Please don't tell me to not get emotional about this. Let me tell you why.
I was in sixth grade when Columbine happened. It was scary, because they talked about how those two kids played Doom, and I played Doom, and Duke Nukem and I loved those games. Did that mean I would end up like them?
When Virginia Tech happened, I was in university in Texas. I wondered, how well would my school be equipped to stop something like this? What would we do?
Sandy Hook bothers me because my older brother and his wife just brought my niece, the first kid between my brothers and I, into this world. She was only born on November 18, 2012, but when you have a young kid in the family and you see young kids murdered, it has a whole different feeling.
But let me tell you about Aurora.
Let me tell you about how I panicked when I first heard about it, but thought, Nah, it won't be near him, he lives in a good town.
Then I heard it was at The Dark Knight Rises midnight showing. I started to worry; I knew he would be going, we just talked about it two days before.
When I heard it was Aurora, I started crying hysterically. Because a close friend of mine (and ex boyfriend), John [not his real name], lives in Aurora and told me he was going to that midnight showing.
I called all of our mutual friends in Colorado, nobody could reach him. I live in Ohio, so there was little I could do but panic. I kept calling our mutual friends, texting people, begging someone to go to his house if they had to in order to find him.
Late that afternoon, John called me. He was fine. He went to a midnight showing of the movie, but he went to a different theater in Denver with a group of friends because it was a nicer theater than the one in Aurora. The one he always goes to.
The one we went to when I visited him to see The Book of Eli.
So when you tell me to stop being emotional while discussing these massacres, these shooting rampages and gun control and mental health and all the other shit we need to do to tackle this problem, I think of John. And I think of how for the second time in his life, he barely escaped dying at the hands of gun violence.
Because John isn't white. And he's not from Colorado. He's actually from Jamaica Queens, NYC, where he grew up. And when he was 15, sitting on the stoop with a friend (because, as he explained to me, this is what you do when you live in New York), his friend waved at another friend they saw walking down the street. Somebody else saw his friend wave, and thought he was throwing a rival gang sign. So he opened fire on John and his friend. John saw it first, so he grabbed his friend around the head/shoulders and tried to duck down. John was shot through the arm. The bullet then went into his friend's head and killed him. This was the catalyst that had John's mom move the family to Colorado.
My goal is not to just stop the Virgina Techs and the Sandy Hooks and the Auroras. My goal is also to stop John's friend from dying over nothing.
So nope, I can't take the emotion out of it. Because the emotion is the reason I want to do something. I want to protect the things I love. And no, I'm not sorry gun lobby/NRA/RKBA/whoever else takes offense. I am coming for your guns.
And you can't make me feel bad about it.