Friday, May 27, 2022

America, This Is Exactly Who We Are!

We are a nation that loves our guns more than we love our children.
Don't waste your time telling me that we are not. 

Our inaction over gun violence since Columbine almost a generation ago
shows exactly what we value.
If we truly cared, we would have acted, made changes, addressed gun violence. 

President Biden got it right when he addressed the nation 
after the horrific mass shooting at Robb Elementary School 
in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022:

"As a nation, we have to ask: 
When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?
When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?"

I remember only too well when this national horror and shame
burst into our consciousness:
Columbine.  Colorado.  April 20, 1999.  Twenty-three years ago.

And the school mass shootings have piled up non-stop ever since.
Sandy Hook.  Stoneman Douglas.  Santa Fe.  Red Lake.  

We are a nation that is willing to endure too many of its citizens slaughtered 
by gun violence, because we love our guns more.

I live in Colorado where fellow Coloradans have been slaughtered
in school and in church and at the grocery store and at the movie theater.

Aurora.  Boulder.  Littleton.  Denver-Lakewood.  Highland Ranch.  Arvada.
All sites of some of the mass shootings in our Denver Metro area alone.
I can't keep track of them all.  There have been too many.
We do not act to decrease gun violence and mass shootings.  
We live with the risk because, as a nation, we love our guns more.

Almost five years ago, a mass shooter in Las Vegas fired a thousand rounds
from the 32nd story of the Mandalay Bay Hotel 
on a large outdoor group of concert goers. 
60 slaughtered.  411 wounded.  Over 400 more injured in the ensuing panic.
Obviously the bodies weren't piled deep enough, because we have failed to act.
We, as a nation, love our guns more.  

How many bodies from hated-based killings, homicides, drive by shootings, 
roving killers, suicides, and deadly gun accidents 
will it take to outweigh our love for guns.
Far, far more than anywhere else in the world.

Spare me your blather about thoughts and prayers and grief and God,
those of you who take money from the NRA for your political gain.
Those of you attending The National Rifle Association Conference 
in Houston, Texas this weekend,
while the truly-grieving parents of Uvalde, Texas
are arranging funerals for their dead children shredded by an assault gun ~
the AR-15 style rifle, dubbed "America's rifle" by the NRA.

You love your guns more than you love our nation's children, citizens, and residents.
Your actions speak far louder than your blather,
as you hold your hands out for more gun money.

"America's rifle" is a rifle that was designed to shred human beings on the battlefield.
As President Biden said, 
"Deer aren’t running through the forest with Kevlar vests on, for God’s sake."

Children are our hopes, our dreams, our futures.
They are precious to us.
They fill our lives with love and meaning.
Each one deserves to be cherished and loved and guided and protected.

The parents, the siblings, the extended families who have had children
slaughtered by guns will never be whole again.
That lost child will be missing from their lives for all the decades to come.
They are irreplaceable.

So much joy, happiness, love, and potential ripped from families in a heartbeat.
Gone.  Forever.  Irreplaceable.
What might the children have become, have done, if they had lived?

Today I quickly pulled random pictures from my extensive collection of photographs.
Most were taken by me.  Some were not.

Most of these children are the ages of the Uvalde children who were slaughtered.
They come from around the world and from several generations.

Most are anonymous children who crossed paths with me in fleeting seconds,
children who touched my heart with their innocence, vulnerability, honesty, 
their beauty, and sincerity.

Some are personal.  
Because it is at the personal level that we can truly grasp the horror, 
truly imagine the terrible loss of someone we love and could never replace.
Lost, not just in the moment, but in all the years of our future.

We could start to address gun violence by passing laws 
that the majority of Americans support:
* actually providing more funding for mental health screening and treatment
* mandatory and universal background checks
* licensing for gun purchases
* a national "redflag" law.

We have to begin somewhere, somehow to reverse 
the tide of gun violence that is drowning our nation.

Gun violence and mass shootings are complicated problems,
and finding solutions will not be easy.
But until we act we will continue to show the world that we are the nation
that loves its guns more than it loves its children.

We can't throw up our hands, give into despair, not act, 
even with powerful industries, lobbies, and political forces arrayed against us.
We can't continue like this, huddling and hiding 
in schools and stores and theaters and beauty spas. 
We must demonstrate that we are a nation that loves its children more than guns.

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

On the Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


  1. Eloquent, so well written, print a copy and present it to whoever is in power, make them realise this cannot continue. Print it in the Colorado papers, then across all USA. You will have so many agreeing with you, and I know if you were the President, the gun laws would have changed years ago. Be strong , stand tall. XXX and a heap of hugs from. NZ

    1. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Jean! I don't know if Uvalde will change anything this time, but I certainly hope we can get something moving.

      Listening to the news about the shooting yesterday was traumatic. More and more truth was coming out, and what was stunning is that it was the little kids who were following their training and trying to survive, while all those law enforcement professional adults were milling around in the hallway doing nothing.

      Not that I'm surprised by the children. I know what amazing human beings children are, and in many ways they are underestimated by adults. I know only too well what it's like to go through lockdowns with them. I was never in an active shooter situation at my school, but I have been locked down with my kiddos in a gun threat situation at there. The interviews with the little survivors were heart wrenching to listen to.

      I hope that you, Hugh, and family are doing well. A heap of hugs back at you!

  2. Sadly, painfully true. Thoughts and prayers will not bring a single precious person back to life.

    1. I know, Sue! It's sad and painful beyond words. It's the sanctimonious hypocrisy that makes me insane.

      I hope that you are enjoying a lovely autumn weekend. Hugs to you and take care!

  3. You are absolutely right, Louise. American gun culture is their god and human sacrifice is practiced without a second thought.

    1. You are so right, Debra! I've had that very thought myself. Please take care, my friend. Hugs to you!

  4. Well said, Louise. I was shattered when I heard the news about Uvalde - yet another massive shooting of innocents. Your blog today is so well written, thanks for putting into words what so many of us feel. I am so sad, and mad at those gun lovers and supporters at the same time. Hugs, Valerie

    1. Thanks for those hugs, Valerie! I needed them. I could hardly bear it yesterday, as more and more truth about the awful events emerged. It is shattering. It is incomprehensible. I'm furious and frustrated.

      And when I heard that President Trump and Senator Cruz proposed having schools with only one door, my brain almost exploded in a nanosecond. Talk about stupid and clueless. Saner minds need to prevail.

      I'm looking forward to visiting your post. I know there will be beautiful and inspiring art there ~ a balm for a troubled soul. Hugs back at you.

  5. I've owned guns since I was a teenager, but there is no reason why we can't have common sense gun laws. There should be background checks. Certain guns should be off-limits. Heck, in some states, there are limits to how many shells you can have in a gun when hunting. Limit the size of magazines. Also, it is disturbing that the last two shootings, but shooters were bullet proof vests. Why are they so available?

    1. I agree with all your suggestions, Jeff! They make so much sense!

      I am not against hunting guns, guns for recreational shooting at a range, black powder and musket events, skeet shooting, etc., and something for self-protection. I'm not against ranchers with rifles in their trucks or on their saddles when they're working on the range. What we don't need are weapons for war with high capacity magazines.

      And absolutely, safe storage should be required and an owner should be legally liable if something happens as a result of not storing a gun securely. As for no-permit, open carry? We're going to be back in the days of the Wild, Wild West with deadly gunfights.

      We've done a few buybacks in my community, and I think that's something that can chip away at the enormous stockpiles of weapons in our country. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, starting where you can, and moving forward.

      I grew up with guns and was handling them at a much younger age than you were. My dad was a marksman, and he taught marksmanship on the weekends when I was little. We lived in Charlottetown (a city!) when I was three to six, and I spent lots of Saturdays at an indoor shooting range with my dad. I even spent a number of times crawling around in the fields at a military outdoor range as he practiced target shooting. It seemed absolutely normal to go from my early morning ballet class to the ranges with my dad. Depending on where we lived, I continued shooting with my father until I immigrated to the USA.

      Unfortunately, it was in the US that I had several traumatic gun experiences, including being held at gunpoint certain I was going to die. I eliminated them from my life and blocked out all my knowledge of cleaning, maintaining, arming, and handling them. I have no regrets.

      Meanwhile, I hope you are having a peaceful weekend in your gorgeous area. Take care, my friend!

    2. Oops! I didn't realize that this was so long! Sorry!

    3. No problem. Sorry to hear that you were "assaulted" by a gun and felt your life threatened.

  6. The gun nuts come up with their own theories about how guns make us safer. But if you look at other countries especially Japan, we learn how very not true that is

    So really we have a choice, do we want guns or living children? Says a lot about the Republican Party

    1. Spot on, Adam! I hope you are having a happy Memorial weekend with your wife and beautiful daughter. Take care, my friend!

  7. Thanks for your comments, Everyone! I will be back to answer them and to visit around tomorrow. These past few days have been harrowing, and I have been full of anger, frustration, grief, and flashbacks on gun trauma in my own life and with gun violence and multiple school lockdowns with seven, eight, and nine-year-olds during my teaching career. 🙏🏼

  8. I have never understood how a nation could allow all people to possess guns, and it is horrific what that 18 year old has done. The poor man who's wife was killed also died of a heart attack, I can not imagine how all the families could have felt after being told of their loss. The only comfort I can give to the families is that I have had a near death experience and those poor victims will be in a beautiful place, and they will see them one day.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Brenda! One thing I've noticed, when I can bear to watch the coverage of the Uvalde mass shooting, is that the school's community has a deep faith tradition. They are drawing on the knowledge and consolation that comes with truly believing that their murdered children are with God now and that they will see them again. I think that is the one thing sustaining them as they move through these unbelievably difficult days.

      As for that poor teacher and her husband, they left behind four children. I can't even imagine what those children are experiencing.

      I can't fathom the insanity of some of the gun laws. I learned this morning that in Texas you can't buy a handgun until you are 21. That is a federal law that trumps state law. I already knew that in Texas you can buy a military assault AR-15 style rifle at eighteen. These rifles are not regulated by federal law, so Texas can set 18 years as the age to buy one.

      How does this make any sense? You can't buy a handgun at 18 in Texas, but you can buy a weapon of war!!! You can't buy an alcoholic drink until you are 21 in Texas. This is incomprehensible.

      Something MUST change this time!!!

      I hope that you are having a great weekend, far away from such crazy, insane, incomprehensible events. Hugs to you, my friend!

  9. Yep. It is pathetic how so few can stop the wants of so many. Just basic common sense laws could help a lot. But oh no, everyone has a right to guns. And not just normal protect yourself guns or hunting guns, but guns that can mow down people in seconds. Can't drink til your 21 but can buy a gun at 18. Yep. Makes total sense. Even most gun lovers agree with the background checks and red flags and such. Just super pathetic all around. Need to give these greedy sobs the heave ho and actually do what should be done. But oh no. Can't have that. Can't infringe on their big bad gun rights. Pfffft.

    1. Spot on, Pat! I hope these politicians do get the heave ho, but I am not optimistic. This issue along with the right to have an abortion will be the issues that decide my voting choices in the future.

      I can't fathom how people can care so much for the unborn and don't want to do anything for the children who are actually living in this world. They vote to cut and cut and cut funding for mental health services, education, psychological and social services in school, lunch programs for kids who are hungry. Their best solutions (Trump, Cruz) seem to be to have one entrance into a school and then arm it military style. But they'll do anything to defend their rights to possess weapons of war. I'd say I have no words ~ but I obviously do.

      Hug those precious nephews of yours! Take care, my friend!

  10. Your first line of this post is so true. There are people who say we shouldn't have legal abortion, but do they want to help families with children who need help? No. But we can't take away guns. It is the only way to protect ourselves. From what are we protecting ourselves though? People with guns. Its scare tactics. Thanks for all your lovely photos. And this thought provoking post. Have a great long weekend. Hugs-Erika

  11. Dear Louise. Thumbs up for everything you wrote in this post my friend. ♥

    1. Thanks, Rain! I was working on a TAD post, but after the events in Uvalde, Texas, I had to write about this. My photos are my art this week. I still have to visit everyone for TAD.

      I got behind in everything, because I was horrified, angry, heartbroken. It was a tough week, especially since I taught young children for my career. I process things through writing.

      I hope you are finding joy in sweet little Raven, Alex, and the rest of your fur babies.

  12. Oh, Louise, this really squeezed my heart. As a mother, I can't even begin to imagine the trauma faced by all these families. All these innocents taken so violently; their lives cut short. I cannot comprehend any of this. This was beautifully said, Louise. Thank you for sharing it.

    1. I can't comprehend it either, Martha! It's beyond me. I know how much you love your daughters; how much parents love their children. How much I love children, even if I don't have my own.

      And what is as incomprehensible is that we are not changing things.

      I hope that you are finding joy in your gardening this weekend. Hugs to you!

  13. dear Louise i think nothing can be said better than you said here ,this is shocking reality to learn that America has been going under mass gun shooting throughout the past week. I really don't have words to share my trauma here. what you said about guns here and the gun lobby is hundred percent true and obvious to all i believe . except having more loads of money in accounts there seem no other reason for showing such brutality ,the money that will stay here in banks and will not used by so many of them most probably because life is too short to spend it all yet lust is a dark well that cannot not be filled with millions of such loads. it is not about money or need it is about mental disorder where one is hungry and noting can satisfy him ,it is curse simply for heartless people to suffer with always.
    this is and all other issues that have become threat for humanity cannot not be solved until "public" is not united and demand for it's rights . life is gift from maker and taking it with such cruelty is sin and crime unforgiveable by nature ,the the origin and guardian of us who want us to realize when act unitedly and properly she is with us !
    i truly want to read the mind of person who can do this to others like him dear Louise .it is beyond my comprehension how anyone can fall such low and forget that he is doing this to people who did nothing to him .mental health check must be start on serious bases and gun must be banned for people at once .

    1. I'm glad that you didn't hear about this until now, Baili. I've been imagining you and your family having a nice time in Islamabad. And I know how much such an event would impact you.

      Thank you for your wise comments and insights. You always get to the heart of the matter, my friend.

      Politicians who support gun rights often will vote agains any increases in mental health programs and other services because they don't want to pay for them with higher taxes. From what I've heard and seen from Governor Abbott of Texas, he is putting resources into the Uvalde community. I think he knows that he has no choice but to do so because the public would be angry if he didn't.

      But resources are needed before such tragedies, in the hope that they will help prevent a troubled kid from falling through the cracks and committing such violent, incomprehensible acts. I had a number of disturbed children in my classroom over the decades. You can spot them. The problem is finding help for them, and you often are working against a system that doesn't want to pay for these things or draw attention to such things. My hope is that I know there are many compassionate, dedicated, caring teachers who do the best they can to help their school children.

      My heart goes out to the teacher who temporarily propped the locked door open that allowed the gunman access to the school. I've done that myself as a teacher a number of times, usually for a few minutes for some minor reason. You think it will be fine, because you can't imagine such a horror happening. I was lucky, as are all the teachers who have propped a door open. There but for the grace of God go I.

      I wish I could wave a wand and make these weapons of war disappear. But I can't. These politically-expedient cowards in Congress need to summon some courage and actually do something. Begin with what's possible, even if it's a small start. Start somewhere!!!

      Hugs to you my dear friend!

  14. Well said Louise, I just don’t understand what is happening in the USA. I do not understand a nation that loves their guns more than their children. Thanks for writing this blog. Oh and this is your sister Barb :)

    1. Thanks for reading my post, Barb! It means a lot to me! And thanks for being a good sport about my sharing family photos and stories of us so many times. You're the best, and I love you!!! And thanks for the great laughs this afternoon!

  15. Replies
    1. Thank you, Christine! My heart is hurting tonight with the Tulsa shooting.

  16. Question: How do you believe that passing more gun control laws, on top of the existing gun control laws that are or aren't being enforced, will stop the violence? Remember, if a person is determined enough to use an inanimate object for a nefarious purpose, they will follow the law of their state to a "T" in order to get that inanimate object; also, gun control laws are passed specifically for the purpose of law-abiding citizens such as the people commenting here, and not for criminals.

    So, in my opinion, more gun control will accomplish nothing, except restricting what a law-abiding citizen can or cannot purchase. And focusing on that, instead of other factors, will ensure that the cycle continues.

    1. Thanks for your comment, GB. Yes, if a person is determined to use an inanimate object to kill another person, he will. But, if he uses a a high capacity, military style weapon, he can do a hell of a lot more damage in a very small amount of time. The difference between the US and other countries in terms of gun violence is the horrific weapons that are so readily available here.

      Gun violence will never be stamped out anywhere. I understand that. My native province of Nova Scotia had a shocking mass shooting in 2020. But the incidences in other countries are so much lower. My God, tonight it's Tulsa, and there have been a number of mass shootings here since Uvalde.

      I'm not against responsible gun owners having guns. I grew up shooting with my father who was a marksman. But there is something wrong when an eighteen year old can buy essentially a weapon of war with no constraints. These weapons have one purpose: to efficiently and quickly kill people.

      There should be universal background checks. There should be a waiting period when buying a gun. There should be ways to keeps guns out of the hands of dangerous people. This is not unreasonable. We have 40,000 plus people killed every year with guns. I would think that responsible gun owners would be standing up for doing something to make a dent in this violence.

      I have had four traumatic experiences when my life was threatened with a gun. Two of them I'm not sure how I was lucky enough to survive. I've actually had ATF agents come to my house and tell me to leave town if I could, because of threats against me that I knew nothing about. I left town.

      And I have had way too much experience working with young children going through lockdowns, one at my own school that was real and others that were legitimate threats in our area. Something has to change. This violence has to be reduced. I'll take some lives saved over more taken, knowing that we can never prevent them all.

      People often say that we should be focusing on other factors regarding gun violence, like mental health. But the thing is that they are unwilling to pay the taxes to put the financial resources in place to actually deal with mental health. I fought that losing battle for years in public education in Colorado.

      Each of us is shaped by our experiences, GB. Thank you for thoughtfully expressing your position on this very difficult issue. This is not an easy time in our world, and thoughtful communication is sorely needed.

  17. ...sad, we could and should be so much more. I just read this morning that the local police in Uvalde are no longer cooperating with the investigation of the shooting. They are out to save their asses.

    1. And tonight it's Tulsa. My heart hurts, Tom. And I am emotionally exhausted. Peace be with you!


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.