Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
I don’t have technical specifications of particular firearms available off the top of my head. I can’t tell you what the differences are between the design of the bestselling Glock and the design of the bestselling Sig Sauer (although I readily know the spelling of both Glock and Sig Sauer). I have spotty knowledge at best when it comes to the capacities of certain ammunition clips and rates of fire and which guns have safeties and which do not. I don’t have an immediate handle on what distinguishes an M-16. AK-47, M4 Carbine, or AR-15 from each other. In all of these cases I’d have to look it up. And in most cases I forget the information over time.
What I end up remembering instead is the story of a 6 year-old boy in Dunblane, Scotland, pulling his best friend to cover while a madman murdered his first-grade class and then discovering that his best friend was already dead.
I remember the witness account of a girl in Sandy Hook who heard a young boy screaming “Help me! I don’t want to be here!” followed by the assailant saying “Well, you’re here,” and then what she described as hammering sounds.
I remember the story of a girl telling her mother “I’m fine, but all my friends are dead.”
I remember stories of what happened to a young Chicago boy lured into an alley by a man who hated the boy’s father and a Chicago high school girl with a bright future stolen from her right after she’d finished her final exams.
I remember stories of parents who could barely identify what was left of their child.
I remember stories of people who went to a movie or a nightclub in love with each other and left the theater or nightclub dead.
I remember stories of a mother receiving the very last text messages from her son as he hid in the bathroom. I remember the story of crime scene investigators walking carefully through scores of dead trying to block out the nightmarish sound of cellphones chirping and singing as friends and family desperately called and hoped their loved one would finally pick up. I remember the story of a mother from Brooklyn who survived cancer twice, who loved her children without question or condition, who went dancing with her gay son last weekend and who died shielding him from bullets.
I remember stories like the one Sen. Chris Murphy told at the end of his epic filibuster, about a child dying in the arms of his favorite teacher. I remember teachers and principals who stood between gunmen and their students and paid with their lives.
I’m sorry if you feel my inability to recall the technical details of a firearm renders me unable to have an opinion in this crisis. I’m sorry if your inability to remember the stories of those affected by your complex murder machinery, stories I can’t forget, isn’t viewed by you as an even greater character deficit.