I wrote this post back in November just after the LAX shooting…
…and then I deleted it.
I thought, who am I? Jean Valjean? (sorry, that’s some really geeky musical theatre humor that just happened right there, please don’t stop reading because of it.)
But then I saw this video and I 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 United States I just can’t seem to find here, like Veganaise for example, or black beans in a can or a few SNL sketches (you can’t just go on HuLu people, copyright laws keep US entertainment in the US). I LOVE me some USA. I always feel incredibly blessed to have been born and raised in a great country that shouts at me to work hard, pull myself together and make my own way.
But when I sat down at my laptop today and began to read about the random shooting at LAX, I thought, you know…Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states you have to feel secure before you can prosper and while I did feel secure in the US, even after the PTSD of 9/11, the year before we left for Sydney I began to have a new underlying psychological security breach.
Follow my train of thought just for a minute.
-We lived in Aurora, Colorado when I was a child, a town now infamous due to a mass shooting of horrific proportions.
-We also lived in Toronto when I was ten (not part of the US, but it may as well be) and visited Eaton Center several times. It was beyond disturbing to learn one of the victims of the Aurora shooting had narrowly escaped a mass shooting at Eaton Center already. Bless her heart, may she rest in peace.
-Our drive from G’s Godparent’s house in Connecticut to Michael’s show in New Haven took us right through the sleepy village of Sandy Hook.
-We were just at LAX 3 weeks ago.
I could add we were in Boston 5 days before the bombs went off in the marathon, 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 ones above are due to a collective choice as a nation.
It has taken a move under the planet to remove the subconscious fear that 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. That’s the end of the story. In fact, just after we arrived some broken soul lost his mind in a mall, but he was wielding a machete. Yes. You could kill a person in a mall with a machete and it would be a terrible tragedy, but unless you are a super cartoon ninja, you cannot take down 26 innocent bystanders in 30 seconds with multiple rounds of refillable machete cartridges.
Australia used to be full of guns and then they were made illegal. Gun crime got worse at first and then it just disappeared. True story! In the US people say if you make guns illegal criminals will get them anyway, but here in Australia, a nation built by criminals, they resort to machetes. Why? Because if you are unfortunate enough to be so broken that your life and the lives of others and their children is of no value to you, you cannot get your hands on a gun. !! So yes, the TV here is questionable, there’s this children’s show about two banana brothers that is simply stunning in its lack of clarity, but there are no mass shootings.
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 can 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 are going to have to come to terms with, to just 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 subconscious 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.