My Mom sent me a message a couple of days ago stating that I should be careful. She just heard about a shooting in Walmart, which happened to be the El Paso Texas shooting. I live in New England, but Mother’s worry and it’s perfectly okay. The shooting left twenty-two people dead and a lot more severely injured. This act of senseless violence was carried about by a single man who in minutes took the lives of not one or two but twenty-two individuals who had their various lives ahead of them. They all woke up that morning in their different abodes and thought they were going to come back home. Look at what one man did…
If you’re close to me, you know that I have a very paranoid mind. I worry a little too much. situations that do not have logical explanations bothers me. When I worry, my mind becomes fragmented. There are bits and pieces of fear, anxiety, agitation, confusion, and angst scattered everywhere. It’s no longer a functioning mind, it’s a mind that has allowed the harsh realities of life envelope it. Unfortunately, I haven’t evolved from that mentality. I am still a slave to paranoia. People say I worry too much. I am aghast at people who worry too little. This worry that has been deemed unfit has kept me safe when I should have been swept away by a tide of unfortunate series of events. This worry may never go away because each time I think about gun control, it spikes a little more.
When I hear a shooting has happened in a place or to someone, my first instinct is to google it. I want to know who it did, when it happened, how it happened, and why it happened. I want to know the victim(s), name(s), occupation(s), and their life history. In a way, I immerse myself in their story and become one with them. Typical of an empath, I know. I stay up to date with the developing stories, if the assailant was caught, I stay up to date with the trial. Someone has to pay, and I make sure I follow up until the jury delivers a verdict.
When the assailant commits suicide or is never caught or worse, gets away with the crime by the justice system finding that person inculpable, beyond a reasonable doubt no less, my anxiety level increases. My first thought becomes how dare this person? Who gave you the right to think you can take the life of another human being and even get away with it? the mere thought of it infuriates me.
Think about this, seeing a gun pointed at you knowing well that this is it. If heaven is not smiling on you that day, your light is about to be switched off forever. Imagine you staring into the eyes of the last person you are ever going to see, the barrel of a gun pointing at you. Imagine the person pulling the trigger, hearing the hammer in the rearward position being disengaged. picture the pointy head of a metal that has been designed for the sole purpose of causing harm piercing your skin. Imagine the loud sound ringing through your eardrums as your body hits the ground in a thud. Like a lug of wood, you lay there, unable to move. Imagine the searing pain, imagine gasping for air because your lungs are beginning to be filled with your own blood. Imagine wondering to yourself what did I do to deserve this? Why me? Imagine trying to scream for help but you can not find your voice. You probably have people who are not worried about you yet because they think you’re okay, or they think you’re with someone you trust. Imagine the cold, the loneliness, imagine….
I’ve had a gun pointed at me once, a long time ago. We were stopped by the police in Nigeria on our way to the village. The policeman was harassing my mother because he thought his uniform and firearm made him a god. My anger usually has no boundaries and my temper is like a bottle of red wine that has been spilled on a white carpet. Whoever it is directed at is out of luck. So, I got out of the car, furious with this uniformed man and I start yelling at him. For a minute he was shocked when he regained his composure, he took out his firearm and pointed it at me. He said to my mother “madam, I will shoot your daughter”.
I was not scared, I was defending my mother, if his worse was ending my life, he should go ahead and pull the trigger. At this point, I was already crying. Tempers were flaring and at that tender age, I could not deal with how upset I was by the whole situation. My Mom had to forcefully command me to stop talking and get in the car. It wasn’t until we had left the checkpoint that I realized, if he had shot me at that close a distance, I wouldn’t be here today.
We worry that if we don’t have guns and bad people try to hurt us, we wouldn’t be able to defend ourselves. I worry that because we have guns, we defend ourselves even when we don’t need to, even when we don’t have to. Think about the millions of innocent lives that have been ripped away from their loved ones because another human being with a reprobate mind was having a bad day.
Think about a mother who carried a child in her womb for nine months, watched that child take first steps, groomed that child till he/she was strong enough to leave the nest. Now imagine that one phone call that takes it all away. A father, whose love has no bounds can no longer hold the hands of his daughter or his son. A sibling has to walk this earth incomplete. Loved ones who now only have memories to hold on to. I have never been there before, but I would hope in my life to never have to experience such a gut piercing, mind-numbing agony.
Back to the story of the shooting in Walmart. This time around, it was different. I was not about to literally live in the reality of innocent victims. I told my Mom I was safe, I prayed and got my mind busy so I wouldn’t have to think about gun control. As a black woman with black brothers, God knows I worry about them every single day. As a human being with empathy, God knows I worry about the world every day. As a person with paranoia, God knows I worry about me too.
A firearm created to protect has become what people use as a weapon of destruction. I am not saying I understand a lot of what happens in the world. Is it a question of gun control or self-control? I probably can’t answer that. Something has to be controlled because, at this point, I am at my wit’s end.
We have to do better.
Featured image: By NurPhoto/Getty Images March 2019.