of business if they only sell weapons – bows and arrows, rifles that are used for hunting. what keeps them afloat are weapons sold in a militarized and glorified fashion, as in, ‘hey this gun factory made this for war, but you can own one too, bub…’ THAT is what i’m against. much love, mother

      1. Oh yes, there is NO reason to be using semi-automatic weapons for hunting. Many hunters hate this. The ones who are using them are putting other hunters at risk because they can often place themselves twice as far from the prey as the other hunters. So people hunting with normal rifles are between them.

    1. oh, i’m such a dummy. but, i’m flattered that you think i am not. and thank you for saying so about this piece. i agonized about whether or not to write about it… much love, sm

      1. Hey, I gotta keep my heroes on their pedestals. :)
        I can relate to being agonized over this topic. My blog will be silent until next year. A decision I had made even before my post on Friday, which oddly I wrote without any knowledge of the tragic events, but was all about how I was handling a bad day. What we say, what we don’t mean to say, what we feel, all of it will dissipate over time. What we are left with is what we do. Those most personally affected haven’t had time to process the initial shock. What follows will be a series of emotions that they will cycle through for a very long time and I think it’s important for us all to remember and respect that. xxoo

  5. Dear SM, while doing something about the culture in this country is, clearly, critical, I feel that it’s just as critical to de-stigmatize mental illness. To make it easier to seek help, for any reason, for any length of time, at any point in time. To understand the strength and courage it takes to acknowledge one needs help – whether through a mental illness, or a financial downturn, or anything else – and to have compassion for one another when we reach out. The people of this country demonstrate their compassion on a daily basis through their volunteer work, and they turn out full-force in the face of a crisis. Gun control, definitely; non-judgmental access to mental health care: crucial! xoxoM

  6. We must stop the flow of money that fuels our political system. We must cut the head of the lobbyist snake. Our politicians cannot do the right thing we they are financial supported by people wanted them to do the wrong thing. This transcends both sides of the aisle for both are indebted to factions that do not have the best interest of this nation or its citizens at heart. At their heart is self-interest and greed. This is understandable. It is one of the “flaws” of man to think happiness comes from wealth and power. But we don’t have to put up with it. We the people don’t have to put up with it. We must, must stop this billion dollar industry called lobbying. No man or woman can stand on their principles if their job depends on a steady flow of cash from the unprincipled. It cannot be done. We must take this financial-inspired patronage out of our political system or we will never rise above events like this latest tragedy. HF

    1. hmmm, an interesting take, harper. and i do agree that not enough people are talking about the powerful lobbies. except for the nra and only now, of course. still, i’m a dummy ’cause i don’t know if anyone will ever listen. much love, mother

      1. Like you said about the tree in forest. The tree needs to fall whether anyone listens or not. So march on. Frankly, I am overloaded with causes right now. Until Friday’s tragedy, I was concentrating on the homeless this holiday season. More children will die this winter on America’s streets because of no home, no warmth, no food than died on Friday. I know. It’s really not a good thing to try and compare tragedies. I just keep thinking that this great country of ours, and it’s still a great country, can do so much better. It’s frustrating. HF

  7. Momma – I’m going to preface this with saying… I don’t disagree with you, but I don’t wholly agree with you either. I am a permit holding, gun carrying woman. I don’t wave the second amendment around as a shield because I do believe there should be common sense and reality checks. That being said, people need to understand that the Supreme Court has ruled that each individual citizen is responsible for their own protection. The police are not required, IN ANY WAY, to protect you. The police force in this country have exactly three main duties:

    deter crime
    enforce the law
    maintaining order

    (http://www.security.gov.vc/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=63&Itemid=72)

    In fact, the only time the police force is required to protect your life is during a fire. Each and every gun owner in this country has a responsibility to respect its deadly power and use it for the tool it is nothing more. We do glorify guns in this country which I completely DISAGREE with, but I also will not allow my right to own a weapon to be curbed when it will do NOTHING to prevent a criminal from obtaining one and using it against me.

    On three separate occasions my family has had to use a gun to deter a crime from being committed against us. I personally had to protect my daughter and myself against a potential attacker and another time, my guy and I were about to be robbed. The last, a mugger was coming at my guy and he had to take action. Fortunately, no shots fired.

    That being said, that mother had a duty to keep those guns OUT of her MENTALLY DISTURBED child’s hands. This is like punishing the pitbull for the ineffectiveness of the owner. Guns are only as bad as the person wielding it.

    Love you dearly, Momma. XO

    Tin

    1. love you dearly too, tinsy, whether you own a gun or not. lol. and i’d say, read my comments and responses because i am NOT for abolishing the 2nd amendment, only RESTRICTING IT. the first amendment is restricted, why shouldn’t the second one be? that’s my problem with this whole thing in a nutshell, anytime you say, “nope, enough. this is too much.” there’s a weird, “please don’t take my responsible gun ownership away.” I never said that, but somehow whenever you disapprove of mass killings and the far-too-easy access to guns in this country then the “please don’t take my responsible gun ownership” comes up, which i just do not understand. i’m not talking about responsible gun owners. lanza’s mother was for all intents and purposes a responsible gun owner. however, if there was some kind of proper background check in place they might have said, ‘wait, you have a son with mental illness living in your home? then, sorry, but you can’t have guns in there with him too. he’s not stable.” love, mother

      1. My bad, momma. I totally got that from your comments and should have made that clear … my thing is so many people don’t realize that we are responsible for our own safety in this country and they think the police are there for that purpose.

        I hesitate on restriction of the 2nd Amendment because it’s a slippery slope. What you’ve proposed re: Lanza’s mom could be interpreted as discrimination against the mentally ill, or parents of the mentally ill.

        For me, we need to be more about enforcing responsible gun ownership. My daughter, at the age of 8, attended a gun safety class. We took her to the range when she met the minimum age. She was told anytime she wanted to do that we’d take her. The point being remove the “forbidden” make it blase, no big deal. We also instilled in her the notion that this isn’t a toy and the respect for life that is necessary to understand the full responsibility of owning a weapon that can kill.

        The other very real fact is, take the gun out of the equation, that kid wanted to kill those kids. God only knows why. Determination breeds ingenuity. He would have found a way to do it. Maybe a bomb strapped to his chest … this was a kamikaze suicide mission. Period.

        *sigh* I honestly don’t know the right answer, I only know it’s not black and white like so many want it to be.

        Much love to you and wifesy

  8. There’s a book called “Far From the Tree” by Andrew Solomon. Study of parents who’s children are not a “chip off the old block”. He interviewed the Klebolds among other parents whose children suffer from a range of mental illness to dwarfism. I haven’t read the book yet but listened to an interview Terry Gross did with him on Fresh Air. Very interesting. Check it out.

    1. adrienne, I will most definitely. and that rings a vague bell of some sort. maybe i heard part of that interview too? anyway, will do. and it’s good to see you. or read you, i should say. ;) much love, mother

  9. Wow, Mama. This is great. I actually had a hunting license and loved shooting a gun (probably still would), but I will not have them in the house because one was used on me (see here: http://soiwentundercover.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/my-biggest-fear/), and I realize that it is more likely to be used against me than for my protection. Having said that, the only way we can fix what happened is by being in touch with our kids. Part of our responsibility is to protect our children, the other part may be to protect others from them. Adam Lanza’s parents failed a lot of people… a whole nation that now mourns, as a matter of fact.

    1. ay, undercover, i HATE that that happened to you. but, i will read it. yes, protecting our kids and getting them help. it seems incredibly important now on both fronts. anyway, thanks for saying so about the piece. not an easy thing to write about. much love, sm

  10. Wonderful post, yet I must argue with you about two points.

    Number 1) You are *NO* dummy. A dummy couldn’t do the brilliant job you have done in making people laugh. A dummy couldn’t maintain a blog with insight and humor like you have. I don’t respect dummys. I have a feck ton of respect for you.

    Number 2) Mental illness is complete bullspit. It is to psychiatry what plogiston was to chemistry. Incase you don’t remember, plogiston was a made up substance to explain how things burned. We now know that oxygen is what allows it.

    Psychiarty is the only “science” with differing rules. With areonautics, we have a set of rules to explain how something flies. We use those same rules to explin why it crashes. We have rules to explain how our cells split and enable us to grow. We use the same ones to explain how they become cancerous. Psychairty, on the other hand, has one set of rules to explain how a “normal, rational” human being is. The have a *completely different* set to explain why someone is not so.

    Saying these mass murdering feckers are mentally ill is utter bullsh**. It’s a slap in the face of the victims. To wit a mentally ill person is “not capable of making rational descisions and are not at fault for their actions”. WTF? Those S.O.B’s *are* capable and rational enough to make them. Do we like those choices, or agree with them? FECK NO. However, we should *not* say they are fecking victims. In this instance: the killer made a rational, reasoned choice to by those guns. He made a rational, reasoned choice to go to that school. He mad a rational, reasoned choice to kill 20 little kids and six adults. He made a rational, reasoned choice to kill himself. He was in COMPLETE control of his actions at ALL times.

    You know, it’s interesting: In all the documented cases of what we call schizophrenia, we’ve *NEVER* seen, or heard of those voices saying, “Hey, be especially kind to your wife.”

    Sorry about the rant, SM. I agree with the rest of your points. xoxo

    1. i don’t know if he was mentally ill or not. and let me just say from my pov if he were mentally ill, that would NOT make him blameless. for feck’s sake, i hold him completely and utterly accountable. i will say that i’m inclined to assume that he was mentally ill because such an act is so outside my realm of understanding that i find it insane. and i have a pretty wide scope of understanding when it comes to other humans. anyway, i don’t have the answers, and thus, i’m a dummy. but, i’m glad you don’t think so. :) sm

  11. This is such a terrible event – it’s too much to take in. First off – I don’t believe you are a dummy.

    I am a gun owner and think that there is a responsibility that goes along with my rights. It is my responsibility to secure all firearms – my safe has a combination that exactly one person on the planet knows. Even as a lifelong shooter with competitive shooters in my family, I don’t see the need for a 30 round clip. I’ve taken the concealed carry classes several times and I don’t think it would be a bad idea for every gun owner to take those.

    Like owning a car, I have to pass a test – is there something wrong with that? My pop would look at ideas like this and spin a paranoid yarn about the government coming for all your guns including great grandpa’s musket.

    There is a deep paranoia in the gun community about any limitations, and I think that even with limitations there will always be a black market for whatever is limited. Right now people are buying up Bushmasters to make sure they get one while they can – it’s crazy.

    The biggest gaps in gun laws are private sales – at gun shows there is no background check at all – and the guns that fall in between fully automatic (you need a specific license for those that is pretty stringent) and high capacity semi automatics (which you need only pass a simple background check to obtain) I think there is room to close the gaps and allow for the rights of 99% of gun owners.

    1. agreed on all points. the sentence i liked the most…”there’s a deep paranoia in the gun community about any limitations..” yes. THAT is what i take issue with. the mere point that i bring up the need for restrictions causes many people to scream out, ‘but, you can’t take my gun!’ i mean it’s craziness. we all need to collectively and calmly look at this from all sides rationally in a way that will prevent further senseless deaths. gun owners or not. period. and mind you, i am the daughter or a probation officer. my dad had to keep a gun as part of his job and as required to by city gov’t. it was somewhere in the house and in the 18 years that i lived with him, i never found it or came across it even once. i’m pretty sure my brother couldn’t tell you where he kept it either. now, that’s responsible gun ownership. so, i know it’s possible. but, keeping them in the house when you have a kid that’s off AND taking that mentally unstable kid to gun ranges where you teach him to shoot… sorry, but it’s irresponsible. anyway, stay strong, artsy. much love, sm

  12. Reading your post brought a lump to my throat Mum. I wish there were 250 odd million more just like you. If there were then the whole damn world would be a better place.

  13. SM, you are not a dummy. You have made a reasoned and thoughtful response to what is an unreasonable act. Let me say a couple of things though.

    First, in nearly all the cases of mass murder in this country in the past 20 years the perpetrators have not been ‘mentally ill’ as we understand it. It does a disservice to those who are in truth mentally ill, who suffer with true illnesses of the mind when we divert the conversation. There have been several studies, though most of these murderers take their own lives before they can be studied up close and personal, they are not ‘insane’.

    There is nothing wrong with us looking at our cultural love affair with violence, our increasingly desensitized community and considering the contributing factors. But lets not call it ‘mental illness’ and thus fail to address the some of the real issues.

    The Constitution was written by Slaveholders and Land Owners to protect their interests, within the first 10 Amendments the Constitution ratifies slavery. This is not a document that is without flaws. It is also not a document that was burned into a stone by a lightening bolt shot from heaven. It is time we take a look at historical context and consider the difference between a breach load musket and a military grade assault weapon with a high capacity clip.

    On the same day twenty children under 10 years old lost their life in an elementary school in Connecticut in China a man attacked children in an elementary school playground in China with a knife. Although several were badly wounded, none of the 22 were killed. What does that say? That no matter what if a person wants to cause mayhem they will, yes but without access to military grade weapons and high capacity clips it is unlikely that mayhem will result in the horrifying loss of life we see over and over again in this country. Since 1968, the year both Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated 1,000,000 people have lost their lives to gun violence.

    Every now and then I ask that you read something I have written. Where you are reasoned, which I love and appreciate because of my history, because I am a victim of gun violence my passion runs a bit deeper. http://valentinelogar.com/2012/12/15/hunting-goodwill/

    1. such an eloquent comment. and i agree with pretty much all of it. as for the mental illness, i am not a psychiatrist, so i don’t know. but, i will say that my own sanity and sense of morality does not allow me to believe that a person of right mind could accomplish such atrocities. that doesn’t mean i say he’s blameless. crazy or not, HE did this. i hold him completely and 100% accountable. anyway, i will read your post. much love, mother

  14. Bless your dumb sweet mother heart. My response comes from my Canadian viewpoint – Oh my goodness; where to even begin.

    America is on the verge of imploding. The sacred constitution is biting its righteous ass. The “right to bear arms” was never intended to put a semi automatic weapon in the hands of every citizen. Written in colonial times as a means to readily raise a militia in defence of a fledgling nation; the founding fathers would roll over in their graves if they saw the flagrant abuse of their intentions.Holy crap.

    All my frustration can muster is a weak WTF. We all take our shoes off at airport screening because of a single shoe bomb, yet won’t raise a finger to set gun limits. An antiquated constitution, the NRA and gun lobby are a joke.

    Keep kicking ass Momma. I pray there are many more just as dumb as you.

    1. i’m not totally sure we are imploding. if romney had been elected, i might agree with you. but, i’d say the last election shows that at least half of our people are reasonable. agreed, that the 2nd amendment was intended for something else entirely. the bottomline is that this MUST push forward gun control and gun restrictions. sorry to the gun folks out there, but it has to happen. if it doesn’t, then, indeed, we are lost. much love, notes, much love, mother.

    1. oh, speaker… that horrifies me. what is wrong with people??!! ugh. maybe you and i were supposed to be born on an entirely different planet where reason rules out. us and a small army of others… well, a girl can dream. sm

  15. I’m a dummy right there with you. I’ve been of the “strangers are friends you haven’t met yet” brand of optimism. Never would I imagine the hurt one human could inflict on so many others.

    1. never lose that, tori… no matter what sh*t pile the world decides to dish out on a particular day. it is only with that kind of optimism that the world can become a better place. much love, tori, much love. mother

  16. we’re both dummies. I feel every word you wrote in my heart.

    Twenty babies are dead and people are on our tvs screaming they need to arm teachers.

    Your blog would let me “like” this post so I’ll love it here.

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