EDITOR'S NOTE: Mississippi Matters seeks honest, winsome debate
on issues that Mississippians care about. Guns fit that category.
Soon we will be reporting on the results of our recent gun poll,
which were startling to say the least. Meanwhile, we welcome
gifted writers and people of goodwill from all backgrounds to
submit pieces that engender temperate reflection. Randy Smith,
a creative writing professor at a top area university, thinks deeply
on moral issues before he ever writes on them, and it's
always good to be roused in heart and mind via fine poetry.
I'll say it with Hillary, and you, and others the same:
The NRA is the greatest evil ever visited on this country,
slavery and its long shadow aside, which is the greatest evil.
But our slavery
to the NRA,
to a fascination with guns,
to a culture of gun violence,
to an immoral permissiveness regarding gun ownership,
to weapons of mass destruction in the hands of individuals,
to elected officials who will not stand up to the NRA and its constituency
—that slavery is a new, deadly slavery
which every right-minded person must resist, refuse, rebuke, revoke
with ballots, votes, words, deeds, political action, and determined resolve.
Do not stand by. Do not cry only, but also cry out.
You and I and our children and children's children are not safe in a world of our own making.
Don't wait for it to be you or yours.
For the shooter to be your brother, friend, cousin, brother-in-law.
Do not ask, "What is it?" You know.
Do you dare disturb the universe? You do.
How should you presume? With feet, and hands, and words.
Will it have been worth it? Look at your sleeping child tonight.
Should you part your hair and eat peaches? No, there is no time for the mundane.
How should you begin? With me, with others, all of ilk the same.
So, let us go then, you and I, and make our visit
upon capitals, capitols, behemoths, monoliths, PACs, lobbyists, reps, and "leaders."
This time—Lazarus, concert goers, teachers, train travelers, students, and toddlers will not rise from the dead.
But you, rise from chambers where you linger in the sea. Here, the voices that sing each to each.
Hear the voices that sing each to each.
The wind is blowing the waters white and black.
Human voices will wake us. Lest we drown.
The rough beast has done slouched round.