I know it may seem like I'm a little late to be writing about this, although I had originally planned to talk about it as soon as it happened it's taken me a while to get around to it. And if I'm honest, it's for selfish reasons. The first being that I was updating my site and got so distracted with it that time flew by, before I know my tinsel from my turkey it's already the new year and this seems like yesterday's news. The second reason - being the worst, and most shameful - I didn't want to stir up trouble. Having seen the surprising controversy surrounding what I see as a simple solution to a ridiculous problem, I didn't want to draw the attention of random opinion-toting activists to my site. Everyone is entitled to their own point of view, but seeing the high levels of what I can only honestly describe as stupidity surrounding this particular issue, I wanted to steer well clear.
Then this afternoon my boyfriend directed me to this article by Gary Smith on the final page of last month's Sports Illustrated. Not being a regular to that particular magazine, I wasn't sure what could possibly be in there that would spark my interest. The article speaks about Winthrop Basketball coach Pat Kelsey and his final comments at the end of game press conference highlighting not the game, but the devastating turn of events in Newtown, Conn, this winter.
I avoid the news. The means in which it is delivered is so often biased, inaccurate and overly heightened to evoke a response, and I feel manipulated every time I want to know what's happening in the world. So I just don't follow it, and to be honest I'm happier because of that. But there are some events you just can't ignore. The first I heard about the Newtown shooting was in the elevator of my building, from the nice elderly man who smells like talcum powder on the tenth floor. Not being able to chat about it long as we descended, I looked up the details when I got to work. And I, like the rest of the world, was horrified. But at the same time unsurprised, which I think is what sickens me most.
This was inevitable. The escalation of what people will do to each other and to themselves for fame, hatred and selfishness mixed with how much they can get away with these days is a deadly combination. And the worst part of all, save for those poor families who had their christmases as well as their loved ones torn from them for the rest of their lives, is that it will keep happening. Unless we all, like Pat Kelsey, become agents for change.
There's not much I can do sat here safely behind my computer. I've never really been one to shout out for a cause, my voice hardly seems important enough to listen to. But even if the minimum we all do is keep passing on the message that this isn't how we want the world to be, then that message will just get louder and stronger, until it is heard by the right people. I hate the idea of standing on a soapbox, telling people to act now to stop this or that. The truth is, horrible things will always happen. Someone will always ruin it for the rest of us. But if there's one small thing we can do to change laws, perceptions and decisions that could save even one more life, maybe that's something we should be saving space in our lives for.
My first standing in this is that quite frankly - and I'm sorry if I offend you, but seriously - gun laws need to be changed in the US. I don't really think there is such a thing as a right to own a gun. Some people are fighting for the right to marry the person they love or have access to a child they helped bring into this world. Those are human rights that I can understand fighting for, The right to own a device that was solely created to cause harm and destruction is not on my personal list of things we should prioritize.
There are obviously other factors that need consideration such as mental health, emotional intelligence, societal structure and countless more. And of course, there are counter arguments that I'm sure make some valid points. Like Pat says, I'm not smart enough to know what the answer is, and honestly I don't think there is one finite solution.
But until everyone knows the value of human life more than the value of a weapon, that would seem to me like a good starting point.
Thank you to the talented Kyle T. Webster and his heart-wrenching art for putting it so well
click the image to help stop gun violence in the US