This essay is not about gun control. My nephew was not some cute five-year-old child killed in some perfect part of town where this type of thing “isn’t supposed to happen,” as the media likes to report. This happened to a 34-year-old Mexican-American man on the Southside of San Antonio, a part of town where this type of thing has been happening since as far back as I can remember.
I won’t profess that my nephew was a saint. He had his scrapes with the law. But he did not deserve to die like this. In the end my nephew was gunned down trying to protect a girl from her 19-year-old boyfriend with gun— a 19-year-old boy who I hope will be sentenced to do some serious adult time.
My nephew may not be the ideal poster child for the tragedy of gun violence in America, but he is the perfect approximation of what it looks like. The reality is that 86 people a day are killed by guns. The vast majority are not the victims of mass shootings that ever so briefly hold our collective attention, but individuals, many from parts of town or neighborhoods that only register with the shrugs of our collective indifference.
As one commentator on the article about my nephew’s murder noted, “one pendejo is in jail and the other pendejo is dead.” Perhaps the commentator is on to something. Perhaps the solution is that simple: reduce the fatal consequences suffered by others to a snarky putdown to support the delusion that you are immune to the equalizing mortality of the barrel of a gun.
But this is not about gun control. I have plenty of friends with a firearms fetish and I fully respect their Second Amendment right to prepare for the collapse of Western civilization. Besides, as we’ve all learned, the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. By that logic the only way we will ever be truly safe is if every single one of us is armed. We all know that it does no good to throw out a bunch off statistics about gun violence, because cars, planes, knives and cricket bats kill people, too. However, I do know for a fact that if that one 19-year-old boy wasn’t carrying a gun he would’ve had a much harder time killing my nephew.
But this is not about gun control, because guns are what make us the greatest country in the world. We may be 20 times more likely to die due to gun violence than people in other “developed” countries, but who wants to live in a so-called developed country where you can’t open carry into a Wal-Mart or Chili’s? As we all learned in middle school, America was founded and the West was won with the barrel of a gun. Guns make us strong, powerful and capable. Guns are as American as apple pie, more so since pies didn’t defeat the Germans in World War II.
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But, really, this is not about gun control, because in a country where there are enough guns for every man, woman and child – how can a criminal not have access to a gun? Let’s face it: In a country awash with 300 million guns, criminals will always have access to guns (they can just break into your house and steal them). Besides, let’s be fair: Most of the mass shooters didn’t have a previous criminal history. They weren’t criminals until they went out and killed someone. Since guns are sacrosanct and you can’t read people’s minds, there is literally nothing that can be done.
So rest easy my fellow Americans. I am not advocating gun control because if the mass murder of women and children over the last few years couldn’t change anything – one more dead Mexican-American man on the Southside sure as hell won’t.
*Featured/top image: Public domain image.