Truly sick as a nation

14 Dec. 2015 cover of the New Yorker, by Eric Drooker.

Is there anything left to say about America’s self-destructive passion for firearms?

A reader’s comment in the Atlantic, which I feel like echoing today:

Most of the people I know who have guns keep them safely secured and most are not paranoid. Some of them even mock those who can’t leave the house without a gun on their hip. The full-blown and paranoid gun nut is also a very sophisticated engineer who had lived in urban, suburban, and rural areas at different times in his life. He’s a libertarian more than anything else. So, I’m always careful to recognize that things aren’t as simple as a rural/urban divide.

Yet I think we have crossed a line into utter madness. When it comes down to the daily barrage of mass murder, what I believe is that we have turned our country over to terrorists of every religious stripe and no religion at all. The latest murderers may very well have been inspired by ISIS. But last week’s murderer in Colorado Springs was clearly inspired by the violent rhetoric of the Christianist far right, including the rhetoric of some of the Republican candidates for president.

Adam Lanza and the Oregon shooter and James Holmes may just have been inspired by the demons in their heads, but all of them were able to do what they did because of easy access to legal and illegal weapons. When we live in a country where people on terrorist watch lists and clearly paranoid individuals can buy whatever weaponry they want and the entire right wing of the United States refuses to even consider some basic limitations, I truly fear for what we have become as a nation.

We have given in to the paranoids and the terrorists who kill every single day. We are truly sick as a nation. I wish I saw a way out, but I simply don’t see it any longer. I have no doubt that the people who wrote the Second Amendment are turning over in their graves.

(Source)

This cannot go on any longer. I am full of rage at the cowardly politicians who are so easily bullied by the NRA and so unwilling to listen to the majority of Americans who want some actual gun control laws to be enacted in this country.

Oh, still peeved

A minor incident from my youth, which should have been taken as a strong sign that I was destined to become a copy editor:

I was 16, and I was taking a composition class at the local community college for college credit. My teacher was a young-ish, brown-haired woman with a pleasant disposition, which is all I can remember about her, save for this one moment.

We had been assigned to write a dramatic retelling of a childhood memory. I wrote a heavy-handed, theatrical essay about the girls-only club I started in fourth or fifth grade and about the club’s tragic demise when I, the self-appointed president, stumbled upon my minions meeting in secret to make a unanimous decision to dethrone me. (I was, after all, a pigtailed tyrant.)

After the papers had been graded, the instructor called me to her desk at the end of the session. “This was excellent,” she said, “you got the highest grade in the class.” I beamed. “But I had to take off a point for a spelling error,” she said, raising her eyebrows and flipping to the offending page. I was astonished and crestfallen. “There,” she said, pointing to a sentence in a concluding paragraph. “You wrote, ‘O, the cruel injustice of mutiny!’ but it should be ‘Oh,’ with an H.” I blinked and nodded and took my paper.

But as soon as I got in the car, I raged audibly. Oh, with an H? Had this plebian never read any ode, any poem, any ancient drama?? Clearly, she didn’t get  it; clearly, she had never read literature. My fury knew no bounds.

The fact that this story is still vivid to me today, some 11 years later, is damning. O, the tyranny of the perfectionist child. O, the lack of grace for the classically uninformed. O, the inability to let the most minute things go.