Thursday, November 9, 2017

Action needed

If one thinks of various ways in which commonplace items, from car seats to medicine bottle tops, have been childproofed, it's clear that society's general desire has been to eliminate as many potential dangers from children as possible, even when the number of those who might be harmed is relatively small. If one child's death is preventable, then the proper question isn't "Why should we do this" but rather "Why shouldn't we?"
~Gary Younge

photo by silvioassuncao

I had something else ready to go for this week, but when I read this, I moved the other post to next week. This has to be said, much as it tears me up.

Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild
by Kathy Fish

A group of grandmothers is a tapestry. A group of toddlers, a jubilance (see also: a bewailing). A group of librarians is an enlightenment. A group of visual artists is a bioluminescence. A group of short story writers is a Flannery. A group of musicians is — a band.

A resplendence of poets.

A beacon of scientists.

A raft of social workers.

A group of first responders is a valiance. A group of peaceful protestors is a dream. A group of special education teachers is a transcendence. A group of neonatal ICU nurses is a divinity. A group of hospice workers, a grace.

Humans in the wild, gathered and feeling good, previously an exhilaration, now: a target.

A target of concert-goers.

A target of movie-goers.

A target of dancers.

A group of schoolchildren is a target.


Some people say there's nothing that can be done. I reject that.

Jama's Alphabet Soup has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jama!


Linda B said...

It's breathtaking, as is the graph post from the NY Times this week, the difference between the availability of guns in the US versus "all" other countries. Thank you, Tabatha. I hope it helps to tell you that I am with you, am trying hard to write and call and give where and what I can.

Sally Murphy said...

Thank you for sharing such a powerful piece of poetry.
I cry every time I see news of another mass murder in your country and wonder what it will take for those in power to change the laws.
Poems which say so much are a very powerful step in making people understand.
My thought as with all of you right-minded Americans who are pushing for this to stop.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Maybe you heard this piece too, because your first quote initially alarmed me--we protect children from so much that they actually need, like sticks and seesaws and unstructure--but it is this same argument:

We have to press the idea that guns are bad for kids and that parents who allow guns anywhere near their children--in this era--are bad parents. It just is.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

And I love Kathy Fish's collective nouns!

Tabatha said...

Heidi, making parents want to step up is good, but not nearly enough. We don't try to shame people into being good drivers; we have tests and laws and follow-through. Cars are dangerous and so we do our best to make it as safe as possible to be around them. Of course it's not perfectly safe even with the laws, but that doesn't mean we throw the laws out and just say, "everybody try to do a good job."

Tara said...

Our laws regarding guns (well, and so much else, too) are simply evil. I don't understand how we chose not to change things after Newtown... Thanks for sharing these powerful words, Tabatha.

jama said...

Powerful and moving poem, Tabatha. Thanks so much for sharing. It's a heartbreaking and sobering and maddening reality we live with these days, that commonsense gun control is less important than money for the powers that be. Newtown, Las Vegas -- nothing moves those controlled by the NRA to take action, and it seems nothing ever will -- unless one of their own friends or family members is gunned down.

Kay said...

Thank you for sharing such a powerful poem. Yes, there is much we can do, and I hope that enough people will demand such action loud and long enough to make it happen. In addition to the NYT article that Linda mentioned, I also have been sharing another one that discusses treating gun violence as a public health issue--similar to the ways we have addressed deaths from car accidents and other issues.

Ruth said...

Heartbreaking. :-(

Michelle Kogan said...

Thanks for this timely and important poem by Kathy Fish, Tabatha! I agree with her whole heartedly, that there are things we can and must do! We are dealing with some gun/gang issues in my neighborhood presently, they have gotten frighteningly too close–and us neighbors are banding together and trying to do things. These are hard times. Thanks for all the links here too, I plan on returning to them.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thank you, Tabatha - beautiful poem which turns chilling. Thank you for giving this crisis words and space. I wish, as Kay notes, the push to treat gun violence as a public health emergency could take root. The gun lobby has prevented that so far.

Diane Mayr said...

Until such time as we take money out of politics, nothing will change. It is that simple, and that complex. And, it's a sad state that puts money above the interests of its children.

As you mentioned, we have drivers' tests, regulations, insurance requirements, etc. There's no reason why we can't legislate that gun owners be tested, have insurance on each and every weapon (the more deadly the weapon, the higher the insurance), and that there be restrictions on the amount of ammunition. I hate to make insurance companies the beneficiaries, but if we get them out of the "healthcare" business, they'll need something else to keep them afloat.

Mary Lee said...

Wow. The end of that poem gut-punched me. So lyrical and joyous and then...BLAM.

How many people will have to die at the hands of wackos before we'll get strong gun laws? Until such time, I guess we all need to be constantly at the ready to throw our bodies across those nearest us so we can save as many innocent lives as possible.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

This was an eye-opener of a poem, Tabatha. I'm so glad you shared it. I've been having my eyes opened again and again working with the incarcerated boys on identity poetry. Hoping to share a poem about that experience this week.

Brenda Harsham said...

What about a group of politicians? A drain. A hypocrisy? An illusion? I like this. I wish we could do a national ballot question to let everyone weigh in and let the majority rule.