Every time something like this happens, I think I’ve finally reached the point where I’m too numb to be surprised/shocked/devastated. Turns out, whether to my credit or not, I continue to be heartbroken every. goddamned. single. time.
- I’m tired of seeing people post about the conversations they have to have with their sons about the things they shouldn’t do if they want to be safe. Not the things I tell my son not to do – things like running into traffic, or later on things like drinking and driving, joining questionable fraternities, or accepting rides from strangers without an Uber logo on their cars. Things like “wearing a hoodie,” “playing with a toy gun in public,” “avoiding the police.”
In a facebook group about gun violence the other day, the topic of toy guns came up. The group was split 50/50 on whether they allowed their children access to things like water guns or nerf guns, etc. I have no problem with things like that, and have seen that even without access to a toy gun, one can be made and utilized with legos or sticks or fingers. But what brought that discussion to a screeching halt for me was when one mother said that her son isn’t allowed even those items because he’s black and she doesn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea.I mostly avoid political discussion on this site, but you know what? Just like the legal right to marriage isn’t political, neither should this be. I’m tired of massacres, of toddlers shooting their parents or themselves, and I’m tired of waking up to another tragic and preventable shooting of a black man by a cop just hours after reading about the last one.
Gun ownership might be a second amendment right (although I really question that today’s interpretation has anything to do with the intent), but I don’t think that in a gun-fetishizing culture that is steeped in systemic racism, guns should be readily available. I also don’t understand how the post-Orlando massacre reaction of “if the night-club dancers who were imbibing alcohol and listening to loud music under flashing lights had guns, fewer people would’ve died” can co-exist in the same brain with “Philando Castile shouldn’t have had that legal, concealed gun and he wouldn’t have gotten shot.”
I don’t know how to fix this problem. I don’t know how to keep cops from disproportionately shooting black people. I don’t know how to react to stories about Alton Sterling’s shady past as a justification for his execution when the Stanford rapist’s media coverage included his swim times.
I don’t know how to exploit my privilege to be a change leader on this issue. I’m know I’m rambling a bit, but it’s only because I have so much to say, so many thoughts, and don’t know how to get them all out.
Maybe now all I can do is say that I’m here? I can help make sure that these latest two victims have names, have images posted of them that show they were more than just victims, that they had families. I can continue to speak up.