Earlier this week America experienced its most lethal mass shooting in history. Fifty people dead, including the shooter, fifty-three more injured. These mass shootings feel almost inevitable to me now, part of our culture. I feel myself numbing to them, this despite two acquaintances of acquaintances being among the victims in Orlando. I am shamed to admit that, my numbness, to the violent loss of life.
I’ve written about gun violence before, so my stance is well known. My earnest arguments in favor of common sense gun laws are received well by those who hold similar views and I am torn to shreds by those who disagree. The futility does not escape me. But on Monday morning, I found myself drawn to the Internet, reading articles, watching some news footage, quickly closing my laptop at times, lest my toddler be exposed to something no kid should should have to consider.
What I found, in researching the AR-15 gun that was used by the shooter, was what led to this gallery. It’s a collection of t-shirt graphics, of all things, that pretty much captures how and why the AR-15 is, as the NRA calls it, “America’s Rifle.” The sentiments on the shirts are evidence of a nation greatly divided. Rather than talk with those who disagree with us, we shout, we demean, we name call, we seek to silence them, we threaten.
Today, I will devote my blog to better understanding why it is the AR-15 is the most popular rifle sold on American soil, it’s purchases reaching an all time high in the days after the Orlando massacre. I am holding up a mirror to ourselves, our division, our passion and obsession with guns, our beliefs. And I will let the t-shirts speak for themselves, but not without a wee bit of commentary.