Landing back in the United States. Valentine’s Day surprise for a certain someone, I pass through the Atlanta airport in search of my next gate…and the smoking lounge.
Slightly buzzed from the cocktails over the Atlantic, my eye catches the TV affixed to the wall over my left shoulder. As a body in motion tends to stay in motion, my feet take three more steps before my brain commands them to stop.
Because my brain has just registered that my eyes just saw school kids running away, single file, from their school. Hands in the air.
There is no sound from the TV, but I don’t need it. Because this is America. And this is another fucking massacre.
And I can’t – but do – believe it.
17 this time, I find out later. 17 innocents, mostly young, people who did nothing wrong but wake up and go to school. On Valentine’s Day.
Bet the boys wished their Moms a happy V-Day before heading out that morning. The girls hugged their Dads with the same message. Maybe they had cards for them for later.
Now those parents had to figure out a way to bury them.
In the weeks that followed, I have remained in the States specifically to see what might happen next, refusing to believe that the answer is nothing.
I have seen these incredible Marjory Stoneman teenagers stand up against the most powerful force in America: apathy. I have seen them take on the mighty, but cruel, National Rifle Association, and I have seen the leaders of the NRA completely lose their shit because they don’t know how to fight these kids.
And I have heard some truly weird logic, first and foremost being that not only was it too soon to talk about guns in America, but that by doing so you might somehow be offensive to those whose culture is built around guns.
Offensive? Do you know what’s fucking offensive, folks? Having your school age son or daughter hunted down and slaughtered by someone with a weapon specifically designed to kill as many people as possible in as short amount of time as possible.
Do you know what else is offensive? And I’m talking to you, you redneck mother fucker, gun loving, uneducated, beer sloshed waste of a human.
You. You are offensive.
Your pathetic trailer park existence is offensive. Your inane belief that the black helicopters are coming for your guns is offensive. Your distrust of anyone even remotely educated is offensive. Your continued belief that Obama is a Muslim and wants your guns is offensive (Obama is a multi-millionaire with a hot wife, asshole. He doesn’t give a shit about you). Your racism is offensive, as if your representation of whites is something we should all emulate. Your hypocritical bible thumping – Oh Donald Trump, chosen by God – bull shit evangelism is offensive. You’re not Christians, you’re Republican stooges, being played by soulless politicians for your votes.
And speaking of politicians, there are hundreds – thousands – of elected dolts who are even more hypocritical than you. Who cower in the face of tragedy (yeah you Rubio, Trump, Ryan, McConnell). Who hide when the shots begin. Who wait for the NRA’s talking points, who blindly vote where the money is…
…and who don’t fucking care that American school-children are being shot and killed on a regular basis by other Americans who have unfettered access to the same type of lethal hardware that the U.S. military has.
There is a special place in hell for all of them.
America has more guns than people. Americans have somewhere between 5-10 million AR-15s.
Is there an invading army out there poised to strike that requires your citizens to be ready to repel?
Are the British coming back? Or perhaps it’s ISIS? As if your gun is going to stop a suicide bomber.
Hint to those among you who are particularly stupid, i.e. the majority: It’s not.
Or perhaps does owning a gun make you feel somehow more a man? Somehow tougher? Powerful?
Puhlease…you’re no different than a 60-year old driving a fire-engine red corvette. Yeah, we get it.
But I’ll tell you a secret as you sit there staring at FOX News and stroking your gun.
Those young adults from Marjory Stoneman, man, are stronger, smarter and more committed. Each of them hold in their hand the power of the web and our interconnected lives – and they know how to use it, how to wield it.
Those kids are done with you. They are done with the NRA. They are done with gutless politicians. They are not afraid and they won’t follow.
And on March 14, those kids and tens of thousands of others across the county got up at 10 a.m. and walked out of their school in protest, demanding not to be hunted anymore.
All these kids will grow up. They will vote. They will lead. And they will get the guns.
And in so doing, they will make America safe – and great – again.