We need to talk about guns: Why I stopped watching the news

Yesterday a reporter was shot. Live on Camera.

The studio host reacting to live events: aka her colleague getting shot live on air

The studio host reacting to live events: aka her colleague getting shot live on air

The internet was exploding with screen grabs, articles, posts from people, THE VIDEO. The video of the asshole who shot that Reporter Alison Parker and her Cameraman, Adam Ward.
And then! before he was caught, the shooter posted the Video of him attacking those poor people from his go-pro on Twitter….

What do you say? What is there to say when someone is shot and murdered, live on Television? Or in a mass school shooting? Or in a bank for money, or because of drugs… or what EVER?! What do you say when there are these pain inflicting, life ending objects called guns and people use them to kill/intimidate/make a point/grab a moment of media attention out in the world, and every day there seems to be another report of such and such violence and fear and death?

At the end of last year, like most Australians abroad and at home, I was glued to the Television and Radio because an insane person took hostages at a Cafe in Sydney, my former home town. I was shocked and horrified, as we all were as a nation… only to discover that my (pregnant) cousin Julie was one of those 18 hostages.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 15:  People run with there hands up from the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place during a hostage standoff on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  Police stormed the Sydney cafe as a gunman has been holding hostages.  (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 15: Julie Taylor runs  from the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place during a hostage standoff on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Police stormed the Sydney cafe as a gunman has been holding hostages. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)

I cannot describe how your feeling of fear and sadness and general “that is horrible”- ness, suddenly slides into panic. The TV, the news, it becomes your only lifeline to unfolding events as you try to understand:

Why is this happening?

Why is it that every time I read the news there is always, somewhere, someone, who bought a gun and used it on somebody else.

And why are we surprised?

I’m not pointing the finger at America, but it does seem to be the country who advocates the most for their right to own a gun, to have a gun in their car or out in public.

And every time someone is murdered, in a church or school or on live TV, those NRA fuckers put out some fantastical one liner like: “Gun’s don’t kill people, people kill people.” Or they use a mass shooting as an example like: “well see now… if we had more guns, none of this would have happened.”

LIGHTBULB: Lets all get guns to protect ourselves against those people who already have guns. And then maybe we should think about getting mini-guns for our guns, because what if those other peoples guns try to attack our guns. HOW ARE OUR GUNS GOING TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM OTHER GUNS?! Are you a Patriot?! DON’T YOU WANT TO BE SAFE?!

It’s gotten to the point where I just can’t watch the news anymore. I’ll read the headline, I’ll be informed. But I can’t watch another reporter talk to local eye witnesses, or muse on why this has happened. I can’t hear that everybody in the community is devastated and asking themselves… why, WHY?

We know the reason. Every time it’s the same.

Guns.

I don’t care about why the shooter did it.

So many statements, so many people feeling heard at the end of a Gun.

I care about the people, and the families torn apart (like Katrina Dawson, my cousins friend and former bridesmaid who died on the scene in that cafe in Sydney and left behind 3 small children), the communities who are still rocked, the people who now live in fear.

How did the reporters feel yesterday, reporting on the reporter who was shot?

I can’t bear to watch the segments, the speculation, the talking heads. I just can’t.

As a former reporter my goosebumps rose, as a fellow human being, my heart hurt.

It feels like a waiting game, where will the next psycho with a gun go off?

And what are we going to do about it?

Dream a little dream of Me

Woke up an hour before my alarm this morning because of an extremely vivid bad dream. Because I start work at 7am, this makes the hour of my sit-up-gasping-in-bed moment around 5 am. I try to roll over, try to shush my pounding heart, but there is no quieting the mind when you realize you have to be up soon anyway. And that the nightmare you just had contains some truth to it. So rather than lie in the dark in anguish counting down the seconds…why not get on the internet and Rant?

My Mum says that I put too much stock in my dreams, always trying to understand what they mean. And she is right. I have always respected and wondered at underlying meanings in dreams. Just last night, my very cool and not-weird-at-all Roomie told me about a dream she had where she was an elephant. She spent quite a while trying to search for meaning online. Well then. See Mother. It is not only I who quests for meaning.

I get that dreams are our brains processing thoughts from our day…or our minds unwinding – working through the slough of our conscious-self (Google had this to say: Dreams are successions of imagesideasemotions, and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.[1] The content and purpose of dreams are not definitively understood, though they have been a topic of scientific speculation, as well as a subject of philosophical and religious interest, throughout recorded history. – Thank you Wikipedia).

While I try not to let my dreams affect my waking life, when something in my REM cycle makes me sit bolt upright at 5am, it’s definitely time to re-asses a situation and figure out what it is that so startled you and hurtled you into consciousness.

In this instance, the dream was about the loss of a relationship that I hold to be very important in my life. I dreamt that an event had already occurred which had ended this bond, and I was powerless to stop the ensuing shit-show. I bumped into the person and all they could do was look at me in disgust and walk away. And I was left with that heart-creating-scar-tissue feeling you get when you feel like you are so sad you might break in half.

For someone who has always been a bit of a control freak, change is difficult (I know it’s ironic considering I love to travel and move around) and change that is out of my control…well I have always struggled with that one. Better to be the one calling “DO THE HOKEY POKEY!!” than the kid on the side who suddenly finds out it’s Hokey Pokey time.

I know that you can’t value yourself by the people in your life, you are a separate entity that works towards being the best version of you you can be (theoretically) but it’s hard not to get that path entwined with the paths of others. You are born into a family grid automatically, intertwining with those around you, you go to school and get mixed up in those friends lives, you fall in and out of love twisting up your journey even more. Those people around you become so important, and I know the quotes about when you are born, you are born alone and when you die, you die alone, but for this brief shining wonderful life on Earth, your People are your measure, they are your community. People often make assumptions about you in regards to the company you keep, so it is not wholly stupid to consider the people around you.

At the end of Year 12 I went on a Grad Trip, and during this trip, I had a slow realization that the people I was with were very different from me. I felt like I didn’t fit in with them, and with all of us headed to different Universities in different parts of the world, I wasn’t sure if we would be friends later in life. When I got back to Hong Kong, and one of my best friends and I got into a HUGE fight about something that had happened during our self-exploratory week away, I basically told her to “Have a nice life.” And I cut her off.

In the past 6 years, I can safely say I’ve thought about that every 6 months or so. I haven’t really spoken to my ex-friend since (apart from bumping into her once or twice) but I always kind of regret it. It’s been more years since High School was over than the years of friendship we actually shared during those confusing adolescent semesters.

But the rapidity with which I closed myself off to her surprised me. I have a stubborn streak it’s true, but I have never considered myself a cold, hard-hearted person, and that is how I treated her at the time. Granted there was A LOT of other shit going on in my life, but I sometimes struggle to wrap my head around how I just DECIDED to break that relationship.

A similar situation arose almost two years ago, but I was on the other side of the friendship being ended. The details aren’t important, but I was very sad. I got caught in a crossfire fight between two friends, and for some reason, was cut off like a dead limb from one of them.

It is painful to be sure, to lose someone so totally that is still alive and actually around, but I think the message that awoke me this morning with sweaty fuddled realization is that perhaps I need to strive to be more independent and less reliant or invested (are those the right words) in the relationships around me. People come and go from your life in a fluid natural journey, and you can’t hold on too tight.

Or maybe I need to stop taking all this cold and flu medication as it’s making me have really weird dreams.

Dunno.

I guess I’ll get up now and go to work.

End Rant