There has already been millions of words written about the massacre in Newtown, CT, but now that I have liberated my nose from my various medical textbooks, its my turn.
Let me start by saying that this is a tragedy that has left me devastated and numb. I don’t know any of the victims, I don’t have children of my own, and I’m generally a self-absorbed bitch, but this hit me hard.
I also want to say that I could not agree more with President Obama that something needs to change. This is not right, and people shouldn’t just shrug their shoulders and say “there’s nothing we can do…” Because even if that’s true (which I can’t imagine it is), it doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t try.
What I’m conflicted on is what, exactly, needs to change.
The easy answer, of course, is guns. There are too many, they are needlessly overpowered, and they are too easy to get. But – not to sound like a backwoods, militia, NRA member – the guns, themselves, are not the problem. It’s the culture behind them that is the problem. The culture of people who have backwoods militias and lobbyist groups like the National Rifle Association crying that the only answer is “MORE GUNS”.
Don’t get me wrong, Canadians love their guns too.
To hunt with.
There was a story that came out of Calgary this past summer that, I think so perfectly demonstrates the differences in mentality between Canadians and Americans:
A man and his wife from Kalamazoo, MI were in town for the Calgary Stampede. They were walking through a park in an upscale area of town when they were approached by 2 young men asking if they had been to the Stampede yet. The man wrote a letter to a Calgary newspaper lamenting the fact that, as a tourist, he was unable to bring his gun with him into Canada, and that he felt threatened by the dangerous encounter with the 2 ruffians.
The 2 young men were promoters handing out passes to the Stampede. But this man didn’t even give them the chance to explain, his automatic assumption was that these men meant him harm, and his first instinct was to reach for his gun.
But I don’t think that the gun-culture is the only problem. There also seems to be an overwhelming need to be “famous”. It’s no longer good enough to just live your life and be happy, now people need to be remembered.
To make their mark.
You see it everyday on reality shows – one person does something crazy and outrageous, so now anything less than that will render you insignificant. If you want to be the one everyone is talking about the next day, you have to do something MORE crazy, and MORE outrageous.
Phil and I were watching The Price is Right the other day, and Phil said to me, “Is it just me, or are the people on this show getting stupider and more annoying?” And its not just him, the people are getting stupider and more annoying. Because they need to outdo the stupid and annoying thing that someone else just did.
Or else they won’t be remembered and their lives will have been for nothing.
I guess it’s the same when your sad and depressed and feel your life has no meaning. It’s not enough to commit suicide and leave a note saying how everyone did you wrong; now you have to take a gun to work and shoot your boss.
But wait, that’s been done to death, so you go to a University or a high school or a playground and take as many innocent souls with you as you can.
Because, then they’ll remember you.
Where will it end?
I know it probably sounds like I am sitting up here in America’s hat, looking down on the States from my high-moose, and casting a wide net of judgement. And, ok, maybe I am a bit – but I know that Canada is far from perfect. We have our issues, I mean 30 million dollars worth of maple syrup was stolen from our national reserve in Quebec!
That is a crime that is, surely, uniquely Canadian.
There are definite and specific differences between my country and the US, and it will take greater minds than mine to figure out why. We have access to the same movies, the same violent video games, and the same outrageous reality shows. We get sad and depressed and hate our lives from time to time, and we can have guns if we want to too. We are so close to the US geographically, and yet our ideologies could not be farther apart.
I’m sorry if it sounds like I am painting every American with the same judgey brush; that is not my intent. I am blessed to have amazing friends from the States that are wonderful people, and whom I strive to be like everyday. Unfortunately, those people tend to be more quiet and subdued in their convictions, while the crazy-Yosemite Sam-worshipping motherfuckers are so much louder and insistent and have this insatiable need to always get their way.
Those are the fuckers that want teachers to carry guns and believe that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
I believe that the majority of Americans want change, that they are sick and tired of seeing innocent people get shot up, and I believe that change is possible. But if Obama really wants that change to happen, the first thing he needs to do is talk louder than those fuckers.
That’s all I got. What do you think needs to change?