We Still Have Our Guns

They killed all the children in Nacirema.

It started slowly: a child shot dead by a stray bullet while playing outside her house. It was an accident. Someone shot a gun into the air and it ended up in a little girl’s head as she played hopscotch on the sidewalk. In someone’s hood, a little boy was riddled with bullets during a drive-by. He was in his room playing video games. By the time he heard the bullets, they were already through his window and in his heart.

For a while we thought that the only place children would be killed were in little forgotten ghettos overrun by drugs and violence.  But then occasionally there would be a shooting in a school, and a couple more kids would die. At first we didn’t think too much of it. A sad kid wanting to express himself and death was the only way he saw out. He suffered so much and wanted everyone around to suffer with him.  We never condoned it but we didn’t think there was a big issue to be solved. The events were random and scarce: everybody would make a big fuss about it for a week and then everything would die down, leaving the friends and family of those slain children to deal with their losses on their own.

But then it started happening more frequently. Young black kid shot by police while playing with a toy gun, while broken down on the side of the road, in front of his family, in the back seat of a car, unarmed, hands up, walking away. It didn’t matter, they were being killed. But those were not just kids, they were adults too, lots of different people. So we blamed it on a couple of socially ignorant cops, because God forbid it be about race.

A couple kids dead at a local breakfast diner. A couple people dead in a movie theatre. Some more gunned down in a nightclub. People massacred at an outside concert. These we chalked up to mental health, and don’t get me wrong, mental health did play a factor, but people never truly cared to do something about it. The government sure as hell didn’t. They would say that there is no explanation for why people do the things they do and there is no real way to stop them from hurting innocent people. They would say that sometimes bad things happen to good people. They claimed to give their thoughts and prayers, but very few actually prayed.

The years they killed all the children were tragic ones. Five dead here. Ten dead there. Seventeen slain. Six years old, nine years old, fourteen years old, seventeen years old—it didn’t matter. The numbers just kept rolling in. Mass shootings in schools became the norm. You would send your child to school and prepare for the possibility that someone could possibly walk into their classroom that day and end it all. What was worse? The government didn’t care. Their excuses and reasonings for the shootings varied:

“There were too many doors and windows.”

“Children were on their phones too much.”

“Kids don’t know how to defend themselves from semi-automatic weapons.”

“Porn causes it all.”

The excuses went on and on and on. The solutions were even worse: At one point they suggested placing pails of rocks in schools for students to throw at shooters and arming teachers with guns.

Children were pleading for their own lives. They marched, they walked out, they screamed, they cried, they lost their friends, they lost their siblings, and the adults who were tasked with running the country and protecting them did nothing to save them. These adults cared more about unborn children and their guns than the children being killed by the same guns they fought so hard to protect.

As for my generation, many of us were so horrified, we decided that it would be best to hold off on having children. A pill was developed that would allow us to be temporarily sterile. It was kind of like birth control but you only had to take it once.

Having children seemed like too much of a risk. We didn’t want to go through the journey of falling in love with a child and having them ripped out of our lives by a government who didn’t give a damn about them.  Unfortunately, that temporary sterility became permanent. The medicine was faulty and left most of my generation forever unable to have children.

We don’t have any more school shootings in Nacirema. We don’t have any more schools in our country.

The rest of the world saw what happened and families from other countries refused to live here for fear of their kids’ lives.  Naciremans were banned from other countries. They were afraid that we would come and kill their children too. I don’t blame them: Nacirema didn’t care about our own children, so what’s to stop us from killing the children of other places?Everyone who could get out before the ban, left. Some of us didn’t see the ban coming until it was too late. Some people fought for the remaining children, but in the end we still lost. All of the children still died.

Yesterday, the president tweeted:

“We have made great strides! For the second year in a row we have 0 school shootings! This is record breaking! Something no other President has been able to achieve before me. In addition to this, we still have our guns! This year, guns have killed less people than drunk driving has. We have made our country great again.”

We are a dying country.

We have no children and no future.

They killed all the children.

But at least we still have our guns.