And Still We Wait: A Generation of Guns

http://gunsandposes.tumblr.com/post/34608090517/friedkin

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What exactly is happening here?

It was April and I had topped wearing my coat. Was definitely wearing Men’s Gap jeans. I might have still been in my Converse phase.

Walking down the stairs of The Loft to grab the legendary steak fries soon to be accompanied with blue cheese dressing, I heard the tail end of the news and stopped talking.

We were frozen, Ashley and I.

I don’t remember eating.

I remember sitting down and crying in silence.

When looking at statistics of these kind of “unthinkable” and tragic situations, something became clear. More mass shootings have happened over our lifetime than any other generation. When firearm deaths were at their peak and we were getting our braces on, the project1979 generation had seen three of the most horrible shootings in US history. Since then, we have witnessed seven others-the last and most haunting occurring last Friday.

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We also (most of us won’t remember this) Ronald Reagan survive an assassination attempt in 1981 which permanently disabled press secretary James Brady and led to the 1993 Brady Handgun control act:

To provide for a waiting period before the purchase of a handgun, and for the establishment of a national instant criminal background check system to be contacted by firearms dealers before the transfer of any firearm.

We grew up with technology, globalization, HIV and the NASA space shuttle program, shared with us nightly by Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather. Silently, quietly we also grew up with seeing these tragedies on television.

How has observing so many massing shootings affected us? Is there even any way to measure the affect on how we live now?

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I am in Italy, sitting at an Ikea table and wearing my 2001 hat (a present from Ashley). I am alone with cats and a miniature Christmas tree, needing to start working on another grant, clean the kitchen and hang the clothes out to dry. Of course I cannot do any of those things. I’m obsessed with fighting any feeling of apathy or disconnectedness from what happened four days ago. I want to know why this is happening and how we as a generation can do something about it.

I did not witness the broadcasting of last Friday’s events. I heard about it while eating steamed dumplings at a Chinese restaurant in Rome. Since then I have watched the events unfold via Facebook updates, online newspaper articles and Youtube. I light a candle every day for the families. I feel alone in how I’m observing it all and have a peculiar homesickness, needing to share these emotions with others from “home”.

So I decided to write this post instead, an attempt to reflect and connect.

When looking for relevant articles on gun control statistics, hope is stopped cold when reading this LA times article from July.

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/23/news/la-pn-crime-is-down-and-so-is-gun-ownership-20120722

With a decline in the percentage of Americans who own guns and the percentage who hunt, one might have expected support for gun control to go up. Instead, it has gone down. As polling analyst Mark Blumenthal recently showed, data from Gallup, the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post/ABC News polls all show the same trend of declining support since at least the early 1990s, except for a brief spike after the Columbine school shootings in Colorado.

I wish I had something eloquent and insightful to write. All I have are unanswered questions and profound sorrow for all involved and affected by what happened last Friday in Connecticut.

-How did has watching these crimes on TV shape our lives?

-Do we need a Senate commission on these crimes to better understand their origin?

-Why do you think these events continue to plague us?

-Where do we go from here?

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Comments
4 Responses to “And Still We Wait: A Generation of Guns”
  1. Adam says:

    I want to share an amazing short film called “A Perfect Day” about a potential mass shooter on the morning of, and an unsuspecting stranger who opens the shooter’s eyes to the implications of what he’s about to do. Powerful stuff!

  2. Kyle Clayton says:

    I hope where we go is the route of tighter gun control. I do believe in the right to bear arms… to a point. Hunting weapons and even personal protection like pistols I can understand, even if I am not comfortable with one in my home, but no civilian NEEDS an assault weapons or clips. If a person can’t feel safe with just a regular handgun then I think that person’s got an overcompensation problem, paranoia, or both. It’s true that someone could potentially use any random object to kill others if they desire, but why are we making it so easy to commit mass murders?? My heart aches for those affected by this event and it just seems to becoming more common 😦

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