The other morning, just before three, I heard Calvin call out to me from his bedroom which is attached to ours.

"Uh-uh," (Mama) he said, and then again, as if wanting me to come to him. By the time I reached his bedside he was in the thralls of a partial complex seizure, his lips pale, his eyes wide open. I squirted a tiny dose of THC rescue tincture under his tongue. The seizure stopped soon after, then he fell asleep in my arms, and didn't have any more. Still, I kept him home again (he missed three-and-a-half days of school last week) for a few hours while I monitored his behavior. The next day he woke up to a grand mal. It's an insanely long row we hoe, though not as long and hard as some.

Lamenting my relative lack of freedom, and while perusing social media as Calvin rested in bed, I came across a video of the carnage in the aftermath of the Las Vegan shooting, where a man killed fifty-eight innocent people gathered nearby listening to country music. The video was taken by a concertgoer carrying his smart phone as he went from body to bloody body looking for anyone who still had a pulse. One young victim had blood trickling out of her mouth, another, froth, their eyes glassy and partly open not unlike Calvin's after he's suffered a grand mal. Bodies were strewn in and between pools of blood, some crumpled together, some with folks kneeling by their sides holding vigil, while others were splayed out all alone.

I contemplated Calvin's demise if a shooter were to invade his school, knowing well that if his teachers were shot he would not know if to flee nor where to hide. It's insane to have to think this way.

When my brother called me the day after the massacre to say that he had been invited to the Vegas musical festival though hadn't attended, the hair on my skin pricked up, goosebumps covered my shins and arms imagining if one of the dead had been him. I began wondering how far Americans are going to let this type of thing go, this nation's unfettered and reckless epidemic of gun violence. When are people going to understand that owning guns makes us more vulnerable, not safer? When are we going to re-examine and understand the true intention of the second amendment? When are we going to stop fetishizing guns? When are we going to say enough is enough?

I swear our first amendment right to move about freely and safely eclipses the right to carry a loaded gun in public.

After the massacre, I heard the conservative talk show host Sean Hannity say, "You gotta prepare to defend yourself," suggesting that people needed to "get small" to avoid the rain of bullets, then insanely stating that if he had been there, he would have taken the shooter out. This perpetuation of the rash good-guy-with-a-gun narrative baffles me. I sat near Calvin, still sleeping in his bed, and began pondering other insane ideologies and hypocrisies:

The "pro-life" congressman who insists his mistress get an abortion. The folks who gripe about government assistance until they lose all of their worldly possessions in a hurricane. The people who malign universal healthcare until a catastrophic illness or injury forces them into bankruptcy. The so-called patriots who rail against Black athletes for peacefully exercising their first amendment right to free speech. The voters who elected a reality-show POTUS yet want comedians to shut up about politics for their lack of expertise.

Watching my seizure-ish boy sleep, I imagined the grieving mothers and fathers who lost children in the Las Vegas shooting, thinking maybe the tragedy will motivate congress into passing sensible gun-control legislation. I've heard that doing the same thing while expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. I can only hope that we're smart enough to sack those in the Capital who are no doubt certifiably insane.

Photo by Phoebe Parker


  1. Imagine Sean's scenario: Your at a concert where a shooting occurs. Someone pulls out their gun to try and protect the crowd. Someone else pulls out their gun and shoots THAT guy because he's got a gun! Yet another pulls out a gun to protect everyone and he's shot by someone else with a gun. Etc, etc. Soon EVERYone with a gun will be shooting at ANYone with a gun and because it's a crowd they'll be hitting everyone else too. *sigh

  2. It's all just too much.

    And that is a gorgeous photo