This isn't uplifting, but it's what's on my mind.
We live in a violent country – a nation with a heart of darkness. A sickness flows – fear and anger and hate. We pray for Boston and Newtown and Aurora and Tucson. We wear symbols and post icons on Facebook. But we are a country that has been in one war or another for 216 of our 237 years. We shackled, whipped, terrorized, and killed slaves and Native Americans. We killed each other by the scores of thousands to end slavery. We nuked two cities to end WWII. We’ve slaughtered millions more from Southeast Asia to Central and South America to the Middle East, often for reasons so obscure hardly any American can accurately say why.
In our streets, we allow criminally insane and violent people to carry weapons of war – and we can’t even pass a pathetic background check. The NRA blocked gunpowder tracers that would help investigators solve shootings and bombings. They blocked limits on magazines. And, even though more than half of the mass shootings in the U.S. involve assault weapons, and though there is not one recorded case of an assault weapon being used in self-defense, they blocked a ban on assault weapons.
Our laws are so screwed up that overseas terrorists encourage followers to go to America to buy guns but parents of foreign students discourage their kids from coming here to earn their degrees.
More than 30,000 Americans are killed every year by guns. Another 70,000 are shot but survive. Guns are used in nearly 70% of all murders and more than half of all suicides. Yet the gun lovers love to say guns don’t kill people. Neither does heroin or cigarettes, by the same logic.
If you are an American, you should expect to be shot or that someone you love will be shot at some point in your life. You just have to hope you and your love ones survive the wounds.
I know. Many say love conquers hate and our humanity is at its best when we come together in times like these. But the point is we, far more than any other "civilized" society, are having to come together so often. We have these tragedies dozens of times every day across the country. If it's not a mass bombing or shooting, it's a domestic dispute or an accidental killing by a four-year-old who found his father's gun. And our leaders bow their heads and pray and shed tears, and do nothing.
We live in a violent country.