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  • Writer's picturePenny Sterling

Binge Reaction

Saturday was a day of relaxing after my niece's wedding, catching up with an old friend, and then a mad dash across the state so that I would only be half an hour late for the job I had lined up last night. So it was after 10pm when I read about the Mass Murder by Gun at the synagogue in Pittsburgh.

And I realized I was behind on my Mass Murder by Gun outrage. Everyone else was talking about this Mass Murder by Gun when I was still trying to figure out what I was gonna say about the last Mass Murder by Gun in Kentucky.

And don’t get me started on the guy mailing bombs to the people and organizations constantly targeted as “enemies” by the current president. I’m far enough behind already. I don’t think I can start a new series, even if it is a dark comedy.

Well, can you blame me? I was all involved in dealing with the hate bomb casually lobbed at me and people like me by my local business journal. And I had all this stuff that’s--y’know--my everyday life I need to deal with.

My Mass Murder by Gun queue is filling up. Guess I’ll just have to binge react.

And if you think it’s horrible to write about the deaths of innocent people like it’s a Netflix series I’m behind on, you’re God-damned fucking right it is, but here we are.

Know what’s bothering me? Ed Harrell. Name ring a bell? Wait--was he the shooter in Pittsburgh? No, that’s Robert Bowers. And the Kentucky shooter’s Greg Bush. The bomber’s...Cesar Sayoc, right? So who the hell’s Ed Harrell?

He’s the guy who didn’t shoot. He’s the one who you would think would be the right’s wet dream of a human. The guy in Kentucky who was packin’ heat and was right outside the Kroeger’s when Bowers walked out, gun still smoking. The one who--in every narrative put forth by the right is the solution to the problem of Mass Murders by Gun--should have met the killer with a steely-eyed glare, and outdrawn the bad guy and sent him to his just rewards. But the guy who confronted the shooter--didn’t shoot. Because Bowers hit him with a diabolical ploy that apparently rendered him powerless in that instant. He said:

And so he didn’t. Bowers wasn’t some crazed man who was killing people indiscriminately--he was a discriminate killer. Whites were safe. Carry on.

Am I being too harsh here? Is that an unjust characterization by someone who was nowhere near the situation? Am I making several wild leaps of logic in order to reinforce my particular worldview? Am I skewing the narrative to prove a point? You’re God-damned fucking right I am.

So tell me how different it is from saying “If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him.” That, of course, is what the president of the United States said after the Mass Murder by Gun that happened in Pittsburgh yesterday. Looks like he’s more caught up on his Mass Murder by Guns than I am. Maybe he’s not as busy as me.

It echoes what he said after the Mass Murder by Gun that happened at a high school in Parkland, Florida (ignoring the fact that--y’know--there actually was an officer with a gun there at the time), and what just about every person who views the totality of American existence through the lens of one-half of one Amendment (glossing over the A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State part) seems to believe. Shoot the shooter. Hooray, America!

But underneath that statement is the Get Out of Jail Free card of Whites Don’t Kill Whites. Unless, of course, they’re Jewish. Or Muslim. Or homosexual. Or transgender. Or the wrong shade of white, or are seeking refuge or if they just don’t believe that the solution to people shooting people is more people shooting people. Then they’re fair game.

Not just them. Me. I’m fair game. I’ve known this for some time. I’ve known it since I joined Facebook and started making contact with my old high school classmates and discovered how many of them not only were preparing for the end of society, but were hoping for it. One of them--a guy who I regularly ate lunch with back in the day--even told me how much he hoped he could kill me, just to prove is point, apparently. And this was before I transitioned.

I mourn for the loss of life in Pittsburgh, and in Kentucky, and here at home. I mourn for the scared desperate people who are trying to escape terror and discover it’s waiting for them here in a country that calls itself the land of freedom and opportunity. I mourn for those of us who are increasingly aggressively marginalized, both socially and legally. But I’m also furious, and rather than lash out indiscriminately, I’ll channel it here. And in the voting booth.

I’m aware that I’ve been blessed with an astounding (to me) number of new “friends” and followers here on Facebook. I was actually planning to write something that said “I mostly just talk about my kids and cats and post pictures of food” when I got out of work last night. I really want to get back to that. Vote, please.

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