A day after the Nashville shooting, a young man lay in our hospital intensive. He had been shoot. This kid didn’t make the news. Nobody cared about him. No mother sat bedside weeping between heartbeats. This scene repeats throughout hospitals across America. However, gun deaths are unlikely to shake America’s cult-like devotion toward high-powered assault weapons. Before Nashville, we openly coveted these weapons. Post Nashville, they lust today, and they’ll lust tomorrow. Do we love children as much as weapons? Fuck no. 

Polling data from the Washington Post and Ipsos suggests that about one in every 20 U.S. adults – about 16 million people – own at least one AR-15. The Post’s investigation also includes the devastating figure that AR-15s have were involved in 10 of the 17 deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. in the past decade. But just like Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett (R), most Americans openly acknowledge ‘… we’re not gonna fix it.’ We don’t want to, regardless of the impact.

Gun violence can significantly impact children’s lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), firearms are a leading cause of death for children in the United States. In 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, there were 3,623 firearm deaths among children and teenagers aged 0-19 in the United States. In 2022, more than 6,000 children and teens were injured or killed in shootings, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. That’s the most in a year since the database began tracking nine years ago. 

The totality of children’s deaths is statistically insignificant, something like .001% or less of the total U.S. population. Yet, to most politicians, recognizing that one in every 20 U.S. adults owns an AR-15 is essential. Such gun owners are voters. Voters mean power. And guns equal money and political contributions. For the most part, gun owners don’t care about deaths from gun violence. “Doesn’t impact me,” one recently said at lunch. “If they come for my guns, that will impact me.” Instead, we deflect to other perceived grievances like LGBTQ, Critical Race Theory, and book bans.

It’s important to note that there have been no reported deaths from Critical Race Theory. And not a single death from a Drag Show (that I’ve read). Still, political legislators are devoting a lot of time to keeping children. “Ban the books, reduce LGBTQ rights, and, God forbid, drag queen shows. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) claims he has friends “… that are homosexual. We don’t put up with that crap in Tennessee.”

Representatives Burchett (TN) and Cornyn (TX) stated nothing more could be legally accomplished to control gun violence. On the other hand, Senator Ted Crux claims to have the solution: More guns. “For everyone who says “thoughts & prayers aren’t enough,” I AGREE. Ask why EVERY SINGLE SENATE DEM voted against my bill doubling police officers in school. One armed officer could have stopped this lunatic BEFORE a child was killed.”

Yesterday, I started openly wearing a Buddhist Pendant. Even though Buddhism has its issues and flaws, the moment is right. If one should ask me why, I will quote Mahatma Gandhi, “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”