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Thursday, August 28, 2014

"Killing Time"

(source: The Firearm Blog)
Let me make sure I have this straight:
Those who are against gun control of any kind, the NRA folk, say that guns don't kill people, only people kill people. Ok. That says to me that it is the people who use the guns improperly who are to be held responsible. Is that right? Ok. BUT in cases like this most recent one in which a 9 year old CHILD is put in control of a fully automatic Uzi (an Israeli open-bolt, blowback-operated submachine gun), all of a sudden, it's "just one of those things" rather than the responsibility of the people who put the gun in her hands. Am I still getting this correct? So, we shouldn't control guns, because it's not the guns that are the problem, it's the people, but when there IS a problem where the gun and the people are involved, we should not blame the people or the gun. Ah, got it. So, essentially, guns are here to stay, so are the dumbasses who put them in the hands of children, and que sera sera. Nobody and nothing is responsible. Check. Now I know. And the more you know...

As a former high school English teacher, I used to examine this poem with my students every year. I'd like to pass it on to you. It's not 100% pertinent to the case of the poor girl whose life will never be the same after suffering this trauma, but it lends itself to further thinking on all the issues at hand.

"Killing Time" by Simon Armitage

Meanwhile, somewhere in the state of Colorado, armed to the teeth with thousands of flowers,
two boys entered the front door of their own high school and for almost four hours
gave floral tributes to fellow students and members of the staff
beginning with red roses strewn among unsuspecting pupils during their lunch hour,
followed by posies of peace lilies and wild orchids.
Most thought the whole show was one elaborate hoax using silk replicas of the real thing, plastic imitations, exquisite practical jokes,
but the flowers were no more fake than you or I,
and were handed out as compliments returned, favors repaid, in good faith, straight from the heart.
No would not be taken for an answer.
Therefore a daffodil was tucked behind the ear of a boy in a baseball hat,
and marigolds and peonies threaded through the hair of those caught on the stairs or spotted along corridors
until every pupil who looked up from behind a desk could expect to be met with at least a petal or a dusting of pollen,
if not an entire daisy chain, or the color-burst of a dozen foxgloves, flowering for all their worth, or a buttonhole to the breast.
Upstairs in the school library, individuals were singled out for special attention:
some were showered with blossom, others wore their blooms like brooches or medallions;
even those who turned their backs or refused point-blank to accept such honors were decorated with buds,
unseasonable fruits and rosettes the same as the others.
By which time a crowd had gathered outside the school,
drawn through suburbia by the rumor of flowers in full bloom, drawn through the air like butterflies to buddleia,
like honey bees to honeysuckle, like hummingbirds dipping their tongues in,
some to soak up such over-exuberance of thought, others to savor the goings-on. Finally, overcome by their own munificence or hay fever,
the flower-boys pinned the last blooms on themselves, somewhat selfishly perhaps,
but had also planned further surprises for those who swept through the aftermath of bloom and buttercup:
garlands and bouquets, planted in lockers and cupboards, timed to erupt either by fate or chance, had somehow been overlooked and missed out.
Experts are now trying to say how two apparently quiet kids from an apple-pie town could get their hands on a veritable rain-forest
of plants and bring down a whole botanical digest of one species or another onto the heads of classmates and teachers,
and where such fascination began, and why it should lead to an outpouring of this nature.
And even though many believe that flowers should be kept in expert hands only, or left to specialists in the field such as florists,
the law of the land dictates that God, guts and gardening made the country what it is today
and for as long as the flower industry can see to it things are staying that way.
What they reckon is this: deny a person the right to carry flowers of his own
and he’s liable to wind up on the business end of a flower somebody else had grown.

As for the two boys, it’s back to the same old debate:
is it something in the mind that grows from birth, like a seed, or is it society that makes a person that kind?

Think on this. Think on the former observations, as well. Get angry. Get angry because there is a little girl who will never be the same because of a bunch of people who exhibited piss-poor judgement and will not be held responsible for said judgement or the actions that took place afterward. Get angry, because hers isn't the first case and likely won't be the last. Get angry, because the NRA is still touting the benefits of and good times to be had by a small child playing with automatic assault weapons. Get angry, because of the hypocrisy of those saying "guns don't kill people, people kill people" are the same ones saying "except for in this case...no, no, this was just an unfortunate accident." Get angry because "a recent ... investigation found that out of 72 cases in 2013 in which kids handling guns accidentally killed themselves or other kids, adults were held criminally liable in only four." (source) Get angry for the myriad other things that are wrong with this scenario and all the other scenarios that happen ALL THE TIME in this country.

Now, do something about it. Act. All that anger means nothing if you don't do something with it. Don't waste that energy. Act. Now.

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