Well, given that it’s 12/21/12, I’m glad we’re all alive (so far)! Here’s the last part of Erik’s insight on the Sandy Hook incident. It all comes together at the end, so be patient and no peeking.
Me: A lot of people are against gun control. It’s a difficult and controversial topic that’s now very much in focus since the shooting. In Norway, they have gun control in that no citizen is allowed to own a gun to protect themselves. I don’t think security guards are either, because in that horrible shooting incident on that island where 85 young people were killed, the guard was only armed with a long flashlight. That was all he was allowed to have. Now, if he were allowed to have a gun, that crazy guy probably wouldn’t have killed those 85 kids. The guard would have killed him long before he had a chance to do that. But that guy probably had black market access to guns. What I’m asking, Erik, is what do you do about gun control knowing that the bad guys, the crazy dudes will—
Erik: Always have access.
Erik: No matter what shit you put in place.
Me: I know.
Erik: I promise you, they’ll always have access. What do you do? When you have people like anybody under the age of 21 who aren’t able to have a registered gun themselves or no defense, then that’s when you have somebody on site to monitor the safety in the world of “what if.”
Me: Well what about families? What if somebody breaks down my door, and I don’t have any guns in my house?
(I don’t, for obvious reasons.)
Erik: Yeah, but Mom, you have a right to own a gun.
Me: Yeah, but what if it gets to the point where it becomes like Norway, and you don’t have the right to bear arms at all?
Erik: Well, then that’s equivalent to you in a country where you can have a gun but you choose not to. You need to have your home set up for protection. Your home is your fortress. Most Americans are lazy. They leave their door open. They leave their purse on the floor. They’re extremely trustworthy, and they feel safe even though it’s false, and it’s because of bullshit marketing. “Oh, America the great. Everything is wonderful.” No, you have a few dicks in the mix that make everything horrible.
Jamie (laughing): That one got me! “Dicks in the mix!”
I laugh along with her.
Erik: They ruin the party for everybody. It doesn’t mean you have to be equivalently set up to fight gun-to-gun, eye-to-eye, knife-to-knife. It doesn’t mean you have to be as wicked as they are and be overly cautious and fuck your whole life up thinking you need to be your own super hero because there might be a dick in the mix somewhere that’s about to get you. But it is, if you’ve got glass doors at home. Why don’t you have the little mesh shield over the glass so that they’re unbreakable?
Erik: Why aren’t you designing your safety around the design of your house? It doesn’t mean you need to not buy a glass house and go get a concrete brick one with bars over the windows.
Erik: There are beautiful things out there that are completely dick proof.
Me: Well, what about the guy who mowed down the people in the movie theater? What do you do about that?
Erik: I don’t think you need to have security devices and things like that at every movie theaters and public area. I really think it should be enforced for locations that have children under the age of 18.
Me: Well, there are children in the movie theaters, so what do you do?
Erik: Yeah, Mom, but there are adults in the movie theater, too.
(He’s not making a lick of sense to me, here. Let’s hope he clarifies things soon.)
Erik: You can’t fuck up everybody’s life and everybody’s freedom because of crazy-ass dick-wads.
Erik: Shit happens. That’s like saying, Mom, you don’t ever want to drive because there’s a possibility of an accident. You don’t ever want to fly because there’s a possibility of the plane might crash.
Me: Do you think we should have an armed security guard in every public place?
Me: So what do you do? You have this tragedy in the movie theater and children are killed. Are you trying to tell me that shit happens and that’s okay? That’s the way it goes?
Erik: I am. I’m saying there has to be possibilities for all actions on Earth to be—
Me: So, you’re saying that we shouldn’t have the right to bear arms?
Erik: No. I didn’t say that.
(I can’t be any more confused than I am right now.)
Me: So, what the hell are you saying? Should we have the right to bear arms?
Erik: I say yes. I don’t think anybody ought to take another person’s choice or rights.
Me: But we should basically first not try to become super heroes; we should try to protect ourselves in a reasonable way.
Erik: Yes, and what I would say is the license that you get—your gun license—
Jamie: Is it really called a license?
Me: Uh huh. 007. License to kill.
Erik: I think you first need to go through a psychiatric evaluation.
Me: Oh, nice idea!
Erik: Cuz I don’t think everyone is mentally and emotionally healthy enough to make wise choices in the use of a gun. I think those mentally ill or off people are highly capable in learning the safety of having a gun, but their quickness and the wit and emotions behind when to pull the trigger—I don’t think it’s always there.
Me: Yeah. That’s a great idea, Erik.
(In his case, someone over the age of 21 bought the gun he used to take his own life, so maybe guns need to be biometrically triggered to fingerprints, too.)
Erik: That should be involved in the use of carrying a gun. Now, that’s not saying nobody has the right to carry it. That’s bullshit. You should have the right. Like women should have the right to have an abortion. You just can’t pull that shit out and say they can’t do it. It angered me so fucking bad about that women who died, because they wouldn’t take the baby.
Jamie (to Erik): What is that? What do you mean? They wouldn’t give the woman an abortion, and she was sick?
Me: Oh no! That’s not good.
Erik: So, she passed away because the baby killed her. They watched her die. That fucking shit pisses me off. Now, going back to the theater thing, I won’t say what happened there was right, but nothing was lined up in a wrong way. You know, the theater cannot be blamed. What I would say is their exit doors, man, they don’t need to be accessed from the back, and I do believe that before any movie starts they should check the safety of the place. They should make sure those doors are closed.
Me: But they have to have a way to exit in case of an emergency like a fire, but they can have it so the doors can’t be opened from the outside.
Erik: Yeah. Same as I said about the schools. But you see that dude came in and propped the door open. He came in early; made sure he had access to it. That way, when the lights went down he came in the exit. Before every movie starts, that dude that comes in and sweeps up all the shit and pulls the gum up should be checking those doors.
Me: Exactly. Yep. Anything else we can do, Erik? (Pause) As far as protecting everybody in our society? I mean, obviously people are going to fall through the cracks. We can’t protect everybody.
Erik: And those cracks help us learn a lot, Mom. You know, we’re never going to be foolproof. If life were foolproof, why are we even on Earth?
Me: That’s true.
Erik: You know, it changes the whole fucking game.
Me: Yeah. It’s part of the human experience.
Erik: It is, and if we’re scratching the walls so hard to climb up out of it, you know, you’re missing the point. We have to embrace everything. We can’t just embrace what we consider to be the good. That’s pretty much making you the jackass. You have to embrace the good, the bad—what you might call the bad—
Me: And the ugly.
Erik (nonchalantly): I like that. Yes.
Me: But there must be something we can do beside just protecting ourselves. That seems like such a shallow way of approaching the problem, Erik. You say this horrible tragedy will not be enough to help us focus our attention on changes that need to be made in the way we deal with mental illness in our society, and that feels right, unfortunately. I mean, it looks like it’s address security issues in the schools, but… Mental illness, gun control, security, these aren’t the root causes of this problem.
Erik: They aren’t, Mom. It’s much deeper than that, but it’s going to take a lot more baby steps for humans to get to that place, and that journey is what you’re there for. The Human Experience.
Me: Well, that’s depressing. So, what’s the root?
Erik: What the fuck? You wanna unwrap all the Christmas presents early?
Me: Well, yes. Yes, I do.
Erik: I can’t do that, cuz that’s part of the experience. A little hint. It’s about connection through empathy and participation. The new math. Empathy + participation = connection which equals love. How you do that is under the wrapping paper. You’re barely tugging at the bow. Merry Christmas. On many levels.
Me: Merry Christmas, Sweetie. Wish you were sitting in your usual place at the table. I love you.
Erik: Hang a stocking for me.
Me: I will. Full of switches and coal.