It’s Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
Two years ago today, George Floyd died. While being arrested for allegedly passing a fake $20 at a convenience store, Floyd – an unarmed 52-year-old African American – was brutally choked to death by a Minneapolis police officer.
When the world saw a brave teenager’s video of the murder, it united briefly in disgust. Some societal changes – many superficial, but some of them consequential – occurred.
I could rant on this subject. But maybe another day – I just wanted to make sure I and anyone else reading this didn’t forget. There’s another matter about which I have some thoughts.
There are some things you can count on in the United States of America:
— Somebody’s going to get shot today. There’s a chance it’s happening right this second.
A man shooting his estranged partner. Kids playing with Dad’s rifle. Two teenagers fighting over a girl, or a t-shirt, or a can of soda.
Those are the times when the shooter knows who he or she is shooting.
Then, of course, there are times when these people don’t know each other.
Sometimes, like the other day on the New York City subway system, somebody shoots and kills somebody they don’t know for whatever reason.
And sometimes, like in Buffalo a week and a-half ago, and in Uvalde, Texas, yesterday, somebody shoots and kills lots of people. The sheer numbers and the nature of the people – Black shoppers at a supermarket, Hispanic elementary school kids ready to celebrate the start of summer vacation – horrify people and draw the attention of the world.
— You can also count on that attention to fade. It invariably does.
It was already happening for the people killed in Buffalo – some of whom have yet to be buried. If I were betting money on such a vulgar thing, I would bet on attention fading from what happened in Uvalde by the first weekend of June.
Unless, of course, there’s another mass killing sometime between now and then.
Which, come to think of it, you can count on.
— You can also count on the people who have promoted and celebrated the gun cult that is a lot of the United States to offer their thoughts and prayers for the victims of what they’ve wrought.
Their hearts go out for this multitude of dead and wounded – and their families and communities. It’s so touching how deeply they feel.
Also, count on them to double down. They’ll say:
We need more guns in schools. We need more guns in supermarkets. We need more guns everywhere we go.
We need more trained officers. We need teachers to learn how to fire weapons. We need kids to know how to arm themselves. We need doctors and custodians and movie theater ticket takers and rabbis and deacons and the stockers at Lululemon to all pack a rod.
Not that having the NRA’s obscenely described “good guys with guns” did any good in Buffalo this month or Uvalde yesterday.
— One other thing you can count on: It’s going to get worse.
Sometime before the Fourth of July, the Donald Trump-bastardized Supreme Court will issue a ruling that will likely strike down New York’s prohibition on just walking around one of the world’s biggest cities carrying heat.
Imagine how much fun the place called “Fun City” in the ’60s will be when the tourists from Texas and the drunk teens from Staten Island can carry an instrument of death in their cargo shorts without impunity.
So we’ll think and pray, and say angry words like the 600 above this one, and cry and watch CNN and go on to the next slaughter.
Because few people in this supposedly great country have the will to do what must be done.
Take away people’s guns.
Guns make no one safe. They just bring death and heartache. They’re unnecessary to our survival, despite what the people who stockpile them like baseball cards and bottled water believe.
I’m beginning to think that not even cops should have them. I’ve walked the streets of South Korea in the middle of the night. The police carry batons. Mainly because very few civilians are allowed to have guns.
Are they less free than we are? Because, of course, we’re going to hear a lot about freedom when we talk about guns. We’re going to hear cries of “the Second Amendment,” about which the so-called 2A warriors conveniently forget “the well-regulated militia” part.
I’d rather be free to live. I’d rather be free to let 8-year-olds grow up to be whatever their imaginations conjure. I’d rather let an 86-year-old woman shopping for her ailing brother bring the groceries home.
Yeah, I know how hard it would be. It’s a dream to think that 400 million guns – more guns than people – can get anywhere near zero. Depleting the inventory of carnage creation requires some sort of imaginative solution that might be a stretch for 21st century lawmakers.
But change? Even incremental, minute change that makes it 1% more difficult to get an AR-15 at a strip mall if you’re brought to the gunsmith in a strait jacket?
Don’t count on it.
Or prove me wrong.