Why I Don’t Want Gun Lovers Grieving Another Massacre Alongside Me

I am grieving again today.

Once more I am mourning the senseless execution of beautiful souls taken in the prime of their lives and in the middle of their innocent ordinary. I am again grieving more premature funerals and canceled weddings and discarded futures—and I want to be alone right now.

Gun lover, please don’t tell me you’re grieving along with me today too. You’re welcome to mourn, but I don’t think I want your company right now. 

If you’re still against sensible gun control measures—I don’t want you to grieve alongside me today.
If you’re part of the zealous, gun-glorifying community—I don’t want you to grieve alongside me today.
If you’re a militant, unrepentant NRA apologist—I don’t want you to grieve alongside me today.
If your right to bear arms ultimately matters more to you than the human wreckage strewn about movie theaters and shopping malls and elementary schools and nightclubs and hospitals and festival grounds—I don’t want you to grieve alongside me today.

Not again. Not now. 

I just can’t accept your condolences and prayers and claims of solidarity—not now.

If I do, if I allow you to bow your head with me and speak a quick prayer before moving on to the exact same posture and practice and politics, then it feels like I am just consenting to more murder. It becomes an empty gesture. As a lover of life and person of faith I simply can’t do that in good conscience, and so I ask you to allow me to mourn in peace right now.

Words of sadness and offers of prayers alone are not significant enough now.

Any expression of grief that doesn’t come with an admission that guns, their easy availability, and (perhaps most importantly) a politically fueled Wild West culture that nurtures their worship are a central part of the problem here—rings hollow to me.

Any claim of mourning that doesn’t also demand some substantial change in how we promote, regulate, access, and talk about firearms is just crocodile tears and a slap in the face to families of the dead.

It all feels ultimately like empty words.

I’ve had enough of empty words.

And “thoughts and prayers.”

I’m really tired.

I’m tired of a centuries-old amendment being propped up as being relevant in any way to this time and place in history and to the purpose it was ratified in the first place.

I’m tired of a John Wayne, cold dead hand, OK Corral romanticism that makes guns, not some necessary evil but a sexy status symbol of true Americans.

I’m tired of partisan media sky-is-falling, fear-mongering that makes people believe their immanent danger requires an arsenal always at the ready; in their kitchens and in their cars and at their ankles.

I’m tired of a culture that sees repeated mass shootings as the acceptable collateral damage of some supposed personal freedom.

Most of all I’m tired of premature funerals, lives taken before their time, and of people who never seem to give enough of a damn to stop it from happening again.

I fully realize if you’ve fully bought into the lie that says guns are absolutely necessary, entirely neutral, and constitutionally guaranteed—you really don’t care about any of this.

You already likely know the numbers and the statistics and the reality too, but you dismiss it all or rationalize why none of it is relevant. You’ve washed your hands of culpability in the continuing slaughter and exonerated guns and you don’t care to entertain conversation—which is your right.

I’m not going to demand that you conform to my convictions. 

I’m not going to try and convince you of what seems so very obvious to me, but I’m also not going to allow you the courtesy of saying you mourn as I do and suffer alongside me, because that simply isn’t true. 

You grieve gun violence while loving and celebrating and worshiping your guns.
I grieve gun violence while abhorring guns and wanting us to make them more difficult for sick, angry, unhinged, malevolent people to have.
I guess we have a different idea of grief, you and me. 

I respect your position and reserve your right to mark this tremendous loss on your own if you want, but I’d like some distance right now because your presence is simply salt in these terrible, ever-multiplying wounds.

So today, after yet another gun tragedy—please let me mourn in peace.


591 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Want Gun Lovers Grieving Another Massacre Alongside Me

  1. Don’t need your approval to tell me how to feel or react. I believe in the 2nd amendment and I will grieve if I want too! Your approval is not required or necessary.

    • Did you pay attention to anything the article said? They don’t have a problem with you grieving. Just stay the hell away from us people who don’t think the USA needs to be some Wild West show with dumbasses with no actual safety training toting assault rifles around the supermarket. And, btw, the 2nd Amendment talks about a well regulated militia, not your paranoid ass. If you want to tote around assault rifles do like I did & join the military, you big, tough man.

  2. So, here we are again. 58 dead. Hundreds wounded. The same tired thoughts & prayers are pouring in. The murderer’s past is being analyzed. The 2nd amendment worship is surely soon to follow. All I know is that this guy couldn’t have accomplished this massacre with out the help of his gun.

  3. Translation: “I care more than you do because I care about the right things in the right way and am, therefore, more like Jesus than you are. And you don’t care like I do, so you’re evil and I won’t listen to anything you say about the terrible shooting in Vegas”.

  4. So, your response to tragic loss of humanity, is to try and strip away the humanity of those who believe in the 2nd Amendment and it’s importance to the founding of a free nation?

    To those who have studied history, and the countless slaughters of a disarmed populace by both tyrannical governments and those who would take them over… and therefore understand exactly why the Founders of this great Country decided from its very onset that the people should be armed against either of those aggressions… those people can’t grieve the actions of a mad-man?

    What arrogance it would be if those who have a stance on strict immigration shunned your humanity every time a radicalized immigrant inflicted terror on innocent people. What if their response was to eschew your emotions and degrade your “thoughts and prayers” because you have a belief that the greater good outweighs the actions of a few bad actors.

    If your instantaneous reaction when tragedy strikes at the hands of a lunatic is to make your own self feel good by relegating those of a different opinion to a lesser class of people… well, you might want to have some deeper conversations with the man upstairs about whether you REALLY love humanity, or you only love yours.

  5. Well stated. Folks have asked me why the fundamentalists seem to worship guns more than God and why they don’t understand that Jesus was a Prince of Peace. I don’t have an answer.

  6. Pingback: Why I Don’t Want Gun Lovers Grieving Another Massacre Alongside Me | williamlsyublog

  7. John,

    My heart is with you. Thank you for saying this. It is exactly what I am feeling as well.

    And, I am sorry. I am sorry that that people full of ignorance, anger, hatred and fear feel entitled to come to your space and defend their myopic gun loving views, especially after you have explicitly asked for solitude and peace. I am so sorry they could not respect that.

    Keep the faith. Life, and love, always finds a way.

Comments are closed.