I want to get a gun. I want to learn how to shoot a gun. I want to feel like I can fight back and fend off attacks from White men who are killing Black women and disappearing in the crowd.
Early this summer, Nia Wilson was knifed to death by a White male terrorist, who illegally gained access to the platform of a BART station, and greeted Wilson and her two older sisters with death. It happened as they got off their train, and tried to transfer to another one. He seriously wounded one sister, and brutally slashed the youngest one before callously leaving the scene of the crime with the bloody instrument in his hands.
Months later, and the narrative remains the same. Another Black woman, a few decades older, was emerging from a stopped train at the Flatbush station in Brooklyn, New York, when she encountered a White male terrorist who promptly plunged a knife into her chest.
Marie Washington, a fifty-seven-year-old mother of two, barely survived the terror attack that almost killed her, and is currently recovering at a nearby hospital after emergency surgery.
Every breath she takes greets her with great pain.
The White male terrorist in his thirties, who brutally attacked a Black woman, by also punching her in the mouth while allegedly yelling out racial slurs, is still on the run. He was able to hop on the Q train and swiftly flee the scene, and the only hope of ever catching this fucker is by relying on the sketch that the victim and eyewitnesses have helped to draft.
But as Marie Washington deals with the physical scars from a punctured shoulder wound and a collapsed lung, the emotional assault is far worse and will undoubtedly haunt her for the rest of the life that she almost lost, simply because of her Blackness.
When you have President Trump publicly acknowledging his allegiance to White nationalism, after beginning his presidency with the loyal shoutout to White supremacists who set Charlottesville on fire; there’s every reason to believe that the potency of his words will encourage the flow of hostility in an already terminally ill nation.
Just this past week, controversy brewed over a disturbing photo featuring young White men happily posing at their junior prom at a high school in Wisconsin. The reason for the excitement seemed to be inspired by the energetic nazi salute, that was grossly captured by the photographer.
Once the damning photo landed on social media platforms, the expected uproar forced school officials to condemn the offensive act by reiterating how the viral hashtag linking the institution to Hitler’s messaging, “is not reflective of the educational values and beliefs of the School District of Baraboo.”
As the year 2018 winds down, it’s hard not to shudder with fear and trepidation, as we reflect on the bloodiness of the American existence, that thrives on the fuel of extreme violence — resulting in the senseless loss of lives.
The Parkland High School tragedy was supposed to be the long-awaited wake up call that would finally initiate the humanness of icy cold lawmakers and politicians, who would rather save their careers than consider life-saving measures for America’s young and vulnerable. The president met with the families of the dead and the students who cheated death — but in the end, his obligations to the NRA halted the possibility of progress.
Months later, and we are mourning the loss of college students in Thousand Oaks, California, who were line dancing at a popular venue, and horrifically paid the ultimate price for what was meant to be a fun night on the town.
Bullets came flying into the space, and in a matter of minutes 12 people were shot dead, with the youngest victim being an 18-year-old freshman at Pepperdine University. The shooter was a young White male terrorist, who had previously served in the military, and had also exhibited symptoms of mental illness, that had caused his mother to dial 911 on more than one occasion.
His last social media posts, right before the massacre seemed to indicate his awareness of how America prefers to deal or not deal with the aftermath of such tragedies.
It’s too bad I won’t get to see all the illogical and pathetic reasons people will put in my mouth as to why I did it. Fact is I had no reason to do it, and I just thought… f***it, life is boring so why not?”
I hope people call me insane (2 smiley face emojis)…wouldn’t that just be a big ball of irony? Yeah… I’m insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is ‘hopes and prayers’… or ‘keep you in my thoughts’… every time… and wonder why these keep happening… (2 more smiley face emojis).
Hate crimes have risen substantially since 2016, and this year has been particularly deadly. Most have forgotten the horror of the bomb packages, that were delivered to the doorsteps of Black homes in the suburbs of Austin, Texas.
And of course the heartbreaking mass shooting at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh by a White male terrorist, who was motivated by the hateful rhetoric of his White nationalist president, who was particularly performative during the midterm elections; actually re-initiated the debate centering on the woefully neglected issue of hate crimes.
Mainstream media outlets and major cable networks were suddenly motivated by the dramatics of national mourning, and managed to take a break from the obsession of the yellow-haired oaf in The White House, by spotlighting the crisis of our lifetime.
And during the round-the-clock coverage of the synagogue massacre, there wasn’t any attention paid to the two Black victims, that were shot dead by a White terrorist, days before, at a Kroger grocery store in Louisville, Kentucky.
It took almost a week before outlets like CNN finally caught on to the gross negligence, and slyly slid in the “possible hate crime” involving Black victims, who are still more at risk when it comes to racially-motivated crime s— compared to any of the other groups that apply.
There’s also the public harassment exacted by White strangers, who gleefully spent summer 2018, terrorizing Black people out of establishments with the assistance of sheepishly helpless White cops. Online outlets had a field day with endless traffic from the countless clicks that provided ample entertainment to gawkers, who couldn’t get enough of the latest episode of how deranged White women abuse Black boys with accusations of sexual assault.
Black pain is revered entertainment for White America, and the evidence seems to indicate that if I happen to be the next Black body to be hacked to death or shot to bits; there won’t be much grief assigned to my fate.
My murder won’t even be categorized as a hate crime.
I will just be another unfortunate statistic who didn’t have a chance in hell of surviving the minefield of domestic terrorism that the White authoritarian in The White House is recklessly enforcing with hate-filled messaging.
That’s why I’m considering owning a gun.
I never imagined that I would ever be in a position that would propel me to investigate owning a deadly weapon, but the stakes are way too high, and I’m dead tired of writhing in victimhood.
When I moved back to L.A. in late 2015, an incident that occurred when I got off the bus and began the short trek to my friend’s bungalow in the early hours of the night forced me to arm myself with pepper spray. I hated that the darkness and silence left me in the hands of an assailant who was too drunk to do his worst.
But the temperature of the climate has increased into a fiery tempo, and as a Black woman who lives in a country that willingly allows a White nationalist to dictate whether Black and Brown people live or die — I have no choice but to take drastic measures to protect myself and loved ones.
I have already started doing the research, and so far what I’ve uncovered is quite troubling, and cements the the anxiety that accompanies entering a world that until now seemed too intimidating to penetrate.
For the most part, it’s relatively easy to buy a gun in any state in America.
Of course the laws vary depending on location, but it’s no coincidence that places like Florida and Virginia, that have hosted the dire consequences of gun violence, tend to have less regulations that make the process quick and easy. Anyone can walk into a store and emerge with a semi-automatic weapon in a matter of minutes.
No waiting period, no fingerprinting, nothing that demands the extra precautions based on the complexities of cases that should be examined further in an effort to prevent the unfathomable.
Only about eight states in the U.S. require a mandatory waiting period, and California is part of that bunch, and this could be applied to specific weapons or all.
Both federal and state background checks are generally performed, and the results are furnished almost immediately, and if nothing criminal turns up, the potential buyer is free to indulge.
But the most troubling information I unearthed is embedded in the realization that private sellers are able to conduct business without the hindrance of laws that typically regulate these types of transactions.
That means that background checks don’t apply to buyers who find sellers that are eager to sell whatever to whomever — wherever.
I’m most likely getting a gun because there’s the need to give myself a fighting chance at surviving this Instagrammed war zone.
But first, I have to learn to shoot, and I have to submit myself to the psychological analysis that will determine my ability to own a weapon without turning it against myself.
My lifelong battle with depression is no joke, and I don’t mind admitting that the heightened hysteria has created even more reasons why not being here seems like a logical solution.
My debilitating paranoia is also destabilizing; as I constantly imagine the worst, and expect nothing good to come out of a shopping trip to TJ Maxx or late lunch at a busy diner. Crossing the street in broad daylight is a scary activity as the cars zoom by and I brace for the inevitable. Taking walks up the hill is also a frightening exercise as I brace for the attacks from White men, as I grip my mace for confidence.
You can’t be an endangered species, and not weigh your options accordingly.
Black death is a lucrative business in America, and since law enforcement is committed to the practice of sweeping the streets with Black blood without consequences, and President Trump continues to vilify Black women with curses and bullish tactics that aim to diminish our worth and the right to pursue our illustrious careers — I have no choice but to be armed and ready for the battle of my life.
The quest for a gun is in the preliminary stage, and only time will tell if I go through with it. As the weeks go by, and the holiday season settles, there will undoubtedly be more acts of violence that will push us over the edge, and threaten the likelihood that we will see the New Year.
One thing I know for sure, is that I definitely won’t be uttering any prayers, and I definitely won’t take the time to analyze my thoughts on behalf of the bereaved and wounded. And self-defense classes are for recreational fulfillment and not at all practical for those instances when life and death means death.
That’s why I’m pretty certain that I will get a gun.
Anyone with information about the incident regarding the knife attack at the Flatbush, Brooklyn Station — is urged to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1–800–577-TIPS.