FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

In Order To Breathe

I understand Andy Parker, the grief-stricken father whose 24-year-old daughter Alison was slain on live television in Roanoke, VA.

When my nephew died in Iraq, I wanted to prevent other families from hearing the words delivered to my brother, “We regret to inform you…” I wrote my first op-ed and sent it for publication to a Kentucky newspaper, believing individual voices mattered, that I could make a difference. Even though signing petitions and participation in peace marches had accomplished nothing to thwart the Bush/Cheney bloodlust in the Middle East. For months after Chase’s death, I lay awake, thinking about his parents, siblings, and my parents, dwelling on the death of a child, children, and feeling panicky. How could I survive if this were one of my sons? I continued writing, spoke at rallies, protested.

I was on a mission.

Like Parker.

Like Parker, who asked, “How many times are we going to see a crazy person with a gun kill people?”

Parker’s prepared to become the “John Walsh of gun control” to challenge the National Rifle Association (NRA). His words:

I’m for the Second Amendment, but there has to be a way to force politicians that are cowards and in the pockets of the NRA to come to grips and make sense, have sensible laws so that crazy people can’t get guns.

Yes, I do understand Parker, recognize his silent wail of “oh, god, not my child, not my child, please not my child.” He’s in quicksand, suffocating, reaching for something firm. The answer to his immeasurable pain: tackle the vast. He has to believe in his success and gulp the spotlessness of hope in order to breathe.

So Parker is pouring his fall-to-the-floor pain into a cause—one that will slam him against those realities that the Karl Roves create and then spin to something else when and if enough of us grasp a truth that might tug at their design.

It’s not just a “crazy person” with guns though. The culture of aggression, dripping with violence, is pervasive. Drones, a president with a kill list, invasions, a conquest-oriented foreign policy, a conquest-oriented domestic policy enforced through police militarization, and an utterly terrifying array of politicians that pander to our basest predispositions: fear. And especially fear of anyone dissimilar.

Ten years have passed since Chase died. The Empire strikes and strikes and strikes. Gun shows flourish. Mothers support a baby with one arm while packing heat and a concealed-carry permit in a handbag in the other. Movies that glorify war are blockbusters, nominated for awards. Major sports events are military recruitment tools.
I understand Andy Parker. But I wonder when he’ll realize that if Sandy Hook failed to deliver gun control, nothing will. Because the masters of carnage are in control and are out of control.

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
July 18, 2019
Timothy M. Gill
Bernie Sanders, Anti-Imperialism and Venezuela
W. T. Whitney
Cuba and a New Generation of Leaders Respond to U.S. Anti-People War
Jonathan Cook
How the Goliath of the Jerusalem Settler Movement Persuaded the World It’s Really David
William Hartung
Merger Mania: the Military-Industrial Complex on Steroids
John G. Russell
The Devolution Will Be Televised: Our Body-cam President
Judith Deutsch
Psychology Stories: Children
Dean Baker
The Coal Industry is Not a Major Employer
Binoy Kampmark
Corporate Gangster: Adani’s Pursuit of Scientists
Thomas Knapp
National Polls Don’t Mean Much. Here’s Why.
Thomas Mountain
Africans Solving African Problems; Bringing Peace to Sudan
Ann Garrison
History Is Happening: WikiLeaks, the Global Fourth Estate
Elliot Sperber
Don’t Open the Door 
July 17, 2019
Manuel García, Jr.
Ye Cannot Swerve Me: Moby-Dick and Climate Change
Charles Pierson
Sofi’s Choice
Gary Leupp
Epstein, Jane Doe, and Trump
Rebecca Gordon
I Had an Abortion and Now I’m Not Ashamed
Peter Bolton
In the US and Brazil, Two Trends Underline the Creeping Fascism of Both Governments
Michael Kidder
“Go Back Where You Came From:” an Episode From Canada
Steve Early - Rand Wilson
How Big Strike 30 Years Ago Aided Fight for Single Payer
John W. Whitehead
Sexual Predators in the Power Elite
Michael Welton
Teach the Children Well: the Unrealized Vision In Teaching and Learning in the Residential Schools
Khury Petersen-Smith
Iran’s Not the Aggressor, the US Is
Russell Mokhiber
Kip Sullivan and Dr. Matthew Hahn on How Value Based Programs Are Undermining Medicare and Single Payer
George Ochenski
A Fearless and Free Press is Essential to Our Democracy
Lawrence Wittner
Billionaires and American Politics
Dean Baker
Cheap Shots at the Trump Economy
July 16, 2019
Conn Hallinan
The World Needs a Water Treaty
Kenneth Surin
Britain Grovels: the Betrayal of the British Ambassador
Christopher Ketcham
This Land Was Your Land
Gary Leupp
What Right Has Britain to Seize an Iranian Tanker Off Spain?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Democratic Virtues in Electing a President
Thomas Knapp
Free Speech Just isn’t That Complicated
Binoy Kampmark
The Resigning Ambassador
Howard Lisnoff
Everybody Must Get Stoned
Nicky Reid
Nukes For Peace?
Matt Johnson
The United States of Overreaction
Cesar Chelala
Children’s Trafficking and Exploitation is a Persistent, Dreary Phenomenon
Martin Billheimer
Sylvan Shock Theater
July 15, 2019
David Altheide
The Fear Party
Roger Harris
UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Bachelet’s Gift to the US: Justifying Regime Change in Venezuela
John Feffer
Pyongyang on the Potomac
Vincent Kelley
Jeffrey Epstein and the Collapse of Europe
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Hissy-Fit Over Darroch Will Blow a Chill Wind Across Britain’s Embassies in the Middle East
Binoy Kampmark
Juggling with the Authoritarians: Donald Trump’s Diplomatic Fake Book
Dean Baker
The June Jobs Report and the State of the Economy
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail