Terry from Derry: I Don’t Like Mondays

Terry Boyle Byline
Terry from Gerry: I Don’t Like Mondays
By Terry Boyle

Released in 1979 ,the song I Don’t Like Mondays, was a success for Bob Geldof and hit on a very pertinent note, one that still continues to linger today, like a bad smell.  A sixteen-year-old, Brenda Ann Spenser, decided to go on a shooting spree. She killed two adults, injured eight children and a police officer. 

Her explanation for the rampant destruction of life was simply, ‘I don’t like Mondays.  This livens up the day.’  Horrified by the casualness of the teenager and the accessibility of weapons, Geldof responded with a message has still to be addressed. Why is America, the strongest democracy in the western world, so preoccupied with weaponizing its citizens.

The lax guns laws across this nation have done nothing to improve the lives of its people.  In just a short time, we’ve seen again and again how easy it is for someone to kill en masse. 

We were horrified by the shooting at Columbine High school in 1999, when thirteen people were shot and over twenty wounded.  In Flint, Michigan in 2000, a six-year-old boy fatally shot a classmate, making him the youngest school shooter. 

At Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, twenty-six people were killed, twenty of the deceased were between the ages of six an seven years old.  More recently in Uvalde, Texas, nineteen young kids and two adults were shot dead.

I’ve only chosen a select few, the most familiar, but if you go to Wikipedia and look at the number of school shootings since 2000, you will be shocked and horrified by what you read:

I say shocked and horrified, because in my mind, that’s the proper response to such atrocities.  However, the constant avoidance or unwillingness to do anything about gun control makes me wonder if indeed anyone is shocked or horrified enough to do anything about it. 

Republicans refuse to endanger their relationship to the NRA and continue to point the blame at mental illness, even when they resume to whittle down funds for mental health agencies.  Trump and Cruz’s idea of having only one exit/entrance to a school is so absurd that one wonders if they should think about investing in their own mental health.

The gun issue is not going away, even if we persist, as we have, in ignoring it. When we think of these shootings, it’s not enough to think of the numbers who have died and been injured.  What about the families, the classmates, and the teachers? 

If we tallied up the numbers for those affected by such shootings, we would hate to face the fact that many, many people are having to deal with the gun problem in a more visceral way than we do.  I wonder if Senators or Representatives would cow tow to the gun lobby if it were one of their own children who had been killed or injured. 

It’s easy to distance yourself when it doesn’t affect you.  Yet, we have elected them to represent us, not a powerful lobby who contribute to their political aspirations.   

Guns do not make you feel safer. I remember going to Guatemala a few years ago, and there were guards armed with machine guns at every shop or pharmacy. Did that make me feel safer? Is that how we want to live? 

The only way to make ourselves feel safer is to strengthen gun laws. If children can easily access weapons and carry out heinous acts, something is fundamentally wrong with our gun laws. 

We only have to look at the facts, and I don’t mean the alternative facts of planet Trump and those disconnected to any meaningful reality; we will see that the U.S leads the way when it comes to school shootings.  Other countries have had their problems with guns and their response, for the most part, is to make it harder for anyone to access weapons. 

When shootings happen here, protests occur, everyone seems temporarily stunned, but nothing changes.  We want our kids to feel safe, so we do nothing to help them feel safer.  If that isn’t rank stupidity, then I don’t know what is.

Does the United States Love it’s Guns More Than it’s Children
If someone from Ireland asked me if the United States loves its guns more than its children, I’d be hard pressed to argue against that.  What facts would I have to offer? 

I can imagine them doing what I’ve just done, listing down numerous examples of school shootings, and saying it’s not what you say, it’s what you do. Everybody has something to say about school shootings, but nothing gets done. Nothing that puts the lives of children ahead of the gun lobby. 

Every time I hear of another shooting, I’m reminded of the bumper sticker I saw in Derry, ‘invest in America, buy a Senator.’ How I wish that statement was not true, but it’s only too easy to show the tight connection between the NRA and politicians who refuse to support changes to the gun laws.

‘We the people’ are the only ones who can bring about change, by forcing our politicians to act on our behalf, and not their biggest financial contributor. We the many, can collectively protect the lives of our children by using our vote to communicate a very loud message to those seeking to be elected.  How many need to die before we act? 

It’s not simply the shooter who is responsible for these deaths. We, collectively, have created an environment that makes such shootings possible, if not easy. It is we who are partially responsible for each shooting by continuing to vote in people who refuse to support changes in the gun laws, whether Democrat or Republican.

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