(The Daily Rumpus) Shooting Is Not a Game

1 maand 30 dagen geleden


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In May of 2000, two months before my seventeenth birthday, my mom and I attended the Million Mom March on Mother’s Day in Washington, DC. We stood wit

   

In May of 2000, two months before my seventeenth birthday, my mom and I attended the Million Mom March on Mother’s Day in Washington, DC. We stood with more than a hundred thousand others, largely women, and rallied for stricter gun control. That day, I believed we could create real change.

That was nearly two decades ago. Many things have indeed changed, for me and for America, in the intervening years. Our country’s addiction to guns, though, has not. Americans continue to prioritize individual freedoms (for heterosexual white men) and cling to a false belief that gun control would impede these freedoms.

My four-year-old has shooter drills at his preschool. The children don’t know this is occurring, but parents are notified in advance that the building will be locked down for the duration of the drill. The kids are told they are having extended story time, and to sit quietly as a teacher reads book after book. In each book, regardless of the troubles characters encounter, there is a happy ending.

I’ve been writing an essay about women and anger. About what it meant to grow up “the angry girl.” How the adults around me responded to my anger. How my peers responded to my anger. How my anger shaped me into the woman I am now.

But my anger never looked like physical violence directed at those around me. What does it mean that I grew up furious and the only person I ever inflicted physical harm on was myself? This narrative is familiar, shared by women around the world. Why don’t angry girls buy guns and assemble homemade bombs?

As the mother of a young white male child living a relatively privileged life, I am confronted with choices about how to raise my son daily. Do I let him play shooting “games” with his friends or do I explain that shooting is never a game? I can’t prioritize his ability to fit in with his (white, privileged) peers while also shouting about burning down the patriarchy… but then, it’s hard to explain the patriarchy to a four-year-old.

I’m screaming, but the world moves backward all the while. I worry about sending my son to school because he might get shot. I worry about the teenager, and eventually the man, he’ll become, because at four years old toxic masculinity already permeates his daily life.

My thoughts are scattered because none of this makes sense to me. Two mass shootings occurred on Friday and by Saturday morning, it was as if nothing had happened at all. I’m the angry girl, but I’m also a mother. I don’t have any answers, and I no longer believe change is just a march away.

Still, I will shout it as loud as I can: TAKE THE GUNS AWAY. Shooting is not a game.

Love,
Marisa

P.S. The Daily Rumpus will be taking a one-week hiatus for the Memorial Day holiday, returning Tuesday, June 4.

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