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June 6, 1944
Our father's and grandfather's, anti-fascists all, stormed the beaches at Normandy. Today we pause to remember their sacrifice, and to consider if we've been worthy of it.
With another war in Europe raging.....and a British paramedic describing entering the Ukrainian town of Bucha shortly after Russian forces had retreated and finding rotting corpses hanging from the trees, one has to ponder that question long and hard.
Here in the US we have to pick our way through our own killing floor, made up of broken children and weekend revelers caught in a crossfire hurricane of bullets from guns more powerful than the ones our soldiers carried onto the French beaches.
How far away are we from Mickey Mouse opening up on Main St in Disney World?
This happens almost casually, imperceptivity. We're not at war. This is just us, out and about as the weather warms and the crowds get larger. We do it because it's easy.
Our nation of some 331 million people is awash in 400 million guns, double the ratio of the next closest nation on the list, which is Yemen, a nation that has been at war for the past eight years. This past weekend the US had 10 mass shootings.....including a blood bath on South Street in Philadelphia that killed 3 and wounded 11 others. South Street is one of the most popular locations in that city, with bars and restaurants and theaters, pulsating with the energy of college kids and tourists, and as a result is one of the safest and most cop-patrolled areas in the city. Yet it didn't matter. Bad guys with guns sprayed the area and got away before any good guys could react. In the morning the fire departments were hosing down the streets to get rid of the blood. My own daughter was only a few miles away from the carnage, attending a concert. We were texting back and forth as events unfolded, and neither of us learned of what happened until the next morning.
What exactly are we doing? This past Memorial Day, as we stood with heads bowed in front of the graves of men who were younger than my concert-dwelling daughter when they were sent overseas to war, did we have our fingers crossed behind our backs? What's our excuse for allowing a tiny cabal of grievance-addled cash-gorged home-grown fascists to block any meaningful attempt to decrease the body count? Tombstone, Arizona in the days of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, had more stringent gun laws than the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2022.
Here's where we are. In the wake of Uvalde, in which 19 4th graders were rendered unrecognizable by an AR-15, CANADA was so traumatized by our shitiness that THEY enacted stricter gun laws. Here in the United States, sales for the gun used by the Uvalde murderer TRIPLED in the state of Georgia. Just writing these words seems obscene.....but then I recall being compared to Yemen and Tombstone and coming up wanting, and that salves the wound. I'm not gonna say that gun manufacturers are actively cheering on the carnage, but it has been good for business. Just like war.
Them dividend checks never mention collateral damage.
A friend of mine told me of his weekend. His son was graduating, and in the midst of the ceremony my friend was scanning the crowd for shooting vantage points, and plotting his route and measuring the number of steps he'd have to take to tackle his boy and shield him from gunfire. When he sheepishly admitted to his wife that he was thinking this, she informed him she was doing the same exact thing. As he was telling me this it felt like bugs were crawling up my arms. If this is what the parents were thinking, what was going through the kid's minds?
What happened 78 years ago are the ultimate stakes we're playing for. What our fathers and grandfathers fought and died for should reside in the DNA of every American. And yet somehow, in some sort of right wing Jurassic Park, the strand has been diluted with white Jesus and the same type of racist nationalism that turned Germany, one of the most advanced nations on earth, into a murderous insane asylum.
Somebody snuck it out in the bottom of a shaving cream can, and set it loose on a post-Watergate world.
I'm not sure how anybody willing to step over dead bodies to preserve their perverted view of "freedom" is doing anything other than pissing on the graves of D-Day heroes.
The dead are their great-grandchildren.
Are we worthy?
No, we’re not. At all.
In a bit..