I am so proud to be Texan and American. We have a fabulous country, my fellow Americans. I love how we support our military, fly our flag on every house and street corner. I taught my two year old the pledge of allegiance. I cry at the National Anthem. I believe in the pull-yourself up by your bootstraps, American capitalism. I love that our President is a minority who came from a single parent family. I love the American culture. I love the American sports-hype. I love the food, the one thousand invented reasons to have a celebration, the public displays of emotion, the pride, and the work-ethic. I love our constitution. I love the United States.
Americans do stuff full-out- Go BIG or Go HOME. But today, and last month, and the month before that, I am completely horrified by our behaviour when it comes to guns, mental health, and random shootings in public places.
Oh I know I’m going to get the NRA (National Rifle Association) on my tail about this one. I know the arguments. I’m a handgun owner. So the argument goes- if there are no guns, then good people can’t shoot the bad guy. But ladies and gentlemen, good people can’t shoot the bad guy because their backpacks are full of books, not rifles, their hands are holding Bibles, not handguns, or they are 5 years old and colouring in kindergarten.
The good people aren’t armed when it counts, friends.
Guns are illegal in the UK, and guess what? 13 college students aren’t dead today because of some mentally impaired, emotionally disturbed teenager decided to go shoot everyone. I’m pissed, America. We look like the Hollywood version of ourselves on the BBC news, and it’s embarrassing.
Americans are perceived as big business lunatics who let cancer patients re-mortgage their houses to pay for chemo treatment while their kids are at school getting shot up by some emotionally disturbed individual who can access guns just as easily as he can get a library card.
Now America, we need a new image, a PR campaign that shows off our more aspiring qualities, and we can start by putting some federal funding into mental health services. Guns don’t kill people. Patients with untreated mental and emotional disorders without access to services kill people. And they are using guns. So we have to clean that up too.
At least in the UK, if some whack job wants to hack me off, he’s going to have to get within 12 inches of me with a knife. He’s going to have to look at my eyes, and fight one on one, and if it is on a day like today, he doesn’t stand a chance. He (or she) can’t hide behind a brick wall on a rooftop somewhere and cowardly play target practice like it’s a video game.
So today America, I’m sad. THIRTEEN mothers are getting phone calls today . . . I can’t even finish that sentence. I’m grieving. I’m embarrassed. And I’m glad I live far away from a place not doing enough about gun rights and mental health populations.