And some of us say, “How can this be?” “This” being nineteen grade-schoolers and two teachers massacred in their classroom even before the victims of the prior week’s massacre are all buried.
Others, like the Governor of Texas, under whose jurisdiction the killings happened, assure us, first, it wasn’t their fault. Second, any attempt to constrain the availability of the weapon of choice for these massacres is, in fact, the real danger.
Just like the time before, and the time before that, and the time before that, we are divided. A large majority of the citizens of our democracy demand that their government do something. A minority—significant because their hands control the levers of power—produce a litany of time-tested falsehoods, distractions, and obfuscations which, after an appropriate passage of time, leave our feckless government exhausted and impotent.
The Governor of Texas gave an eloquent, heart rending point by point recitation of what it means for these children to have lost their lives. And then he said, “Evil swept across Uvalde yesterday.” True enough as far as it goes. The word “evil” absolutely describes the act of storming a grade school classroom and butchering every child and teacher in sight.
But description is not the deed, though the Governor and so many others would have us believe they are the same. Their “evil” is some sinister thing all its own, with the mind, intention, and means to kill a room full of children. Why it was so frightfully easy, or how we could make it harder next time, simply floats out there somewhere, ignored.
Guns don’t kill people, Evil does. Or the Devil, if you’re keeping score. But you can’t fight the Devil with gun laws, or any laws for that matter. He’s apart from all that.
We do have “thoughts and prayers,” to maybe get our hands around the Devil’s throat, but hamstrung in their inability to effect any real action by any real government. And too bad the phrase is now the epitome of triteness, piled atop so many innocent corpses. One does need to ask if the purpose of these prayers is to ask God to change the world, or simply for Him to make the supplicant feel better, and look better in the eyes of the world.
The Governor of Texas, and all the other villains, certainly aren’t interested in changing the world.
Meanwhile, the grade-schoolers who will be massacred in their classroom ten years from now aren’t yet born. The gun, if the latest examples hold true, has not yet been manufactured. The ad campaign, which will put the idea in the head of the killer, and the weapon in his hands, hasn’t been dreamed up yet. The bullets, which will tear the little bodies apart, are still minerals somewhere in the ground.
It’s all such a shame.
Erich Obermayr is an author, community activist, and career archaeologist specializing in sharing historical and archaeological research with the public. He writes about Nevada politics and social issues. He lives in Silver City, Nevada, with his wife. Support Erich’s work in the Sierra Nevada Ally here.
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