Do you know what I discovered this week? We Americans are some angry Mofos! Before the pilot could announce “wheels up” on the plane carrying the Pope back to the Vatican, an enthralled America lost its “thrall” and collapsed back into its proverbial state of rage. The Holy Father encouraged us to adopt a “spirit of cooperation” and urged “quiet acts of love” to strengthen “the great human family.” But we are so pissed at each other we barely heard him, and we seemed to forget what he said two seconds after he said it.
Used by Permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star/Cagle Cartoons
We’re pissed at Congress (the House of Reps are pissed at the Senate and vice versa), we’re pissed at the President, we’re pissed at our bosses, our spouses, our children, our classmates, our churches, our neighbors, pissed at people who don’t look and talk like us, pissed at people who don’t respond to our overtures or advances, and pissed to the point of murder when we can’t get what we want, when we want it, and how we want it.
I have had my own struggles with being angry in the past (pissed at childhood abusers, duplicitous friends, horrid preachers, racist teachers, and the goddamn Tea Party), but I found a vehicle to channel my anger via my career as a writer. (Check out my books Monsters’ Throwdown where I kicked the asses of my childhood abusers and Fleeing Oz where I took revenge on the duplicitous clergy who taught me erroneous crap about God, abused my trust, and misappropriated my tithes.)
In fact I’m feeling pretty Zen at this point in my old age, and my anger issues are limited to minor inconveniences. Right now I am “slightly irritated” and horrified at how the Muppets have reinvented themselves from adorable puppet creatures who used to appeal to kids and adults alike into some horrid adult entertainment on ABC. Miss Piggy is getting bikini waxes and cracking jokes about her pubic hair, Fozzie Bear is into fetishes and Grindr—I had to look that one up. Kermit is dating a younger pig, and Zoot is an alcoholic! Oh for God’s sake!! Can’t Hollywood leave well enough alone? Why do they always mess with a good thing?
Used by Permission: Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch/Cagle Cartoons
But compared to whence I’ve come, life is pretty good. It takes a lot to ruffle my feathers. I’m retired; I’ve moved into my dream house with my dream man, and the kids are on their own and not living in our basement (praise God, and hallelujah!). But when I think too much about the little things that get on my nerves on a daily basis (if I’m really being honest), I do start to get miffed. The more I ponder them, the more agitated I become. For instance, if I owned a gun, my two computers would be blown to bits right now, and I would have assassinated my WiFi router two weeks after I moved into my new house because it keeps knocking me off the Internet every five minutes. Nothing works as it should with my wireless network, and even though I’ve given various computer geeks hundreds of dollars, it never seems to help—they say it’s not them, and even though they fail to fix my problem time and time again, I still have to pay them. Why? Because there are no guarantees in the computer-fixit business. (Ugh!)
The upstairs air conditioner gave out with a house full of company on the hottest days in my new house recently, and it needed freon, a new coil, and a thingamabob, which was fine at first because I have a home warranty . . . except come to find out it only covers 1/10th of the things that can go wrong with a house that is a money pit: if your door bell stops functioning (for example), tough titty! (Then there are the repairmen who say they are going to show up for weeks at a time, but are no-shows, because this is a little town in the South—yep, it is a good thing I don’t own a gun.)
And don’t get me started on the moles and the voles who have invaded my property—last count, 42 moles and 500 voles. I went to bed one night with green grass and woke up the next morning with a completely dead lawn—as in totally brown with plants that looked as if something had sucked the life out of them and turned them into zombie plants. Over the past two weeks, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars trying to eradicate my arch nemeses without killing my neighbor’s cat, the various cute little bunnies romping across my dead lawn, or the myriad birds eating the earthworms that the moles consider their caviar. There are raised mounds of turf the size of armadillos all across my lawn, and there are so many mole/vole holes in my yard that it looks like Swiss cheese. My neighbors, who all have the same problem, are laughing at the new kid on the block wasting money on products that they know won’t do a damn thing to fix it. I wish I had access to a gun. I would shoot a million more holes into my lawn trying to eliminate these banes of my bucolic existence because, come to think of it, I am just that pissed! And knowing me, I probably would shoot my foot off in the process.
But wait a minute, who am I kidding, I have more anger issues than this. I’m always pissed at the Tea Party! God, I can’t stand those people! They are everything that is wrong with our country, and they make no sense, whatsoever. I have ex-friends who used to be sane and lovable who have now become insane and unlovable because they became Tea Party crazies. Their misplaced anger makes me angry, and even though they all have guns (they love their guns), the only reason I haven’t waged more of a war of words with these Neanderthals is because I don’t own a gun, and I don’t want to go to Hell for accidentally losing control of my temper in an argument with them, grabbing one of their guns, and shutting down their stupid arguments by blasting a couple of buck shots into their asses.
Used by Permission: Parker, Florida Today/Cagle Cartoons
See what I mean? (I just took my blood pressure after writing that paragraph and it is 160 over 110!) Good googily-moo! Suddenly I realized that I have more anger in me than I’m willing to admit. If I’m really being honest, if I had had access to a gun in my younger days, there is no telling when I would have used it during my lifetime. Probably against the man who molested me at six years old, most likely against my uncle who tried to “mess” with me when I was twelve years old, most assuredly against my longtime boyfriend who I accidentally discovered was married, and I definitely would have shot to kill the myriad number of foster parents who worked me like a slave and beat me for sport. I would not have been mentally ill during any of those murders—I would have been mad as hell and seeking revenge! And God have mercy on my soul, but if I had had access to a gun when one of my teenagers was acting the fool—sneaking in and out of the house at night—I might have used it out of fear when I heard the bump in the night downstairs from her sneaking back into the house. Instead of her getting just an ear full from me, I would have been attending her funeral, and then I would have killed myself due to remorse and heartbreak.
IMHO my dear readers, this is the issue at hand in most American lives—the disease of our hearts and minds that having a gun won’t eradicate, it will only exacerbate! Too many of us feel we can gain respect, right a wrong, avenge a hurt, end our agonizing misery, correct an abuse, steal other people’s shit, protect our own, and establish power and street cred with a gun. We can work our butts off to change the gun laws in our country and pour money into mental health care (as we should), but until we examine the state of our own hearts and attempt to mitigate those emotions that so readily cause us to “rage against the machine,” we are all just one easy-access-to-a-gun away from committing murder. If the bad things in life push any one of us long enough and hard enough—if we become fearful and frightened enough, and a gun is easily accessible, there’s no telling what we might do to ourselves or others. All of us are a little bit mentally ill in that way.
Cartoon Used by Permission: Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle/Cagle Cartoons
ELEANOR’S “SELAH” ON ANGER (HER “AHA” MOMENT)
I am discovering that there are two types of anger: righteous and unrighteous. I am not angry enough about the right things—righteous anger—and neither are the majority of my fellow Americans. We all need to get angry about the carnage that guns have caused in our communities, but instead of purchasing more guns to try and counterbalance the situation—as the NRA would have us believe we should—we need to come together in such a unified voice that our unified screams will implode the gun lobbies and the NRA. Nothing is changing because our chicken-shit Congress (as well as Democratic senators from red states) are afraid of the gun lobbyists and the NRA because they fund our lawmakers’ campaigns. But what if our collective anger (gun owners and non-gun owners alike) pushed Congress to deal with mental health funding, pass common sense gun laws, and modify the Second Amendment to become more relevant to this century all at the same time? What if the 84 percent of gun owners who say they want commonsense gun laws forced Congress out of their quivering cowardice by refusing to buy another gun and refusing to hunt with a gun (take up the bow and arrow if you want to hunt)? How about if the gun owners refused to go to gun ranges to practice, refused to vote for anyone who was against changing our gun laws, and refused to buy any more bullets for the guns we own until the laws get changed on those three fronts? Don’t you think that would get the gun manufacturers’ attention? If we had the slightest understanding of what Pope Francis charged America with—the “spirit of cooperation” and “quiet acts of love” to strengthen “the great human family”—gun owners would gladly lay down their “rights” in love for our nation so that their fellow Americans would have the right to live their innocent lives uninterrupted by gun violence. (This may sound simplistic, but at least it is better than doing nothing, and better than offering some anemic prayers after the irreparable damage has been done.)
No matter how you slice it, the onus is on gun owners. Until they have that Eureka moment of the soul, I’m afraid the slaughter will keep on happening. I’ll keep on praying along with a lot of other good people across the country, but I don’t think our prayers will do much good. We’ve long passed that action as a viable solution to America’s murderous gun sickness. I wonder where the next mass shooting will take place or where the next inner-city murder of a child will occur. I hope it isn’t anywhere near your loved ones or mine.
Cartoon Used by Permission: John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune
Gun violence is not a humorous matter, and I meant no disrespect to those who have lost their lives by gun violence. It’s just that if I don’t find some humor in this madness to point us toward the unmitigated truth in my writing, then I will become mentally ill and shoot somebody.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the survivors and the family and friends of the slaughtered—not only in Roseburg—but across our great nation where:
153,000 people have died from gunshots since 9/11 but Congress refuses to spend money or change laws to thwart this*
Only 3,000 people have died from terrorist attacks, but we spend millions of dollars a year to keep us safe from these*
Did you know that there were approximately 310 million guns owned by Americans in 2009, but the number of people in the United States were only 307 million during the same time period?** Ergo, there are more guns than people in the US. Sane gun owners (specifically), are you pissed off enough to do something about it besides purchasing more guns?
Cartoon Used by Permission: Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant/Cagle Cartoons
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”—Aristotle
“The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn’t angry enough.”—Bede Jarrett
“The whole gun debate needs to be infused with a discussion about manhood. It’s frustrating to hear debates about gun rights vs. gun control, and yet very few people say what’s hidden in plain sight: It’s really a contest of meanings about manhood.”—Jackson Katz
“If we don’t get gun-control laws in this country, we are full of beans. To have the National Rifle Association rule the United States is pathetic. And I agree with Mayor Michael Bloomberg: It’s time to put up or shut up about gun control for both parties.”—Harvey Weinstein
“For those of us who cry out for gun control, our fears cannot be eliminated as long as the country remains an armed camp in which the most troubled among us can find ways to appropriate one of the easily available weapons in all our communities.”—Robert Dallek
(All inspirational quotes from www.brainyquotes.com)
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*Meet the Press Statistic
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