I was really happy to hear about a new organization that was founded right after the Newtown shootings: Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Reading about them gives me hope, for the first time, that maybe the tide could start to turn a little. Just think about how effective Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been in working against teenage DWI deaths! Also, when I think about those women marching up to Capitol Hill, some of them pushing strollers, some of them breastfeeding babies, I can’t help but get an image in my head of my mother when she had reached her limit with us when we were little. When Mama had had enough, you knew it. And often, she didn’t even have to say a word: her face was enough to inspire us to modify our actions according to her wishes.
The whole debate about gun control seems so ridiculous to me that I find it hard even to consider it worth debating. When I hear people talk about the “right to bear arms,” which I wish to heaven had never been added to the Constitution, and I see people get all high-and-mighty about how that right is sacrosanct in this country, I can’t help but think there have been plenty of other “rights” that got written into our laws that then, over time, needed to be written out–either at the state level or all the way up to the Constitution. Like, for instance, the right of white people to dominate black people or the right of only white men to vote or the right of our government to take away land from the Indians. It’s good to remember that all of those so-called “rights” were written by human beings in the first place–and had to be unwritten by human beings.
Then there is the argument that people have the right to have guns in their houses so that they can defend themselves against intruders or aliens or whatever. What about that district attorney in Texas? His gun really came in handy, didn’t it? He was running to try to get it when the intruder into his home shot him in the back! If a crazy person armed with a gun is coming after you, counting on catching you by surprise, in order to murder you, apparently you don’t always have time to find and draw your own weapon. I think about that poor man when I hear the ridiculous proposals to arm our teachers, and I wonder what he would think about that.
For way too long in this country, we have worried way too much about the rights of white men (according to the statistics for 2011, the largest group of gun owners are white men, ages 50-64, with a high school education or less). It’s time to fight for the rights of other people, especially the ones who can’t fight for themselves, our children. It makes good sense that the mothers of this country, most of whom don’t have time to take on this battle, are now taking it on. They would have stayed away if they could! I can almost hear my mother saying it, “Don’t make me come in there!”
Let’s join them in this battle for gun control. Here is their website: http://momsdemandaction.org/.
Wolfgang Borchert, a wonderful writer who had the unfortunate bad luck of growing up in Germany during World War II and getting conscripted into the Wehrmacht, wrote an incredible collection of stories and poems called (in translation) The Man Outside,which includes the powerful poem “Say NO.” It is an anti-war poem, but its underlying message works also here for the fight against guns in this country.
Check out this stanza:
You. Mother in Normandy and mother in the Ukraine, you, mother in Frisco and London, you, on the banks of the Huang Ho and the Mississippi, you, mother in Nepal and Hamburg and Cairo and Oslo – mothers in all regions on earth, mothers all over the world, if they order you tomorrow to bear children – nurses for military hospitals and new soldiers for new battles, mothers all over the world, then there’s only one thing to do: Say NO! Mothers, say NO!