Through The Thicket

A friend posted a video on Facebook (at the bottom). It’s comedian Jim Jeffries’ take on the social dis-ease we’re all experiencing now in one way or another. Mass slaughters affect all of us.

After a string of days-turned into weeks of shock, sadness, anger, getting on with life, yet again, I appreciated how Jim encapsulates a perspective with levity.

It made me wonder what makes a comedian funny or relatable when talking about big stuff? For one, they’re great at delivering subtle shades and layers of truth about life and ourselves. And, so we laugh. Things we know and feel, but don’t talk openly about, or the parts that are misaligned on our soul level, but on the surface, we hang on to the status quo in fear that even some change changes everything. (It doesn’t).

There is much to ponder in dichotomy. This comedian’s musings of how we arm ourselves, and why, sting true. And, so we get the reprieve of lightening up, feeling ordinary during sub-ordinary times.

The thing is, I don’t want to become numb, desensitized, or live in a country or world that is. And, remaining complicit is a slow slippery decline.

I’m not party-line loyal or a one-sided type. So, not debating or hating here, just figuring and feeling my way through. Trying to grasp my perspective. No placating, victimy BS tone intention. I was just nudged to lay it out here, in a public sort of narrative, to maybe help others who are still in the thicket, too. Feeling it all, the dark, dense, immobile.

The last six weeks of mass slaughters shook some shock factor out of me. And that is not good. I don’t want to mask my sensitivity.

So here I am. Disturbed and slightly pissed at the lack of response to how this type and various other styles of semi-automatic assault weapons are continuing to be mismanaged after showing up as the weapon of choice. (This post is about the ridiculously easy access to this style of weapon).

We are not adapting to the level of slaughter.

Yes, a mentally unstable person misuses a weapon, not a stable one.

Yes, if there wasn’t access to this style of semi-automatic weapon another style would be used.


A smaller sized magazine allows for hesitation as one swaps out the magazines more often. It doesn’t matter how fast one is, it’s still hesitation. Less powerful.

It allows more chances of bullets to not be in the air,

…for a teacher or student or anyone in any predicament to react, take the perp down, or do something that saves a life. I don’t have any experience with gun magazines but, as a professional photographer, I have plenty of experience with film magazines. Very different beast. But, not completely. In the days of film, I would preload several film magazines and keep them on my body. I got my time down to just several seconds to expertly detach one and attach another. That downtime is now an annoyance in our instant gratification world. Have you ever waited to go through a toll booth because the attendant had to break open a new roll of quarters to give you change, so it took a few more seconds for you to move on…before we had tolls zapping our credit cards through our windshields? That kind of hesitation. Eventually, all the magazines would be used. Filling them takes even longer. These small magazines that allow downtime is everything for a person who can make a move. Smaller, more analog magazines matter.

Changing access won’t deter those intent on committing a mass shooting in the future, but it may lower the casualties.

Lower the casualties

My daughter is in the public-school system, possibly for decades. She is a dedicated caring 4th-grade teacher. Knowing her deliberate kind nature as I do, I have imagined her response, strategies, and mental exit plan if someone walked into her school with an assault-style weapon with an intent to ‘kill as many as they can’ before they are taken down. (Obviously surmising, as I am no killer). It’s clear they are choosing an automatic assault weapon to make a bigger impact. I have found myself suddenly grateful for things about her classroom that I never thought of before; that she is at the end of the long hallway away near the exit that leads to the parking lot and that she is on the floor level to slip thru windows. I know she, too, would lay down her life for her students.

The unmanaged and the mismanaged (anything and everything) escalate. It doesn’t matter what it is, it’s the natural trajectory of an ignored source of pain or disease to use bigger, louder, or different means to get attention. The weapon is just half of it. The one using it, the other. If we aren’t doing great managing the ill, we absolutely can manage the weapon a hell of a lot more responsibly.

We need to name this. It’s a plague that’s just killing us differently.

What’s next for the unstable, but-without-a-record yet, copy-cat type with a right and ease of access to an automatic style assault weapon who is planning for mass carnage? Hospitals? As we adapt the healthy end by locking schools down, the diseased end thrives through different veins; other populated, vulnerable spaces and buildings. What lies ahead isn’t measurable yet.

We can’t have it both ways. 

Slowly, the little freedoms we take for granted will change as mass slaughters compound. The way we enter public and private buildings may soon catch up to the airport security measures that 9/11 inspired.

The changes in airport security made after 9/11 didn’t take away anyone’s right to fly. The changes made matched the magnitude of damage. We revamped how planes (the weapon in 9/11) were accessed. We needed better discernment about who and what is getting onto our planes. 9/11 was impactful enough for us to change how we navigate airspace safer.

I wonder when and how mass slaughters via semi-automatic weapons on American soil will compound to be impactful enough for us to consider re-managing access to the common choice of weapons used in them.

It’s irresponsible to cling to the idea that amending a freedom we all have means we lose the right or freedom altogether.

The idea is to make it hard for the bad guy to get the semi-automatic assault-style, not to disarm the good guy.

It seems responsible and logical for those seeking a military level weapon to, well, be military. At the very least, usher them through a series of scrutinizing criteria, an application process, and waiting period.

I can’t imagine how an average citizen could qualify an answer to ‘intent for use?

If this specific gun style makes one feel safe in their home or in wide open spaces; red flag. Let’s level up the bar for the concealed weapon permit, too.

Maybe it’s keeping handguns in the hands of civilians who want to arm themselves responsibly and keeping the assault-types in the hands of the trained military where they were specifically designed for mass casualty.

Our individual currencies are our voices and our votes. And it’s a collective that creates change.

I’m still in the thicket, but there’s light ahead. We reach it by pulling back branches and pulling up diseased roots as we move forward.

Impromptu thoughts hitting the page…Thanks for reading.

In the meantime, here’s a little levity.

Short Video  by comedian Jim Jeffries

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