Saturday, July 21, 2012

Aurora, Colorado

As the country looks for solace in the aftermath of Aurora, I hear a number of my friends with opposing opinions trying to find a fast way to address the tragedy but there are no easy answers, no quick solutions (aside from the coward not doing it in the first place).

Some folks think that arming people in public might have ended the attack quickly. The overall logistics of how the ambush went down (he was covered in body armor, more heavily armed than someone carrying just a pistol) make me doubt it would be easy to halt the attack (it was a cold ambush) even if police were on duty among the crowd in the theater. Remember the North Hollywood shootout of 1997?

Some people think we need to remove all guns. That just isn't realistic or productive. The attacker got the weapons legally BUT the illegal gun trade is very active in this country and fueled by other criminal activity. We can't pretend guns are going to vanish from the hands of criminals and crackpots. That horse has already left the barn.

NO ONE wants to feel naked and vulnerable to some evil miscreant . . . yet I also hate to think of a day when I'm on a crowded subway surrounded by people who are all armed to the teeth but with unknown training or respect for firearms.

We are caught in an arms race against ourselves and I won't pretend there is an easy answer.

Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away