Two years ago, 17 people were shot dead at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida by a man who shouldn’t have a weapon. When a friend reminded me of this “anniversary” two weeks ago, I asked him if he thought it was a suitable word for this occasion. “I didn’t think about that,” he said.
The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that our weapon violence problem is also a linguistic problem – euphemisms, distortions and wrong directions. But it turns out that Parkland students tackle this problem in their unique way.
My anniversary is July 7, the day my wife Ann Marie and I were married. It was one of the happiest days of my life. She was pregnant with Galen, who was born on September 27, 1974, which is another happiest day. Eighteen years later, on December 14, 1992, Galen was killed in a school shooting. I have always felt brazen to associate this event with “remembrance”.
It gets worse. Our son was not “taken”, he says, as a common language. He was shot and killed by a man who shouldn’t have a weapon. Sometimes people tell me how tragic it was to be sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is meant to be a consolation, but it doesn’t help me. It was Galen’s murderer who was the wrong place – in every sense.
But is this even what people mean? Doesn’t error mean “wrong”? Galen’s entire life brought him to this deadly last-minute place. Did people indicate that he had lived it by mistake?
He was never galloped in the “wrong place”. He was killed, and not “lost”, any other way to hide this hideous circumstance. Who will, as people sometimes do goodwill, issue a “catalyst warning” for survivors of armed violence? Or would you advise me to give “my best shot” in telling Galen’s story? Or even ask me if I was willing to “participate”? I am always happy to help, but this kind attitude gives me pause. If someone puts a bowl of vomit in front of you, is this considered “sharing”?
What about the textual way in which the media portrayed mass shooting? A copy of the 911 call, the Humvees who stole witnesses hugging and crying, ambulances rolling, candles lit in the “memorials”. We never see a body. We never see what a round of ammunition. 223 can do for a person. It has been completely sterilized. When I hear a member of Congress calling for a “moment of silence,” I hear him say, “I don’t want to talk about this.”
We respond to armed violence in this way because the thing we’re talking about is so ugly that we need to normalize it. Our word choices hide the true nature of armed violence in an attempt to make it disappear. This is exactly the problem.
One hundred people die from coronavirus and the world scares. One hundred people are killed with firearms every day In America this will work as usual. The hideous truth is that gun violence can occur anywhere weapons are found, and artillery is everywhere: there are nearly 400 million Civilian-owned guns in this country, and will not stay away.
Perhaps if we acknowledge this fact, if we find ways to tackle the situation as it really is, then we will be closer to solving the only problem that the Second Amendment of Gunners and Gun Hijackers could agree: how do we keep weapons out of the hands of people they shouldn’t have?
And another thing. It is sad to see and hear, again and again, stories told by parents who have killed their children, and children whose colleagues have been slaughtered before their eyes. After a while, we get burned in these stories. Stop inspiring us to work; it makes us want to turn the channel around.
This is what motivates me for what these Parkland survivors have done. They definitely “share” their stories. But they also use their intelligence and teenage teens to take advantage of those stories, to “arm” them. They reject the novel away from the old ideological rigidity and focus on an ethical question: What kind of society allows such unrestricted access to slaughtering tools?
In the March March for Our Life in Washington in 2018, they hung bright orange price tags on their shirts with the numbers $ 1.05. This is the amount that they say the National Rifle Association spends to support campaigns by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida divided by the number of students in the state.
When one of the students, David Hough, made the move, he said: “I will start by setting this price here to remind you guys of the amount that Marco Rubio gave to each student’s life in Florida: one dollar and five cents.” Parkland survivors communicate with us more effectively Because they found ways to talk about their situation directly and amazingly.