I created this t-shirt out of anger.
Remember those shirts that started popping up at Trump rallies back in 2016 – the ones that smugly proclaimed “Fuck Your Feelings” as supporters dreamed about assaulting protesters and casting aside the political correctness that had stood in the way of their racism and bigotry for the last eight years???
This picture to me is a prime example of the lack of compassion and empathy that has prevented the United States from making any real progress towards addressing our mass shooting problem because they care more about this paranoid fantasy of having their guns “pried from their cold, dead hands” than they do about protecting the real people who are being murdered with these weapons on a weekly basis.
Let me be clear – this isn’t about taking away anybody’s guns.
It’s about having an honest and open discussion about what we as a people can do to stop this senseless violence, and gun control has to be a part of that conversation – just like we need to talk about mental health and violence in the entertainment industry and improving security in our schools and so many other things.
For too long, any mention of gun control has been met with utter fury from gun advocates who believe that an AR-15 is the only thing that stands between them and tyranny.
14 students and 3 adults died this week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida because the discussion of mass shootings in America has gone absolutely nowhere.
As I began collecting the statistics shown on the shirt, I was shocked to see just how much gun violence takes place at schools around our country. In fact, I had to narrow my criteria first from mass shootings to school shootings, and then furthermore to school shootings where at least two people were killed because otherwise I wouldn’t have enough room on the shirt.
I don’t think they make t-shirts big enough to list every time that a shooting has taken place in America…
In just the 15 school shootings listed on this shirt, 146 people died and another 155 people were injured, and those figures don’t even include America’s deadliest mass shootings to date:
- Route 91 Harvest Music Festival – Las Vegas – 58 dead, 851 injured – 10/1/2017
- Pulse Nightclub – Orlando – 49 dead, 58 injured – 6/12/2016
I’m a father of three young boys.
On Friday when I went to pick my four year-old up from school, I noticed that the American flag was flying at half-mast in front of his elementary school, and as I stopped to take this picture, I found myself at a loss for words of how to explain to him what it meant…
Collectively my three sons will spend about the next 15 years in our public schools, where in addition to learning about math and science and the written word, they’ll also have to learn about active shooter drills and where to hide in case a bad person with a gun starts killing people in their schools.
When they ask me, “Dad, why do we have to practice hiding in the closet because someone might bring a gun to school???” – what am I supposed to tell them?!
Should I tell them that we wish it wasn’t this way, but there’s just nothing we can really do about it?
Should I tell them that it wasn’t the gun’s fault that all of those kids are dead??
Should I tell them that I wish it was harder for bad people like that to get weapons to kill kids with, but those people have Constitutional Rights, too???
Listening to the teenage survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School begging us to take action after having watched their friends and teachers and mentors murdered before their own eyes, there’s no other way to say it except that we as adults are failing our nation’s children if we can’t even keep them safe where we send them to learn.
This is unacceptable, and it’s not the America that I believe in.
We can have gun ownership and still explore better ways to help keep weapons from falling into the hands of people who will use them to kill our children.
We can look into the ways that our existing gun regulations are failing and make them better, and at the same time work to improve coverage for mental health treatments and raise awareness about the prevalence of violence in popular culture and give law enforcement agencies the support they need to be able to better respond to warnings before they become active shooters in our cities and on our school campuses.
But we need to put our insecurities aside and put all of the cards on the table. Kids are dying because everyone has a different excuse and no one will sit down at the same table to really solve this problem.
I don’t want to take away your guns, but if you value your guns over the lives of our nation’s schoolchildren – Fuck Your Guns.
All proceeds from this t-shirt will be donated to non-profit organizations in support of sensible gun control.
Please help us to spread the word that we’re no longer going to stand by and watch our kids get gunned down at school to protect conservative snowflakes and their precious assault rifles.