In gun crazed America!

BREAKING NEWS: Walmart to halt sales of ammunition used in high-capacity magazines and military-style weapons and asked shoppers not to openly carry weapons. (9/3/19)

Alluding to the Trump administration while speaking to columnist Jonah Goldberg, Jim Mattis said, “There is a period in which I owe my silence. It’s not eternal. It’s not going to be forever.” The highly respected former top military guru has a new book, “Call Sign Chaos.” It promises to break the silence of working in the current administration. So buckle your literary seatbelts folks.

Now this narrative is not about Mattis. No, it’s about what he said to Goldberg. It’s about me and, until now, my silence about gun crazed America thrust suddenly into consciousness in the aftermath of fatal massacres in Texas. It is about the majority ofAmerica – and most of you reading this – who remain ensconced in silence in gun crazed America. Don’t run. Don’t hide. Don’t delete.

But first let me assign credit to where it’s due – to a talented Lisa Page, the wife of Clarence Page, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist with the Chicago Tribune. In a poignant article, “My Family’s Gun Wounds: A Tale in Three Acts,” The Atlantic Magazine, Lisa admits to laughing off guns and the culture of guns, guns that altered or took the lives of members of her own family in gun crazed America.

I think about by brother (beaten by a gun in Denver). I close my eyes and think about my little brother and what he’s been through and the shame he once felt. I think about all the other families who no longer have their fathers, or sons, or mothers, or daughtersI think about all the losses stretching across the land and back in time. I don’t laugh about guns anymore.

And “Mark” won’t laugh anymore, if he ever did. 

It took the horror of having a gun pressed against his forehead during a robbery of his store in downtown Atlanta for him to reassess the priorities in his young life. “For a split-second Terry, I saw my life coming to a terrible end.” Fortunate for himhe lived to talk about it with his immediate family and me in gun crazed America.

Not so for my nephew “Andy.” 

When he answered the door in his apartment years ago, a blast from a shotgun ended his short life in gun crazed America. My last image of him was at a Greyhound bus station in Virginiawhere I’d picked him up a few years prior. I close my eyes and thinks about that indelible image.

Now between the time I read Page’s article and now, many lives have been snuffed out in senseless acts of carnage. And before the ink is dry on this piece more will be added to the list in gun crazed America. But we’ll tote the party line and again spout our scripted “thoughts and prayers,” thank the Lord “it wasn’t me,”and return to our cubbyholes of silence until the next massacre takes place in gun crazed America.

So, thanks to the words of Jim Mattis, Lisa Page’s powerful essay, “Mark’s” recent revelation, my late nephew’s untimely demise – and Walmart – I can no longer remain silent in gun crazed America.

And neither can you!

© Terry Howard is an award-winning writer and storyteller. He is a contributing writer with the Chattanooga News Chronicle, The American Diversity Report, The Atlanta Business Journal, The Shenandoah Valley Hit, Catalyst, The Echo World, Black Market.com, the Chapel Hill News and Views, founder of the “26 Tiny Paint Brushes” writers’ guild, and recipient of the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King Leadership Award conferred by the Shenandoah Valley Hit. He can be reached at wwhoward3@gmail.com

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