I write this blog in the wake of Saturday’s senseless and surreal shooting at Merrick Park, which left three people dead, including the shooter Abek Wilson.
Coral Gables is a peaceful community and the Romanesque Merrick Park is a symbol of its commitment to the good life.
As much as I love being a Democrat, and vote that way in most elections, I am foremost a humanitarian, secondly a believer in the collective joy of living, and alongside that a husband, father, child and on good days, half sensible.
Moreover, I am a Miamian who believes this ever-growing oasis of tropical pleasures should manifest itself in an even greater degree of kindness and appreciation.
We pride ourselves on staying active and helping others try to get the most of their lives.
But this ideal doesn’t happen when angry people start carrying guns.
Three lives in the prime of life lost because a young man decided the best way to deal with a frustrating professional curve ball and what I assume was some pent up anger, was to grab his gun and make sure pulling the trigger did what it was designed to do.
Three wasted lives because of a homicidal impulse.
Gun stories don’t have happy endings. You don’t hear of stories that go something like “Bob was angry so he grabbed his gun, dipped it in paint and decided to create a beautiful mural out of it.” Or “Fred saw a young boy fall into the river but Fred wasn’t a good swimmer so he ran to his car, grabbed his gun and shot it into the air which roused a beautiful little mermaid from her slumber to save the drowning boy.”
Nope. Guns are used to kill people. Yesterday was no exception.
I could go on and on about the absurdity of it all. In fact, vote Republican all you want, but please don’t base your preference on anything related to protection of the 2nd amendment. The right to provide for a well-armed militia made sense during the American Revolution, but chances are the biggest invader of our peaceful communities today are Starbucks and Chase Banks. From a national security standpoint, we are surrounded by oceans to the east and west, and allies to the north and south. Last time I checked, aliens were still the province of the movies.
My suggestion is to speak to your representatives and tell them you absolutely don’t give a crap how much money the NRA pours into your campaign, nor how sacred you think the constitution is when it allows anyone who has played a few too many games of Call of Duty or revels in watching the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan, or just anyone with a little too much testosterone to carry a firearm. In fact, tell them to show some real self-defense by speaking up on what is right.
I’m not buying the argument “that it’s not guns that kill people, it’s people who kill people.” That’s like saying it wasn’t the Atom Bomb which decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was the men flying the Enola Gay.
That kind of logic is demented.
During the Republican primary, Marco Rubio, actually all the GOP candidates with the exception of the half-sensible Jeb Bush, bragged about their gun ownership, as if it was some form of Republican nominee rite of passage. Something to the effect of, “Well I’m not really big on serving the greater good, but I do know how to load a weapon.”
Owning a gun is nothing to be proud of. At least not in my eyes. If you want to brag, talk about how many nice pieces of art or classic books you own. Brag about how you believe in civil disobedience and non-violent reactions to aggressive behavior. Even brag about your families.
Speaking of which, Marco Rubio has four kids. Trump has five. It’s almost rhetorical of me to ask how they would have felt if those victims were his own children.
The irony is that many of these same gun toting advocates call themselves “pro-life”. What hypocrisy. If you’re pro-life then the safety and sanctity of the born has to match that of the unborn. And don’t try to rationalize being pro-life with pro death penalty and pro war.
Really, this incident took place on a relatively small scale and is quite the aberration for peaceful Miami. But for a perspective, lets look at Japan, a country we almost entirely eviscerated into one big mushroom cloud, and is surrounded by two of the more hostile and well-armed nations in the world, North Korea and China.
According to a September 2016 article in USA today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/09/22/study-guns-owners-violence/90858752/, there are approximately 265 million guns owned in the U.S., which is more than one per every adult. In fact, half of those guns are owned by just 3 percent of the population.
Do with those statistic as you see fit, but my simple reaction is that if you are really gung-ho about shooting your guns, join the military or move to the Middle East to enter the fight against ISIS.
Then you can pretend you are in The Matrix.