Common and Senseless

My mother is crying.
I know this because somewhere in a church or at a concert people have just died.
In a space I could be
dozens like me are bleeding.
Like me as in they are human.
Like me as in all they did was exist.
Doing what makes them happiest,
nothing complicated, or wrapped in risk,
not at war or up to mischievous hijinks,
they were sitting
they were singing
holding hands
smiling
and my mother is crying.

I know this because at any moment this will happen again.
It might be in a park in Washington
or a grocery store in Delaware,
maybe a library, or a subway,
all spaces I walk through every day,
all potential locations for the next mass shooting.
Their motives don’t matter.
Their narrative is unrelated.
Because my mother, is crying.
My mother is somewhere clicking past CNN
or flipping between stations when she catches the tail end,
a body count, a suspect’s description,
and has to block out thoughts of her child living independently.
My mother can’t be comfortable when I am out of the home
because that alone puts me at risk of being gunned down.
She is frozen in fear as this country is frozen in argument.

And I own a gun. I love shooting them.
I get it man, the AR-15 is fun. But…
My hobby preference doesn’t matter.
My local licensing requirements are unrelated.
Without country wide standards, at minimum
an honest inspection on where laws are failing,
nothing is going to change
from the hope and prayers we recite
while we wait for the next shooting.
If this is truly a matter of good vs evil like many ownership advocates say,
maybe those good guys should be the ones taking action for a change
and help find ways to prevent those evil hands from getting guns every day.
Maybe, the politicians
should be forced to look at their own mothers
when they say
“no, I will not pass this legislation,
no, I will not consider mental healthcare in this situation,

no, I will never turn on the most generous National Rifle Association.
Sorry mom.
You’re just going to have to wait for me to nearly die,
for me to be under fire at a Starbucks
and realize this is a threat to my own life,
for me to change my mind.
It is out of respect that I won’t politicize this tragedy
my job is to take NRA money not take responsibility.”

I fully understand that criminals will not respect the law.
That is, by definition, what a criminal is,
and I’m mildly insulted we’re still going over this, but,
step back from your death grip on changing nothing and consider this:
you’re going to tell me my computer can listen in 24/7 to know
when and how to advertise to me and nail every recommendation,
I can watch a toy car fly past Pluto in crystal clear resolution
in real time from my pocket size telephone while I take a shit,
but it’s not humanly possible to study this horrific pattern and find a solution?
Not even a reduction could ever be accomplished?
You don’t have to take away everybody’s roads
to make them safer with speed limits and licensing exams.
No shit some people are going to blow past the numbers posted
but that’s the first step in the process
of reducing avoidable deaths
while we examine the architecture and then fix it.

I’m so tired of sitting here
knowing my mother is crying again.
Please, explain to me,
how unrestricted access to weapons
makes this worth it.

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Published by: Nic Jean

Nicole Jean Turner is an artist from the Greater Boston area with an affinity for vignettes, napping outdoors, and conversations that confront the human condition. She got her master's in writing at 21, and expects to pay off her student loans by age 87

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