Bereavement for the Soul of America

On Wednesday, December 2, I awoke with joy and optimism. As my emotions tend toward the melancholy, gifted mornings such as these don’t arrive often and are cherished when they do.

Recent intriguing opportunities had arrived in the past few days. On Monday, a much-read and admired favorite author emailed me (we have never met and had only briefly communicated via Twitter due to an “eponymous cookie” I created for him). He wrote that he was traveling cross-country and would be in my area.

Would I mind if he popped in?

Honestly, I wouldn’t have been more excited if Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and Tom Hardy arrived en masse at my doorstep to wine and dine me while respectively talking about our shared Native American heritage, discussing the restoration of Baltimore’s amazing architecture, and re-enacting the love scene from Wuthering Heights.

Only Jon Stewart’s arrival could create equal enthusiasm.

Yes, I admire men who are smart and funny who appreciate the same in a woman. Admittedly, I don’t know if Tom Hardy is this way or not. I’ve just never shaken that photograph of QE’s “Eyes” character. Also, as an aside, I truly hope the real Robert Dudley got down to business with Queen Elizabeth. No woman should die with her hymen intact.

My other bit of good news pertained to my aforementioned cookie creations.

Although nothing is set in stone and now I don’t know if it will ever be, a potential professional culinary opportunity presented itself which excited me greatly. It involved moving my home-based business into a professional kitchen, one large enough for my confection business, to rent space to other “cottage bakers”, and also create and perfect high-quality desserts for an established restaurant. I knew the work would be time-consuming and difficult but the inherent rewards could be spectacular. As someone who has never felt anywhere close to reaching my true potential, and coupled with the news from my author friend, ecstatic was too mild a word for how I was feeling.

AND THEN I HEARD ABOUT SAN BERNADINO.

The ghastly, hideous, and vile statistics of US mass shootings are too long to list here. Despite the depravity and horror of each event, what follows are some of the most heinous tragedies:

· DEC 2, 2015 At least 14 dead, up to 21 wounded | San Bernardino, Calif.

· NOV. 29, 2015 3 dead; 9 injured | Colorado Springs, Colo.

· OCT. 1, 2015 9 dead, 9 injured: Roseburg, Ore.

· JULY 16, 2015 5 dead, 3 wounded: Chattanooga, Tenn.

· JUNE 18, 2015 9 dead: Charleston, S.C.

· MAY 23, 2014 6 dead, 7 wounded: Isla Vista, Calif.

· DEC. 14, 2012 27 killed, one injured: Newtown/Sandy Hook, Conn.

Dishearteningly, I have skipped many, many daunting abominations. We in the US reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations. In the last four years, more people have died in the United States from guns (including suicides and accidents) than Americans have died in the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq combined. One person dies in America every 16 minutes from a gun. In 2015, more mass shootings have occurred than days in this year.

What is a mass shooting?

A mass shooting is “any event in which four or more people, including the gunman, are killed or injured by gunfire.” This year, there have been more shootings than days. Today, December 2, is the 336th day of the year; with this shooting, we are (at least) at 352 shootings. ~via Jezebel

Just yesterday, the US Senate voted down legislation that would block suspected terrorists, felons, mentally ill from buying guns.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) warned that the Democratic legislation would mean “the government can take from you valuable constitutional rights,” calling it “un-American.” Sen. Chuck Grassley argued the legislation won’t prevent the next shooting and warned that Congress needs to “be worried about protecting the Second Amendment.”

I’ve begun to hate that Second Amendment.

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Written during Revolutionary War times, necessary to protect the newly formed US citizens from British invasion (War of 1812, anyone?), when muskets and cannons were the most dangerous weaponry available, this bill is at most obsolete and, at least, in need of alteration. A well-regulated militia does not equate a well-armed unregulated populace. In many places, it is more difficult to purchase a motor vehicle, a can of spray paint, or a box Sudafed than it is to buy a gun. Loopholes abound. Background checks are laughable. Fraud is omnipresent. Insincere platitudes flourish.

To play devil’s advocate for one nauseating moment, yes, criminals who want to obtain guns will find ways to get guns: just like addicts get drugs and humans hire prostitutes. But you know who won’t get them? Off-kilter people with anger issues who get drunk and set that ire on their families. Domestic violence will always occur; but broken bones and bruises heal far better than bullet wounds. And just shut up about how people kill people instead of guns killing people. If that was the case, our military would not undergo munitions training or be issued weaponry.

Of all the pro-gun arguments I’ve heard, that one is the most obtuse.

To summarize, I’m not happy any more. I’m terrified for my friends and family. I don’t want to leave my home. The cookie/bakery business seems like a ridiculous trifle. The only things keeping me going right now are the love of my friends and family and the hope that someday I can expatriate to a country with sane gun laws, hopefully one with a minimum of Tories. And yes, I still retain the remaining excitement over meeting the aforementioned favorite author.

When that excuse for a person shot and killed 26 kindergartners and our government did nothing, I knew we had lost. I just had no idea how very much.