Guns Don't Kill Many People, Bullets Kill More. SJ Dodgson MJoTA v6n1 p0210
The eternal war of rich folks against poor folks drags on and on in the month that drags on longer than all the rest: February, the grayest month that smells of death and rotting Christmas decorations and the despair of bleeding hearts. Only 18 more days to go before this month is mercifully cut short sooner than all the rest and March gives us glimpses of flowers pushing up from the dirt that in February looks like the covering of graves.
We have had a snow storm or 2, a rogue cop shooting up his colleagues in California; and on Feb 4, at the Philadelphia Constitution Center, I even got to hear Vice President Al Gore tell his gloom and doom with a smile and tell us how optimistic he is about the future of the world and America!
Huh! This is the man who betrayed us when he had the single chance to defend us against the class war that has been waged on poor people by the rich. Mr Gore won the 2000 presidential election, but allowed himself, and the rest of the country, to be bulled into accepting defeat when he certainly won Florida. And no guns were involved.
This gun debate gets more bizarre by the minute. We have the former congresswoman Gabby Gifford, horribly wounded by bullets, and her husband, who was, wow, a human bullet - an astronaut - both saying we need gun control laws! But don't take their guns away from them.
And our president, who until now, managed to avoid falling into traps, being seen on the front page of the New York Times. With ear muffs. And a rifle. With a puff of smoke coming ou of the end. Bang! Bang! The clay pigeon is dead! The president needs to have fun with guns too.
I know guns. I know paralyzing fear. And I know lives shattered because of bullets fired from guns. Anyone living and working in Philadelphia, DC and New York as long as I have, nearly 35 years, has a long list of stories about gun deaths, and survivors. Here are 2 of my stories.
Louise died slowly, in her 50s, officially of lung cancer. But I know she died of a broken heart. She washed the glassware in the Physiology Chairman's lab at the University of Pennsylvania, taking over from Laverne after Laverne was fired for being late? Being intoxicated? Being unreliable?
I don't remember, but I remember Louise did not understand plumbing, but did everything we asked her, with the dignity and cheerfulness of someone who was thrilled to have a source of income. I don't know what we paid her, but I wish now it had been more.
She was a pillar of her church, and when she died, in Sep 1991, her coffin was right at the front of the AME church in West Philadelphia, and the mourners could not get over how she was funeralized in the church. Because that meant she was really important.
Louise had 2 sons when she died. Her third son was killed by a bullet when he was a teenager, visiting a friend who found a gun and showed it to him.
Laverne had come to us as a young mother of 3 sons: born when she was 15, 17 and 19. She was 3 years younger than me; while she was bearing children and mothering and not being formally educated, I had been galloping through my training as a scientist that landed me as a post-doctoral fellow at the University in Nov 1978.
In the years Laverne washed our lab glassware, and then moved on to office work after a disastrous stint running the lunch program (she really did not understand money) she gave an exciting afternoon when her boyfriend came to the department looking for her. He followed her into the ladies room and pulled out a gun, which was dramatically removed from him by the only tenured lady faculty. To be tenured is to be afraid of nothing at an Ivy League university.
After her boyfriend was arrested, and released, and smashed her face and put her into the hospital for several days, Laverne and her 3 sons were out of their house, staying with relatives. Hiding out as much as they could.
Laverne's life destabilized even more on New Years Eve, her birthday, when a fire destroyed absolutely everything they had.
Laverne's boys were 9, 7 and 5 when she came to us: gorgeous little boys. The smartest, the one that wanted his head in a book at all times, was the middle boy, Hakim.
In 2004, I heard that Hakim's head had recently been shot to pieces when he parked his car in North Philadelphia.