I wrote this post back in November-after the shooting at LAX-then I deleted it.
I thought, who am I to post this?
Then I saw this video and thought, who am I not to post it?
November 1st, 2013
While I sit at my desk in Sydney I pine for things from the US I can’t find here: Vegenaise, for example, black beans in a can, a few SNL sketches (I can’t even get them on HuLu). I LOVE the United States. I feel blessed to have been born and raised in a country that shouted at me to work hard, pull myself together and make my own way.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, however, does state one must feel secure before they can prosper. When I opened my laptop this morning there was another article about a random shooting: this time at LAX. While I personally felt secure in the US-even after the PTSD of 9/11-I realize this past year I had an underlying psychological security breach.
Follow my train of thought for a moment.
-When I was a child, I lived in Aurora, Colorado, a town now infamous due to a mass shooting of horrific proportions.
-I lived in Toronto when I was ten (not part of the US, but close enough) and visited Eaton Center several times. How disturbing to learn one of the victims of the Aurora horror narrowly escaped a mass shooting at Eaton Center already. Bless her heart, may she rest in peace.
-The drive from a friend’s house in Connecticut to my husband’s work took us right through the sleepy village of Sandy Hook.
-We were at LAX three weeks ago.
I could add we were in Boston five days before the marathon bombing, or up the road on 9/11 or in Times Square just as a bomb attack was thwarted, but those instances are different from the ones listed above. The former events are due to a collective choice as a nation.
It took a move down under the planet to remove the subconscious fear my family could fall pray to a mass shooting. Why? There are no mass shootings in Australia. You can’t carry a gun here. That’s it, the end of the story. In fact, just after we arrived some broken soul lost his mind in a mall wielding a machete. Yes. You can kill a person in a mall with a machete and it will be a tragedy, but unless you are a cartoon ninja, you cannot take down twenty-six innocent bystanders in thirty seconds with multiple rounds of refillable machete cartridges.
Australia used to be full of guns, now they’re illegal. Gun crime got worse at first, then it disappeared. True story! In the US people say if you make guns illegal, criminals will get them anyway. Then why do the criminals down under resort to machetes? Well, if you are so far down on your luck that your life and the lives of others are of no value to you, you simply cannot get your hands on a gun. Now, you can meet your end here by a giant shark, a poisonous spider or a grumpy kangaroo, but not by a mass shooting.
So, while I make my own Vegenaise, I’ll come to terms with the fact that guns in the US have become the new automobiles, a commodity placed in society with the full understanding of the toll they take on human life. Somehow as a nation, we have decided the business of semi-automatic weapons is worth the occasional cost of life. It’s a reality we as Americans will have to come to terms with, to hope it happens to someone else, somewhere else-which is what I always hope when I’m in a car and the person next to me is texting a tome. I will enjoy my sub conscious peace in Sydney now, as I fear by the time I return home to enjoy my black bean burritos, we as a nation will have added at least two dozen more of these shootings to our history.