Writing

Las Vegas and gun control

0 Comments 11 October 2017

Spring of 2007 was not a great time for me. I was living in Greenpoint, working a construction gig, working to finish a record that would never see the light of day, trying to keep my shit together. One thing that kept me from giving up was a dove that had built her nest on the fire escape outside of my kitchen window. The nest seemed totally exposed, perched as it was on the intersection of two outer railings, and I had no idea how she’d be able to raise her young there. Should I open the window and push her nest off so she’d have to find a safer place to lay her eggs? I didn’t know what to do so I didn’t do anything and then one morning, there were two pale perfect eggs in her nest. It cheered me up. I don’t know why, but it did. Everything seemed to be falling apart in my life but this simple magical timeless thing was still happening in front of me. Each morning, I dragged myself out of bed and laid on the floor of my shower until I could stand and then sat at my kitchen table and forced some cereal down and watched this little mama dove sitting on her nest. She watched me back but didn’t do anything. I think she could tell I wasn’t a threat. She just sat there, protecting her eggs, and staring back into my eyes.
On April 16th, a young man armed with two semiautomatic pistols killed 32 people at Virginia Tech. It shocked me and scared me, but I didn’t cry.
A couple of days later, I sat down at my kitchen table, and poured my bowl of cereal. I knew the eggs would be hatching soon and I couldn’t wait. I looked outside. The eggs were gone. The nest was still there, perched defiantly on the exposed corner of the railing, but the eggs were gone. What had happened? The wind couldn’t have blown them out and left the nest intact. Had a squirrel come and eaten them? As I stared at the empty nest, the dove flew up and perched on the railing. She looked at me and somehow I instantly understood the sorrow and confusion I saw in her eyes: What happened? Where are my children? Why?
And yeah, then I cried.
It made me think of my mother and the terror she felt when I had to call her on December 14th, 1992 to tell her that a classmate had shot up our school with an assault rifle, killing a student and a teacher. She drove through the night to come get me and I’ll never forget the relief I felt seeing her climbing out of her Ford Aerostar minivan and running through the snow toward me.
I was 15 then and I’m 40 now and I know that the safety I felt in her arms was a lie but I still miss the shit out of her today and would do just about anything to see her now and feel safe, even if it’s bullshit.
As a parent, it’s your prime directive to keep your children safe. There are a lot of parents mourning children today… and children mourning parents, and brothers and sisters mourning brothers and sisters and friends mourning friends. Gun owners, I care more about their lives than I do about your hobby or your lifestyle or, yes, even your rights and freedoms and your Constitution.

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