Umpqua and Enough is Enough


This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loves ones because of our inaction. When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seatbelt laws because we know it safes lives. The notion that gun violence is somehow different—that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt, and protect their families, and do everything they do under such regulations—doesn’t make sense.” —President Obama on the shooting in Roseburg, Oregon

Like he says, thoughts and prayers are not enough.

How can this not be the easiest thing in the world to see?

We don’t need to keep access to high powered rifles in case our government takes us over. We have access to changing the government if we want to — it’s called voting.

We can’t keep doing this, we just can’t.

Call me paranoid, but every Sunday when I’m sitting at the piano at my church job, or in a large crowd outside in my city, or teaching a class at my community college (where students have been escorted from classrooms, or police have knocked on the door looking for someone) I realize that this could happen to me. It could happen to anyone.


Voters who think one issue is the most important often feel that way because of abortion. But consider this: if you actually believe life begins at conception you also have to realize that life does not end at birth. Are you therefore willing to vote to support access to healthcare, food support for poor families, decent education opportunities for EVERYONE (not just the children in your neighborhood), clean air and water, preservation of the planet, and THE RIGHT OF US TO LIVE NOT IN FEAR OF THIS HAPPENING NEXT WEEK, at your place of work, or at your children’s school?

This has passed beyond ridiculous.

Please pardon my language, but enough is fucking enough already.

6 Responses to “Umpqua and Enough is Enough”

  1. October 2, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Blog entries like this serve to remind us non-Americans to not paint every citizen there with the same brush. From the outside America may seem to be completely mental (pick pretty much any topic: GMOs, Kardashians, abortion, religion, Trump, health care, climate change, gun control, foreign policy…) , but not, we are refreshingly reminded, all Americans within it.

  2. October 2, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I’m with ya’, brother, all the way. (I might actually be a Canadian, switched mysteriously at birth.)

    The thing is, I actually think the majority of Americans agree with my viewpoint on this; but we’re not the ones with the money and influence and the NRA is; plus as a whole we’re kind of stupid about educating ourselves and voting intelligently (or voting at all). Pretty shameful, actually.

    People make arguments about personal liberty, but what kind of liberty do you have when this can, and does, happen on an almost-weekly basis? Freedom from what? Freedom for what? How about freedom to live without quite as much fear and random acts of violence?

  3. October 5, 2015 at 1:43 am

    As a non-American the logic is ‘obvious’, but I can also see that it’s not an issue of logic. Clearly there’s some sort of historical factor in play, a deep suspicion of government intervention, combined with a “it wouldn’t happen to me” factor that ignored the facts but stops voters from opting for change.

    I therefore have no idea how change can be brought about when each incident such as this only directly impacts a small number of people (and even several hundred would be ‘small’ in this context) and so many of the rest of America just see it as an isolated wacko person going crazy, rather than a systemic flaw in the way society works.

    Depressing and infuriating for you, of course.

    • October 5, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      It is depressing and infuriating. And even more so when you see people writing things like “if a drunk driver kills someone and you don’t take my car why do you have to take my gun?” The arguments against such idiocy are too many to enumerate here.

      There is a seemingly uniquely American historical animosity towards this issue and its supposed governmental interference with personal liberty, but the same people who defend this very idea also believe that the government should retain control of a woman’s uterus, that their religion should be considered when making policy decisions — and without any sense of irony whatsoever, or apparent awareness of the loss of liberty for the 30-some thousand people who are killed by guns in this country EVERY YEAR. We are our own terrorists, and refuse to see it or do anything about it.

      A lot of people have a lot of thoughts, ideas, opinions that are purely reflexive, not all that considered. Unfortunately these same unconsidered thoughts, ideas, and reflexive opinions are taken to the voting booths and to the radio talk shows and to social media, where everybody is just shouting at each other and nothing actually changes.

      The fact that there are 10 people in this country who take Donald Trump seriously is a symptom of this, and appalls me.

      In Australia there was a mass shooting, and the government said “Give us your guns” and the Australian’s said “Okay.” And how many people have died from gun deaths since then? A handful. Why is this so hard for us to see?

      • October 5, 2015 at 6:47 pm

        I think the reason this could happen in Australia is that the number of gun-owning people was already small enough that they could be easily out-voted by the majority of ordinary people who had never owned a gun and were alarmed at the prospect of being potential victim. So to reduce gun ownership from say, 2 or 3% of households to 1% of households is politically easy (I don’t know the actually gun ownership rates, they’re quite possibly as low as < 0.1% of households). In the USA I believe existing gun ownership is more like 30% of households, so that's a big lobby group who could see themselves as adversely affected by increased gun controls. (And by the way, the religious lobby is probably much bigger in the USA too, with church attendance being perhaps 4 times higher in the USA – also maybe 30 to 40% – than Australia where it's less than 10%.)

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