No, it is the guns

As most of America is still reeling from one mass murder and bracing for yet another, I find myself wanting to do little else than scream in outrage to not think at all about the epidemic of gun violence that dominates our lives. Not thinking is winning, mostly. After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School on that crystal clear December 14th morning in 2012 I felt certain that change would come about, that we did not want to be a country where children would be valued less than profit gains for weapon’s manufactures, but as failed law after failed law dissolved into shameful inaction, part of my belief broke. Government has failed to fix this problem here in this United States of America. Thanks to the NRA and their fully weaponized lobby, much policy is run on greed by the ultra-rich who foster illusions for those they disregard. But this is old news. There is no new shaming news left for our Republican Senators to shine on us: we know them by their own voting history which has earned them high NRA ratings and burgeoning cash rewards. But there is always a new twist on who or what to blame coming from their media spots and I am sickened by the garbage they spread.


At the N.R.A. Convention last May, only a moment after the horrendous murders at Uvalde, Texas, “They blamed the atrocities on factors that had nothing to do with firearms — the breakdown of the American family, untreated mental illness, bullying on social media, violent video games and the inexplicable existence of “evil”(Thrush). Seriously, are they attacking single mothers, again? And at a time when these same senators are dictating motherhood? I will not ask where is their bottom, because every time I do, they go lower.

Guns in the hands of extremists is a staggering issue now adding to the overwhelming amount of guns. “Americans are in an arms race with themselves,” said Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents South Los Angeles, where the surge in gun violence has been particularly sharp, on the City Council. “There was just as much a run on guns as on toilet paper in the beginning of the pandemic” (Tavernise).

Gun sales are up everywhere. “In Philadelphia over the past two years, as all around the country, the pace of legal gun sales surged, roughly doubling during the pandemic years. The number of firearm licenses issued in the city jumped to more than 52,000 in 2021, from around 7,400 in 2020. None of these figures include the apparently flourishing market in illegal guns. Over the past two years, reports of stolen guns have spiked, major gun-trafficking pipelines have been uncovered and, according to the police, many more guns have been found that were illegally converted into fully automatic weapons” (Robertson). Staggering to fathom.

Since the 1999 Columbine murders we have raised a generation afflicted with increased anxiety about their safety. Students file into my classroom and will only sit where they can see the door, see the exit. Many don’t want their back to the window either. They are trying to accept our ineptitude to make any progress but at what price? They vacate their minds by scrolling through TikTok for hours of their day. They hid in bathroom stalls instead of conversing in a classroom. They vape despite the documented consequences.

And when one writes a gun threat on the bathroom wall and the whole school goes into lockdown, what is it that they feel? Police walk the halls while we shelter in place. Students share their crippling fear on the daily. Teachers too. We are adrift in this violent sea, any control beyond our reach, with no discourse possible. Politics have silenced us, numbed us, and allowed for real suffering to infiltrate our psyche.

I bring in green plants, sweet treats, some semblance of life and kindness into my classroom to combat the callous treatment of the elected officials that make up our congress. Forget political party, they are all culpable to this national crisis. I guess we all are. Meme’s aside, what are we Americans willing to do to let our children feel an ounce of hope? I see thousands of people holding candles and marching with signs on my TV, but I wonder as I drive up the hill each morning to enter a school building, are there any civilians willing to give up their military weapons? To lay down what they claim is their right to hold? I think not. And I’m not praying about it.

10 thoughts on “No, it is the guns

  1. Thank you for caring. Thank you for writing. Thank you for voting. Thank you for bringing signs of hope and life into our lives and the lives of your students.
    We must persist in the face of evil.
    “It always seems impossible until it is done.” Nelson Mandela

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well done. Moira! As recently as two weeks ago my twelve-year-old granddaughter endured a racial epithet and swastika painted on her Vermont school locker – 6th grade. It’s not hard to imagine from where those brilliant ideas originated

    Liked by 1 person

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