I Hate Guns

I’m sick and tired of this shit.

Last summer, Matt and I went to visit Matt’s family in Tennessee. Matt’s parents have a small motorboat, and one morning we went on a motorboat ride on the waterway near their house. Matt and I sat in the back. I sat right behind Matt’s dad, so I couldn’t avoid looking the NRA baseball cap he was wearing.

Matt’s dad goes hunting. Matt’s brothers are into guns too. The night after we were out on the lake, one of his brothers and his wife came to the house to stay overnight, because we were all driving up to Dollywood the next morning. His brother walked into the house with his pistol strapped around his ankle. It made me uncomfortable, so I left the room and went upstairs to go to bed.

I don’t like being around guns. A gun is a foreign object to me. I didn’t grow up around guns. I never saw a gun unless it was on a police officer’s belt. As far as I’m concerned, there is no reason for anyone to own one. The idea of owning a gun or having a gun seems absolutely ridiculous to me.

And I do not accept the argument that I’m a suburban northeastern Jew and therefore I’m in the minority and I need to accept that in other parts of the country there is a widely accepted gun culture. I do not accept that. You who live in gun cultures, you are the outliers. The rest of the civilized world is not like you. In other developed countries it’s not normal for people to have guns, or to talk about guns like you talk about carburetors. You people who do that, you are the outliers.

I don’t understand this country. I don’t understand why people need semi-automatic weapons to go hunting. I don’t understand why people are so scared of what other people will do to them that they need to carry guns in their cars or strapped to their ankles. I don’t understand why people need to have guns to feel empowered.

There are nuts out there who think they need machine guns to protect themselves from the government. But they’re a tiny minority. What’s everyone else’s excuse for not wanting to ban those types of weapons?

I am sick and tired of seeing Brian Williams report on location from some American town. I’m sick and tired of the footage of people running out of a building, inevitably underscored by the sound of a helicopter, because the footage is always shot from a helicopter. I am especially sick and tired of that helicopter sound.

I’m sick of people talking about “politicizing a tragedy.” First of all, do you know what a tragedy is? It is not “something sad.” A tragedy is a story of a person who is compelled toward his fate by a deep, irreversible character flaw. In that sense, perhaps these stories are tragic, because we seem compelled to relive them again and again. It’s the character flaw in our country.

As for “politicizing”: are you kidding me? First, how else are we supposed to address problems in our society other than through politics? “Politicizing” is a dirty word only if you think politics is bad. Second, the NRA has donated millions of dollars to politicians so they’ll vote the way the NRA wants. If anyone has “politicized” this issue, it’s the NRA.

I’m sick and tired of this shit.