I’m an author behaving badly…

So, I have a couple of things to talk about today and let’s start with the less controversial one.

The death of actor/comedian Robin Williams hit me pretty hard. I’m one of those old enough to remember him on Mork and Mindy and he made me smile so many times over the years…only slightly more times than he made me cry.

The World According to Garp was a strange and wonderful movie that came out in 1982 and I realize now that I was probably too young the first time I watched it to appreciate everything it was about. Robin Williams performance as T.S. Garp was inspiring. I remember being horrified by all the ways life made things difficult for him but it wasn’t until I had dealt with a few of my own life issues that I understood a lot of went on in the movie. John Lithgow’s excellent portrayl of transexual Roberta Muldoon was my first introduction to a community of people who have become so important to me 30 years later.

Robin Williams movies kept everyone laughing and thinking and there’s no doubt that some of his characters, like Mrs. Doubtfire and Patch Adams and Armand Goldman (The Birdcage) are iconic and will never be forgotten. In fact, almost every role he played was unforgettable.

But after his death, the one role that jolted me, the reminder that brought me to tears, was when I remembered that he was Genie in Aladdin. I’m not sure why the first picture of Genie and Aladdin hugging was the one that broke my heart but I think it might be because it was one I enjoyed so often with the kids in my life. I watched it with my nieces and nephew, with all the children I’ve cared for over the years and of course, with my daughter and I’m still have a hard time reconciling that the man who brought Genie to life left this world by his own hand.

I’d heard all the stories of course. His troubles were always splashed across the newspapers and TV screens but when it’s not someone you know…someone who’s a part of your life on a daily basis, it’s had to grasp exactly what they’re going through. But I’ve often thought that it seems like people who are the most talented are also some of the most tormented.

I hope he’s at peace now.

And now on to the more inflammatory part of my blog.

Yesterday a story broke about a young girl in Arizona, nine years old, who accidentally shot and killed her shooting instructor while being taught to use an automatic weapon.

Now, anyone who knows me even a little knows how I feel about guns. If anti-gun talk pisses you off and will cause you to write long vitriolic emails to me, you’d best stop reading now.

In what situation is it necessary for a 9-year-old to use an Uzi? Are we in the middle of the Zombie apocalypse? Or is this the “hunting” weapon of choice in Arizona? Seriously…this little girl now has to live with the consequences of the extreme stupidity of the adults in her life and in fact, unless she gets some pretty amazing help, this one accident had probably ended the life she might have had as effectively as the bullets ended the life of the man trying to teach her.

I hate guns with a passion. There is nothing redeeming about guns. They were created with one purpose and one purpose only. To take someones life. They are inanimate objects that are often in the hands of the worst people and that is the problem. People…we are not perfect by any means. Even the best of us. Some people suggest that lack of training is the reason for so many innocent people dying at the hands of those with a gun. I don’t care how much training you’ve had, it doesn’t stop you from snapping one day and doing something stupid that you can’t take back. Ask the dad in the movie theater who was shot by the ex-cop for texting his babysitter.

I have also heard “the only way to stop bad people with guns is with good people with guns”. I’m sorry, but when did we regress to the wild west? I have no desire to live in the middle of The Gunfight at the OK Corral. In Aurora, Colorado some folks suggested that if someone else would have had a gun, they could have stopped the lunatic who was shooting people. Or, more innocent people could have died caught in the crossfire between the good and the bad.

And that’s how it feels, like we are caught in the crossfire. I know that guns will never go away, but what bothers me is the attitude of those who insist that someone’s dead child doesn’t trump their right to own a gun because it’s this attitude that’s getting innocent people killed.

I don’t have a solution to this problem and I probably never will, but it doesn’t stop me from being outraged over the damage done to this child and so many others.

So bring it on gun lovers. Tell me how I’m wrong to feel the way I do. Hate me for thinking that my child’s right to not be gunned down in the street is way more important than your right to walk around with a gun in your hand. You will never change my mind and all you will do is prove in my mind that I’m right.

Okay, I’m stepping down off my soapbox now and get back to doing what any author should be doing…writing or you know, looking for ways to avoid it.

And to distract you from my ranting, have a beautiful picture by my photographer friend, Anthony Aceto.

tywallpaper32

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12 Comments

Filed under Hump Day, Things that bug me.

12 responses to “I’m an author behaving badly…

  1. I’ll bring it on but I won’t tell you that you are wrong to feel the way you do. That is your choice and I respect that.

    I do have a couple of points to address.
    In what situation is it necessary for a 9-year-old to use an Uzi? Are we in the middle of the Zombie apocalypse? Or is this the “hunting” weapon of choice in Arizona?

    Necessity had nothing to do with this. Sometimes we do things or let our children do things because they are fun. Firearms if properly handled are safe and fun. This little girl was not physically able to handle the Uzi. But many children safely handle firearms and enjoy recreational shooting every day. The accident rate of firearm related deaths is incredibly low, in 2011 there were 591. That is for all ages. More children die from drowning then firearms each year.

    Not everything is related to hunting either. People fixate on that as the only acceptable use of firearms and exclude events like Silhouette matches, Skeet, Trap, Bullseye, Falling plates and dozens of other sports.


    That video shows a 13 year old girl shooting better than many adults.

    There is nothing redeeming about guns.

    I disagree. Like any inanimate object; they can be used for good or evil. The can be used safely or not. Hunting is both a method of conversation and recreational shooting. Hunters donate over 2.5 million meals each year by giving vension and other game meats to shelters.

    They were created with one purpose and one purpose only. To take someones life. They are inanimate objects that are often in the hands of the worst people and that is the problem.

    They are also in the hands of the best people also. Kleck and Gertz surveyed people and found 2,500,000 times a year firearms are used to stop or prevent a crime. This is called a Defensive Gun Use. 16 other surveys have confirmed this figure. Guns can be used to save lives.

    I don’t care how much training you’ve had, it doesn’t stop you from snapping one day and doing something stupid that you can’t take back.

    So is it just gun owners that ‘just snap’ or is it everyone?
    The idea that people just snap is ludicrous. Moms drown their children –do they just snap and drown their children or are there other issues? Should we stop women from having children?

    Hate me for thinking that my child’s right to not be gunned down in the street is way more important than your right to walk around with a gun in your hand.

    Will Rogers said the right to swing your fist stops at the end of my nose. Your child’s right stops there also. We have laws that cover the misuse and criminal use of firearms. 46,000,000 gun owners didn’t kill anyone yesterday or last year. We punish those who break the law, we don’t punish everyone for the actions of others.

    Bob S.

    • I respect your opinions even if I don’t agree with you. I will never agree that there is anything fun about guns or that children should be using them but I agree that it isn’t my place to decide that for them. Thanks for responding.

  2. The stats support the fact that the U.S., where gun ownership is rampant, have the highest murder and accidental death rates in the the civilized world. Too many guns, too many deaths, too many accidents.

    I always wonder how gun owners would feel if it was a member of their family that was killed, whether accidentally or otherwise.

    And while we’re on the subject, I can’t stand open carry. If I see people with huge guns strapped across their backs in a restaurant or store, I immediately leave. I have no idea if they are planning to engage in mass murder or just showing off (what possible reason can anyone have for toting their guns everywhere? This ain’t the wild west anymore, though I suspect they wish it were), but I don’t take chances. One glance isn’t enough to tell me what their intentions are.

    So there you are, infringing on my rights to feel safe in public. And before you point out it was my choice to leave, please let me counter by saying I shouldn’t have to make that choice, not in a store, not in a restaurant. In a country where mass murder is almost a sport, seeing someone packing a weapon capable of blowing away half the people in sight makes me very nervous indeed.

    • I am usually a very reasonable person who is able to both sides in every situation but every time I start to think that maybe I’m wrong on this subject I read about another innocent person dying that trumps everything for me.

      • On this issue, I obviously have strong feelings. 🙂 Australia took the guns away and it worked. I’d like to see the same thing happen here. That so many people are so vehement about keeping and using guns tells me there is another problem here, having to do with self-esteem and self-confidence. Guns make a lot of people feel powerful. That’s sad.

    • Mr Fenraven,

      The stats support the fact that the U.S., where gun ownership is rampant, have the highest murder and accidental death rates in the the civilized world

      Sorry but that isn’t true…unless you are calling citizens of Honduras, Venezuela, Mexico, Etc “uncivilized”.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate
      Honduras has a homicide rate of 90 per 100K. USA 4.7 per 100K. Sorry not even close.

      So there you are, infringing on my rights to feel safe in public

      Just exactly what “right” would someone Openly Carry infringe on? The right to ‘feel safe’? Your right to feelings is not a right that requires me to respect it. I feel narrow minded people like yourself shouldn’t write comments on blogs — are you going to stop?
      I doubt it. And for the same reason people Open Carrying shouldn’t stop because of your feelings.

      In a country where mass murder is almost a sport, seeing someone packing a weapon capable of blowing away half the people in sight makes me very nervous indeed.

      Do the police make you nervous also? Do you want them disarmed also?

      Or perhaps your fears are irrational and something for you to deal with ?

      The same way people who said the same things about other races, LGBT, anyone who ‘scares’ them. People’s actions will tell you if they are criminals or not. The same way any man walking down the street — is he a rapist, child molester or just a man walking down the street? The actions tell the tale.

      Bob S.

      • Talking to people like you is like trying to reason with religious nuts. I’m finished.

      • So, I guess here’s the difference between us. You can bring up all the statistics you like to support your position. When you say “only” this many people died in gun related accidents, you see a number and I see people. Men,women and children who would still be alive if there hadn’t been this tragic “accident”. Maybe you make it all about numbers so you can forget that people are attached to them, I don’t know. And yes, I am glad that I personally live in a country with gun control because the idea of open carry terrifies me because I am not smart enough to figure out who’s crazy and who’s not. Being afraid isn’t unreasonable or stupid when you are surrounded by guns in most peoples eyes. So yes, the difference between us is that you use statistics to show what hasn’t happened and say “see, those dead people aren’t so bad, all things considered”. But I just see what has, every single day on the news and it will never stop being sad, horrifying and unnecessary to me. We are just going to have to agree to disagree on this subject. Good luck Bob.

  3. Cindyls1969,

    When you say “only” this many people died in gun related accidents, you see a number and I see people.

    Please don’t be insulted when I tell you that you are incredibly off base. I see those lives, the people also. But as I stated with the other statistics — 2.5 MILLION times a year — I see wives that make it home to their families, daughter not raped, dads not assaulted. I see the people who don’t have their lives ripped apart by the actions of criminals.

    because I am not smart enough to figure out who’s crazy and who’s not.

    I seldom tell people they are wrong but in this case it is appropriate. You and everyone does this all the time. We’ve all seen the person who was a little off. We’ve seen the person and turned the other way because we knew (s)he was trouble. It’s no different with Open Carry – we have common sense, intuition and observation – we can tell who the criminals are for the most part. I can…can’t you?

    But I just see what has, every single day on the news and it will never stop being sad, horrifying and unnecessary to me

    I see the same thing and I also want it to stop. We just approach it from different perspectives and avenues. Looking at the statistics reinforces the simple fact that rarely does “There should be a law” become the best answer, Rarely is it even in the top 10.

    We’ve been trying to perfect humankind by passing laws for thousands of years. Doesn’t work….why should it start with just one more law?

    Bob S.

  4. Steve Anton

    I was also a fan of Robin Williams. His lightning-quick wit and his tendencies to shift gears, almost in mid-sentence, illustrated his intellect and his ability to move in and out of seemingly unrelated concepts with ease. I cannot imagine the mind of Robin Williams ever having a dull moment.
    Hearing of his suicide did trigger memories of two friends of mine who took their own lives. In both cases it was unexpected, but I couldn’t help but look back for signs I missed. Too often, severe depression wears a smile. Who knew?
    I won’t discuss the details of my friends’ suicides in a public forum, or how I was impacted. I’ve never discussed them with anyone. But Robin William’s death, by his own actions, carries similarities with my own experience. Depression is not a Hollywood problem, it’s all around us.

    • I’m so very sad to hear about your friends. I think it’s only natural to want to look back and see if maybe you could have changed something but in the end, the only ones who had any control over the situation was them. And maybe you should find someone to talk to about them and how it affected you. Not in public of course, but it sounds to me like maybe you have some things to say out loud that might make you feel better. And you’re absolutely right, the people who are suffering the most are sometimes the ones who seem the brightest. It’s a horrible affliction that doesn’t discriminate and it takes people of all ages, races, religions and every walk of life. But often, it’s takes the death of someone in the spotlight to makes us think about it. Thank you for commenting Steve.

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