If Santa actually comes this year, and not the Mayan Apocalypse, all I want is a little peace. No angels harking and heralding. No kids getting shot. Not in Connecticut. Not anywhere. Isn't that why so many films are rated R — we don't want our babes exposed to the violence? Or is it just sex we're opposed to? Heterosex when they take too many clothes off? Homosex in all its forms?
I went to a gun show once. It was just like a carnival. There were families with kids, stalls with French fries and corndogs. I like me a good corndog with that glowing yellow mustard that they probably use as radioactive contrast for MRIs. After a deep-fried Snickers, you can buy pellet guns for the babies. Or a .38 for her in lavender or pink, that isn't too big for a purse. I was surprised that my girlfriend knew what the serious stuff was. “Is that a Soviet blahbetty blab?” But then half the Cuban kids of her age were trained for an American invasion. Which actually came, by the way.
Americans prepare for something largely imaginary. Like maybe a photo shoot. When I was a kid, me and my sisters would pose as Charlie's Angels with their guns in the air. I've been known to use my own fingers to form a revolver. “Make my day.” It's not just ego. We are so often afraid, even if our enemies aren't a solid 90 miles away. There are those damn undercover Canadians that talk just like us. Those Mexicans who have the nerve to speak differently, but still steal our jobs. Or maybe it'll be an invasion by aliens we're sure are just a cattle prod away.
Then there are real muggers and rapists. It seems every high school and college football team has one or two. Just look at Notre Dame, and Steubenville High. But instead of protection, people with guns usually have them taken away and find themselves not just violated, but dead. Or on the flip side, fearful people end up shooting innocent kids like Trayvon Martin. Real perps hardly ever get killed.
Still, after the latest shooting, somebody actually said the kindergarten teachers should have been packing. When Gabrielle Giffords was laid up in the hospital after getting plugged, more than one asshole declared, “If it had been me, I'd've known right away with my extrasensory American sense that Jared Lee Loughner was a danger and taken him out with a shot right between the eyes. Ditto for that joker James Eagan Holmes, who went nuts in the Colorado movie theater.”
Only guns can solve the gun problem. We'll fight fire with fire. Burn the whole place down. Why wait for the Mayan gods to extinguish the sun? Or send meteor showers, or whatever it is that will bring the 5,125-year cycle of life on earth to an end?
Sometimes I wish the Apocalypse would come before the next atrocity. Human acts of generosity are often so comparatively small. We save dogs and sheep when they fall in rivers. Hand out a pair of shoes. While our acts of hatred are on the Olympian scale. Twenty dead kids. I can't even imagine it. When shootings happen in high schools, I can sometimes understand. A troubled kid accustomed to guns goes back for revenge against bullies. It's an old, old story. But attacking seven-year-olds? No.
NRA types will defend the guns and say Adam Lanza was sick, and probably he was. They'll point the finger at the failures of the mental health establishment. Which should have done more. And that will be right, too. Or maybe they'll blame the mother he killed. (Who taught him to shoot.) But it's more fundamental, a flaw in our culture, our species maybe. We are so good at imagining the end of things. We embrace films where monsters attack our cities, or meteors are aimed at earth like an alien invasion.
We rarely imagine some dramatic way Will Smith could transform our existing lives into something better. The closest he came was playing Mohammed Ali, sports star and activist. If you don't aim for Buddha or Jesus, maybe that's all there is. One person taking a stand.
Bloomberg was right to call on Obama to do it, push back against our culture of guns. I'd like to see him go further and dump our new toys, the drones. And maybe the Israelis could sit on their hands for a while. And the Palestinians, too, even if theirs are more often filled with rocks. Congo is a disaster. Let's wish impotence for each rapist's dick. And that their knives and guns bend like rubber. That they go to bed early, dream of peace.
Which is all I want. That, and a pony.