Sunday night, when my son asked me why we shoot each other dead almost every day in America, I got to tell him that it’s because we are “free.” We are free to get a .223 caliber AR-15–style semi-automatic rifle and a 9mm handgun. And we are free to sell those weapons to someone who might shoot and kill 49 people in a nightclub because of whom they choose to love. We are free to arm ourselves against any potentially tyrannical federal government and also free to watch our children bleed to death in our schools, and churches, and clubs.
And we are free to do it all again tomorrow and the day after that. We are free to feel paralyzed and trapped in a system that is literally killing us.
Freedom in America also means that we are free to wake up every morning hoping that it’s not our kid who gets shot with a weapon of war, and free to wake up hoping it’s not our kid who shoots someone, and free to wake up praying it’s not our kid, or our spouse, or our neighbor who shoots herself. In this freest country on earth, we also happen to be in a perpetual hostage situation, in which one false move—or merely the choice to go to class, or to dance with friends—means you may wind up dead.
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