Thoughts and Prayers

Thoughts and Prayers

A recent teaser ad for The New Yorker magazine hyped a piece titled “What’s The Matter With Men”?

The teaser went on to read as follows: “In South Korea, girls have been outperforming boys in school; in Sweden, researchers say they are facing a pojkkrisen, or ‘boy crisis’; and in the United States, the sex ratio at colleges is nearing two female undergraduates for every one male. ‘Is the second sex becoming the better half?’ Idrees Kahloon asks, in a probing piece in this week’s issue. Kahloon reviews Of Boys and Men, the latest book by the inequality scholar Richard V. Reeves, who writes that in our modern age, ‘working for gender equality means focusing on boys rather than girls.’”

Ah. So it’s time to shift our message of concern away from our recent halting steps to examine the saturative oppression of more than half the human species for approximately 12,000 years. Gee, good to know!

Ever so often, in fact far too often, this kind of message appears in both reputable and disreputable periodicals. When it does, I, like other feminists who are in touch with the real world, yawn, and continue our work. But this one made my teeth grind, which gives me a headache. It happened to coincide with statistics — excuse me, from that real world —about mass murder shootings in the USA just since the first of the year. There have been 40 mass murder shootings – and January isn’t even over yet. Last year there were 40,000 such deaths by gunshot. And since I’m bloody tired of joining groups, marching, signing petitions, and writing polemics and articles and appeals about the gun lobby and the NRA and congressional culpability and America’s manhood-obsessive-gun madness, this time my scream emerged in the form of a prose poem, titled:

Thoughts and Prayers

Bang bang, you’re dead.
How shocking.
Who’s surprised?
You have our thoughts and prayers.
Isn’t it dreadful. Domestic shootings, campus shootings, workplace shootings, school shootings, church shootings, dance-club shootings, domestic terrorism shootings, foreign terrorist shootings, nightclub shootings, teen shootings, racial shootings, sexual shootings, movie-theater shootings, multiple shootings, beauty parlor shootings, parking lot shootings, supermarket shootings, massage parlor shootings, Bang bang bang bang one a day keeps sanity away.

Hate crimes–what’s NOT a hate crime?
Hey, hey, hey, ask the NRA:
how many kids, how many kids, how many kids did you kill today?

Question: What is America?
Answer: A country with more guns than people.
Question: What happens from gun violence?
Answer: 12 children die each day.
Question: Where are guns used most?
Answer: Guns are used in intimate partner violence more than any other weapon.
Question: Who gets the shortest end of the stick ? Answer: American Indian/Alaskan Native, Black, Latina, and Asian American/Pacific Islander women–as well as pregnant and postpartum women. But the USA just l-o-v-e-s kids, right?????
Question: Are. The. Shooters. All. Male?
Answer: Well . . . one consistent element . . .

Bang bang. Our condolences. Balloons, bang goes the balloon. Grieving with you. Bouquets of flowers, rotting in the street. Thoughts and prayers. The community. Just devastated. Found a cache: more weapons. Everything happens . . . One consistent element. Candles, flickering in the dark. The families. Little notes: Baby, I ‘ll always love you. Friends colleagues co-workers. Press conference at 8 AM. The mayor, the police chief, the governor the panel, the experts, the commentators. The blood everywhere. . . . for a reason. Traumatized. Purchased legally. Our reporters . . . I can’t imagine . . . Bang bang I can’t conceive of how … who would have thought that … NRA . . . our hearts go out to you . . . Such a nice guy, . . . left a long Facebook message . . . how can the parents ever . . . Bang bang just a lovely man. . . outrage . . . don’t understand how . . . seemed so quiet and shy . . . Purchased legally. . . . the boy next door. God will bring us through this . . . thoughts and prayers . . . Vigils, songs, coffins. One consistent element. Open carry concealed carry flowers rotting, funerals. Sons. Daughters. Nightmares. Traumatized. Candles in little paper cups Open grief concealed grief. God cares. Responsible citizens . . . politicians. Must do something, definitely need to act, condolences thoughts and prayers See problem’s not guns, Hell, arm teachers and preachers, arm everyone. Bang bang bang bang problem’s not NRA purchased legally oh gruesome the blood everywhere One consistent element. Intensive search. Open carry. Suspect in custody. Suspect dead. Found the cache: ammunition. Thoughts and prayers. Incels — involuntary celibates, taking their revenge out on women. Copycats–emulators seeking their 15 minutes of fame. The aggrieved, the bigots, the racists the sexists the social-media haters. The nice guys. The blood, the blood. The veterans: ex-marines, soldiers. cops. Bang bang purchased legally, concealed carry. Always a loner . . . but always so friendly . . . One consistent element . . . can never feel the same not safe anywhere anymore. Always did seem peculiar to me . . . To me seemed such a normal . . . NRA Bang bang. Bang bang bang bang . . . YOU’RE DEAD.

Turns out left quite a trail.
History of domestic violence, ya know.
History of marital violence, ya know.
History of intimate partner violence, ya know.
One consistent element.
Well, it’s mostly crazies.
Well, it’s merely dropouts and retirees.
Well, it’s just psychos holding grudges.
Well, it’s only troubled teens.

The six-year-old boy. The 72 year old man.
One consistent element. One.

It isn’t every male, no, no.
It isn’t every man, oh no oh no . . .
It. Isn’t. Every. Man.
How can it be Everyman?

[This blog will be off next week but will return thereafter.]