I’m a man who lives in a gray world. From the Seattle sky above my head to the coloration of my world views. Black and white, outside of old films and photography, is for suckers. That position, which often is considered incorrectly as a non-position, is said to be held by people who have no convictions. Backbone is sticking to your guns and firing from the hip – metaphorically of course. Guns don’t kill people, people blah da fucking blah.
Here’s a few gray convictions for you. I’m sick of hearing the Don’t Tread On Me shit from people who spent $29.50 on a crappy t-shirt talk about how their rights are being infringed upon. If you have that shirt you’re an asshole and no, you and your second amendment rights are not part of the solution.
Twenty-one people have been shot and killed in Seattle this year and we’re only halfway through. It’s not an us vs. them issue. It’s simply an us issue. It’s a multiracial, multi-generational problem solving tragedy.
There is no doubt people are attracted to the guns and violence. There is no doubt that I am as well. To my left is a bookshelf stuffed with Cormac McCarthy novels, Patricia Highsmith novels, James M. Cain novels. To my right is a small collection of DVDs. I call out that it’s small because it underlines how many of the films are violent: The Wild Bunch, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Django, and El Topo to name a few of the most violent of westerns I can see from where I sit. We would be hard pressed to find a more bullet riddled, blood splattered collection than that. Films like Unforgiven, 3:10 to Yuma and The Magnificent Seven don’t even make the cut. Then there’s Die Hard, Dirty Harry and Gangs of New York, Full Metal Jacket and Inglourious Basterds. Yes, these films peddle their violence often in all those shades of gray, but while some revel in the blood and the mud, some do claim to protest it.
There seems to be a fantasy breakdown somewhere though. Life imitates art far too often here. For most of us the thrill of a gunfight is largely satiated by the Saturday matinee. We can hmmm hmmm at ourselves because of the social point the ar-tist is making. We can call it cartoonish and over-the-top, gritty and oh-so-real as we drive home or flip over to a baseball game. The drama in these stories is undeniable. The draw incredibly strong. Then somehow, it gets all mixed up with our Rights as a people. We gave away every freedom we could think of in the years following 9/11. We even gave away some we didn’t think of and isn’t that a good joke Mr. Don’t Tread On Me? Who took them away from you asshole? Are we any safer from terrorists? If you say yes you’re dreamin’, pal. All we did was sign our real Rights, are true Rights, the ones that really matter to the freedom of this country and our people away. But, it’s cool, I understand many of us think that guy would be fun to have a beer with and maybe even hang out with at the range and shoot some targets. So let’s wear our t-shirts, tote our guns and not think twice about junior getting into our completely locked gun cabinets, because that would be impossible as the key’s attached to our collective wallet chains. Oh, he did get into it? Shot someone did he? Man, that sucks. Let’s give them to the mentally ill, the domestic batters, the angry, the sad, and the plain ol’ whacked and then let’s compare our national year end number of dead by handgun to any other country on the planet and see where we stand.
The sad part is I see no solution. I see no law changing or the possibility of one changing. I see no action being taken even if a law where to miraculously change and I imagine a lot of shooting if that law did miraculously change and action were taken.
The fact is gun-toters no one is treading on you. That’s right, no one is coming for you and your guns. The Yellowstone caldera, a super tsunami, Planet X and the Mayan cataclysm are far more likely threats to you and your guns than some liberal politician talking softly on the floor of the Capitol building.
Who are we more afraid of: The brown skinned foreign guy who probably works for Microsoft, drives a Nissan, and plays video games with his roommates or the white skinned guy in the pick-up with the gun rack who’s stock piling water and munitions in his basement? I guess it depends on who looks back at you in the mirror.
Tim Buckley, The Earth Is Broken