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.