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OFA Gun Violence Rally 2-22-13
Eighteen is a big deal.  Our daughter turned 18 this week.  She is a really good kid.
She graduates in May.  The graduation is a big deal too but 18 is always the big deal.
She has a boyfriend and his car is down so Dad took she and the young man to the mall for her 18th Birthday.   She went pretty early since it is a school night.   They wanted to go to the Mall to see a movie and grab some burgers.   They decided not to celebrate this weekend but middle of the week.  

She threw her hair back in a ponytail as I watched her grab her shoes to get in the car as the little one and me settled down for some popcorn and me here on Daily Kos and she on Spongebob games.   My husband  went out to the money tree and grabbed 60 dollars tellling the tree we will pay it back on the 1st.   She could have gone to the local smaller movie in town but the Mall is the place to go celebrate 18.  It was only 10 miles further west up the road.
Kids walk around before a movie  talking dreams and college and thinking, " I finally made it".    I am almost a graduate.    She hugs Dad before being taken to the mall because with her boyfriend's car, it just looked like a night at home before we decided to get her out of the house for some celebration.  

Of course I got a call that they were running late but all was fine.  I had a depressed feeling but tried to shun it off.    When she came in at about 10 and my husband went straight to bed I asked, " How was the birthday".  She looked at me and said, " A man killed himself before we got there under the tree".   He got out of his car and shot himself in the head.   I sighed.   I asked if Dad was OK...and she said, " Yeah but we got lost coming backfrom carrying the boyfriend home.".  Well...that told me he was probably not all that OK and she didn't have her usual smile.  I kissed her on the forehead and went into the bedroom and he had laid down already.  
I slowly closed the door.  

No one will know the rage and hurt I felt because this country has just gone to the dark side period !!!!!.  There is little daylight in the dark side of this globe.  It took me two days to mention this incident on here.  I thought of much.  I thought of Michael Moore's pleas to the nation on MSNBC.  I thought of
how special an 18th birthday was.  I thought of the 69 year old who took out a gun at a mall and killed himself in small town USA and the age of the man.  I thought, " Knowing backlogs and the VA, I bet he is a vet.  I don't know because his name is not even mentioned in the paper.

I wondered how the yellow tape and talk affected my husband, and I thought of his few ventures of normalcy outside of his PTSD world was shaken when he ventured  out to show our daughter a memorable 18th birthday.   My mind shifted to our daughter.   It shifted to your daughters and sons.   I thought, what is wrong with this picture?  Why do we live in such fear?  Are we doomed to just stay at home and lock the doors and lock away this madness?   I thought of how every day is a battle with veterans, suicides, mental illness, fear and now our children being so involved in the madness, if not actual victims, then observers of aftermath.   I thanked the great Spirit that no others were killed at the mall but I know they were affected.  I wasn't even there and I was affected.  I don't want my child to get used to yellow tape and police cars gathering bullets.  I don't want your child to get used to seeing the blood and gore from madness from lack of mental health or overwhelming  poverty.

I would say snippet from the Chronicle but this was all the mention there was

Citrus County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the scene of an apparent suicide Wednesday morning at Crystal River Mall. According to sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Yates, a 69-year-old man pulled into the mall parking lot shortly before 11 a.m., parked near a large oak tree outside of the Belk department store, exited the vehicle, sat down under the tree and took his own life. He died from the self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Yates. Next of kin has been notified
I am angry.  I hear the President pleading on Saturday morning to do something.  I receive tweets with blood splatered  glasses from widows of deceased rock legends giving us stats of over a million people dead since Dec 1980 from gun violence.
I see legislators doing nothing to stop violence.  NOTHING.  Who is in charge here people?  WAKE UP !!!!!!  We have crazy kids shooting babies in the face.  We have veterans killing themselves at record numbers.   We have a mental health system practically non existent and big pharma pushing pills to make us forget.

We need some change.  We need to get behind the president big time on this gun legislation...and even further on changing the fear factor and get this country on the right track and throw the bums not doing their jobs out of office.  We need to rise up.  
We need a movement.

When you send your children or grandchildren to the movies or to celebrate an occasion, or to school or store,  pray you see them return.  Hope they return home safely because odds are, they won't return the same as they left.   If they return, they come back a little more shaken, a lot more cautious, and less innocent.  This violence has become a way of life and it needs to stop.  
The words I struggled to say to her last evening.
Happy Birthday Beth... I am sorry the blood spattered pavement and yellow ropes will be what you remember about turning 18.  I am sorry that madness has become the norm.  I am sorry you and Dad were preoccupied after the mall incident and got your boyfriend home a little later than planned.  I am sorry Dad is not feeling well today or yesterday because someone decided to die in public with a gun.  I am sorry.
I am sorry I can't protect you from the gun crazed world we live in.   I hope when you go on Spring break, you come back home to us this week.  
  We need to get guns out of the wrong hands.
  All guns.  Of course, the question is, who decides?   I am for the second amendment but not all people should have guns.
Gun ownership requires much more responsibility and mental fortitude than americans for the most part seem to have.
I am sorry the paper did not even mention the victim's name.

I am beginning to be sorry we are living in America.

Originally posted to Vetwife on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 08:46 AM PDT.

Also republished by VAGV - Veterans Against Gun Violence, Shut Down the NRA, and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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