The NRA has made the anniversary of Newtown “Guns Save Lives Day,” with the same amount of tact and sensitivity as the Westboro Baptist Church.

newtownI dropped my children off in front of their elementary school last December 14th, taking notice of two security guards in bright red jackets. “You’re bringing in the big guns,” I said at the time to Mrs. C, the school aid whose job it was in the morning was to make sure parents pulled their minivans all the way through the circular driveway of the school so that traffic didn’t build up in the road. Parents rarely acknowledged her; mostly they slowed their cars to a grinding halt wherever they found it convenient, long enough for their Aidens and Isabellas to jump out in front of the crosswalk and run into the school. The sound of Mrs. C. yelling at the parents and chastising the children not to run was the music of our mornings. But that day, she had backup.

It wouldn’t be until later that afternoon when I would realize how prescient and ironic my “big guns” comment was. By then, twenty children in Sandy Hook elementary would be mowed down by rifle fire.

But my own kindergarten and second graders would be safe.

It is now a full year later. A year where we saw the opportunity for gun legislation reform squandered; a year in which we saw more mass homicides at the hands of gunmen; a year where we witnessed the NRA taking control of the national conversation and steering it away from the protection of children, inviting hysteria not to the fact that we have twenty-times more gun deaths in the United States than any other developed country in the world, but fear that President Obama is trying to usurp our second amendment rights. The NRA has made the anniversary of Newtown “Guns Save Lives Day,” with the same amount of tact and sensitivity as the Westboro Baptist Church.

With the exception of those we laid to rest since last December, we are  a year older now. My daughter, who was five last year, is now the same age as the children buried by devastated parents, while a sorrowful nation watched, holding a bit tighter to our own kids. We opined this year, in editorials and blogs. Mommies marched in Washington, politicians made great speeches. Governor Cuomo passed legislation restricting the amount of bullets a magazine could hold to seven, but later rescinded, as it proved impractical.

A national registry was never born, as it infringed on the rights of gun owners. In a year where NSA revelations showed us that nothing we say, text, or type is entitled to privacy, gun owners retained theirs.  In a year when we vowed to leave no stone unturned in an effort to make this country a safe place for children to go school and for parents to drop their little ones off without their hearts in their throats, we saw roughly 33,273 gun deaths.

In a country that has only grown in gun violence, politicians steer clear of any language suggesting that gun confiscation could have any relevance to the national conversation. We can argue about the reasons why gun culture is so pervasive in the US – whether video games inspire violence or whether violence in our movies, games, and art is simply a reflection of the reality of our lives; whether near-constant war inspires a battle-mentality on the home front; or whether our laws are too little or too weakly enforced  – but what remains is that we have become so desensitized to gun violence that we buried twenty 6 year olds without making one significant change.  The NRA and their supporters have only grown stauncher, more inspired, and more audacious.

Policy- and lawmakers don’t want to rock the boat by asking for an infringement on second amendment rights. And while we waste more time trying to fit the outdated usefulness and rhetoric of that amendment, people die. While gun supporters terrorize their audience into believing that only bullets will protect them from both criminals breaking into their homes and into the executive office, we stand on the sidelines and watch how the Tea Party has co-opted the Republican Party and steered our government to a grinding halt. We have seen districts get redrawn; voters become alienated from the voting process, and trust in democracy diminishes. We’ve already experienced a government takeover. And guns didn’t protect us.

This afternoon, Colorado witnesses yet another school shooting.

It seems to me that the time for tact has vanished along with the wasted time for opportunity. The boat cannot be unrocked.

The masses are the big guns of a democracy. It’s time to bring them out – and to say: We’ve had enough.

Author: Jaime Franchi

Jaime Franchi is a freelance writer living on Long Island. Her work can be found on Salon.com, Milieu Magazine, Punchnel's and the New York Times. www.JaimeFranchi.com

1 thought on “Enough.”

  1. The only palpable response to Newtown was the mad dash to possess ever more guns.

    Note the following excerpts from a back&forth I had on FB a couple of weeks ago:

    “The core issue is that American preoccupation with guns is out of control and results in more deaths than self-defense. Even the defense component is a delusion; witness the shooting death of the most prolific sniper in U.S. military history while he was holding a gun at a gun range. As the gunsters hold the debate and lack of laws hostage, this country cries out, more than anything, for gun-mania control.

    “Gun nuts is a more common and, frankly, apropos moniker, but is, indeed, more insulting. Gun enthusiasts is less offensive to feigned sensitivities, but also consumes more space and time and is far too feminized, so gunsters it is…. Clearly gunsters, armed to the teeth, seem to believe or have us believe that gun control is coming to get them. Fans are flamed, passions stoked with the far-fetched fiction that the hundreds of millions of guns festooning every nook and cranny in this great country of ours will somehow be vacuumed up by government drones on our way to the second coming of the Third Reich if the “well-regulated” stipulation of the 2nd Amendment is invoked. Let’s not lose sight of the zero tolerance in the gun-enthused world for even a hint of debate. Witness the instant dispatch of Guns & Ammo columnist and editor triggered by running the article, “Let’s Talk About Limits: Do certain firearms regulations really constitute infringement?”

    And, yes, the Pew poll that has Americans back at “pre-Newtown levels,” i.e. close to evenly divided demonstrates the degree to which gunsters have both neutralized opposition and set their position in stone as de facto law of the land…. And, finally, when I wrote of “the country crying out” it was in the spirit of the “Elk River in West Virginia crying our to be cleansed of the toxic chemical spill which has poisoned it.”

    And so the primal scream that is the gunster dominated debate reverberates. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy will retreat from her 16yrs fray as a citizen legislator having seen rampage upon ever more outrageous rampage pile bodies atop the grave of her husband.

    The only recourse for sensible folks is to whistle as they go by the graveyard and pray that their loved ones dodge the bullet in this gun-obsessed country.

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