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?

I’m proud of you

I tell people frequently that I have two brothers. Okay that’s not true. When people ask me if I have siblings, I often tell people “I have two GAY brothers.”

I don’t know why I say it like that. Being Gay is not the feature that defines them. K is a compassionate, sweet, hardworking, wise guy who takes off to Europe for two weeks just to look around. R is the fiercest and most outspoken person I know. He might still be figuring out who he is, but he’s always questioning himself and the world/society around him. He challenges pre-disposition and assumption.

I am sure they don’t go around telling people that they have a STRAIGHT sister.

I have written about my family in lots of different posts. They are a huge part of my life despite being far away. You have to understand that when you are an expatriate family, you are a tight unit, a cog that spins separate but connected to the rest of a wider machine. You move around, and the only thing that stays the same, are your five faces in the picture frame.

When R came out when he was 14 (I was 19) I was at University and the news shocked me. Not that there was anything wrong being gay, but I didn’t honestly think of my baby brother of having sexual preferences of any kind. He is still my baby brother now, even though he’s allowed to drink alcohol in bars (that’s weird).

That first year, when he was out and honest about his sexuality, I spent a great deal of time making gay jokes with my other brother K. Behind his back, some to his face, some little comments here and there that we giggled about. AND I’M THE OLDEST. I was supposed to lead by example.

I’ll never forget when I got a call from my Mum a year later saying, “By the way K has come out too.”

I was shocked, and I obviously felt ill. I had spent twelve months making fun of being gay (even though I considered myself tolerant and had some gay friends) with my brother, who was also gay, and who hadn’t told me.

I felt like an awful person first off, and an awful sister. These are my kid brothers, the ones who DESTROYED my barbies and who played hot wheels with me, and who rolled around in the dirt and collected frogs in a bucket during monsoons with me. What did it matter who they loved/wanted to bang? Hadn’t I always said that I was colour-blind, having been raised an Expat Brat? Why did my tolerance only extend so far.

I also felt left out. Like they hadn’t been able to confide in me. I used to OVERSHARE with them and they couldn’t even tell me this one, major thing?

I beat myself up a lot for a while. I questioned a lot of my “tolerant” beliefs and my fears, because that is what it is when you are homophobic, and that is what I was when I cracked gay jokes.

I questioned myself every time I used the word gay as a derogatory, such as “That’s soooo gay” to be a bad thing. How could I say that? How could I not have known?

The truth is, there is a lot of ignorance out there, and people happy to reside in that state of mind. I am not one of them. I do not believe ignorance is bliss. Mama says: Ignorance is just ignorance.

And she’s right.

As per usual.

The truth is, I am so so proud of my brothers. I’m proud of the way they are who they are and they just don’t give a fuck. They wake up in the morning with solid self-understanding. I’m proud of the way they can be true to who they are, and have chosen to walk a more difficult path, but one where they don’t hide themselves. I am proud of them for reaching out to the LBGT community and giving support.

I am proud of my parents for being supportive and tolerant and loving. I am proud of my Mum, who is currently directing a play in Hong Kong called “My big gay Italian wedding” and who is promoting it and tackling important issues about being the mother of Gay sons.

I know that I am still learning tolerance and acceptance from my family, and I know that I will always believe that if you are a good person, then please, love who you love, marry who you want to marry. Be happy, be free. I am sure that I have a long way to go where understanding is concerned, but I am trying to be a supportive force, not a fearful negative one.

Hi my name is Paris and I have two brothers.