Archive for March 28th, 2023

Gun Rites

GC Myers Two Sides  2006

GC Myers- Two Sides, 2006


The crucified planet Earth,
should it find a voice
and a sense of irony,
might now well say
of our abuse of it,
“Forgive them, Father.
They know not what they do.”
The irony would be
that we know what
we are doing.
When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon,
“It is done.” People did not like it here.

–Kurt Vonnegut, February 4, 2005.


Again and again.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

We chose this. We chose to tolerate the stupidity, selfishness, cowardice, and indifference that enables the culture of gun fetishism that is stalled over this country like a low hanging blood-filled cloud.

I think some people out there view it as a religious rite, a modern version of blood sacrifice. Simply the price we must pay to honor our Almighty Gun God.

Except instead of walking the Innocents up to the volcano, we send them off to school so that we might freely pose with assault rifles in front of our Christmas trees or fantasize about being John Wayne, James Bond, or Rambo or whoever the current bulletproof Apostle of the Gun might be. So that our elected officials might wear assault rifle pins on their lapels as a symbol of their devotion and loyalty to their holy master.

All it costs is a few kids every couple of days. That’s not too high a price to offer praise to the Gun God, is it?

Years ago, when I was first writing this blog, maybe 12 or 14 years ago, I had a reader object to something I had wrote about a school shooting that took place back then. She defended her Gun God fiercely, declaring that safety would only come with more people having more guns. I responded that if that were true, we should already be the safest place on the planet and that if you have to carry a gun to feel safe, you will never feel safe anywhere, anytime. 

As I said, that was quite a while ago and there are a many, many more guns out there. And many, many more sacrificial shootings.

I sure don’t feel any safer, though I would wager that I feel less fearful than many of those packing heat. 

In short, we deserve those things we choose.

Thus far, this has been our choice. And until we honestly choose to make real and effective changes, many more children and other folks will have to be sacrificed to the Gun God. Won’t be long– a few days or maybe a week– until this day’s shooting is faded from memory and the next time when we pretend to be shocked when the latest Rite of the Gun takes place. You can almost mark it down on your calendar. It’s coming any day now.

I’m done. Thank you for reading if you made it this far. I don’t know that Vonnegut’s poem fully fits today but it is born of the same attitude that shortens and degrades our time in this world, regardless of how it ends– by the gun or by our abuse of the earth.


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