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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Guns part II

Grief

We get jaded by all the news that flies in our faces. Revolution in Iran and a young girl dies in front of us on YouTube. Another shooting in the ‘hood and a young man lies dead or is the shooter. Gun violence breaks out in a poor urban neighborhood and a child is killed in the crossfire. But this is personal. This is real. This is one of my kids. And now he is no longer here. How can this be?

I vacillate between disbelief, sorrow, and anger. My anger is the most productive emotion. I can try to channel my grief into an outpouring of anger that can be directed towards some cause. I have proclaimed that I am dedicating myself to the cause of changing the acceptance of the gun culture. I could adopt the cause of rallying against gun violence, but that is redundant. Guns can only be violent since that is their purpose. “Gun violence” is just a politically correct way of saying get rid of guns, as if to say “I accede to the right to bear arms, but am against the violence.” Bullshit. The attractiveness and appeal of guns has got to go.

Glorifying guns as an urban accessory is what I am against. I was in a park this evening and a little kid was climbing on the slides and jungle gym. He pulled out a gun – a toy one. It looked somewhat real. He brandished it with bravado. That is the gun culture we have to change. That is the glorification of guns that makes them irresistible to kids, teens, and young adults who feel the need to possess them and even use them. This little kid saw “play” in having a toy gun to pull on me. He showed me his swag’a. Who would buy a toy gun for a child? My mom did. She had a very cute picture of me as a little kid with a holster around my waist and my six-guns pulled. I had a cowboy hat on too. Bam-blam-whooosh. I got you and then I blow the smoke from the barrel of my gun. This is no longer acceptable behavior by adults to model for kids.

This is the face I won’t be seeing any more. He died because we couldn’t help him say no to guns.


Instead, we model to our children and to each other that guns are a necessity to protect our selves, our turf, our respect, and our property, even if we are under no real threat of attack. We model that guns are exciting and scintillating bringing an aura of danger to the situation. Damn right they’re dangerous. How is that exciting or appealing? We model that guns are an urban accessory, whether you are a sports figure, a movie star, a rapper, or a pimp – you need a gun. If you don’t carry it, you have someone carry it for you in the form of a security detail. Yeah, don’t mess with me, cuz I got heat. It’s cool and a sign of status if you are holding or are near large caliber weapons. We fail our kids every time those images are reinforced, because it says to them – guns are cool and necessary.

3 comments:

Sandy Price said...

my friend lucia determined to raise her two boys without toy guns or influences of violence of any sort. one would think this would be easier to do in the white upper class neighborhood where she lives. but from a very young age, despite her concerted effort to change the language of male childhood - her boys took up aggressive games, created weapons of one sort or another and generally escaped her intentions. she claims she censured the television, the literature, the toys that entered the house. but i guess it is all around us. somehow they picked it up in the air, at school, on the playground. i don't know... this is going to be a difficult task...

Jim West III said...

I think boys have a natural sense of fighting. Girls grow up in similar environments, but choose entirely different play outlets, whereas boys want to be warriors. It's not that they hurt anyone, it's just the instinct. And it holds over into adults. Look at all the adults playing video games. It's the same thing...and it's not bad. Whats bad is when they don't know where to draw the line, or when you think its more than fun or a game.

Do you see me? said...

I don't expect to stop violence. I want to change the glamor of this singular item - a gun - so that it is not revered, but instead taken for what it is. I don't expect to stop violence or fighting or aggression. I just saw the child of a friend of mine who is on FB post a quiz he took - "what kind of gun am I" That is what has to stop. Thanks for your comments Sandy and Jim