.

Uvalde

I’m struck with news and views today
__As youth and truth lie dead.
Words bruise me in a mad melee
__Of mind-marauding dread.

I’m stunned by words, too many heard
__To mull and comprehend—
Cacophonies of what occurred
__And why we’ve reached this end.

Excuses rise like ghostly smoke
__And choke my waning trust.
I glimpse a dagger neath a cloak
__As details are discussed.

The buzz and din and gab and spin
__Will bang on all year long,
And rectitude will never win
__Unless we hear its song.

Its prayer should soar above the howl
__And put our children first—
No politics. No playing foul.
__No odious outburst…

No feeding on this evil deed—
__Its horror and its pain…
No fueling ever present greed
__For glory or for gain.

.

.

Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition, and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.


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64 Responses

  1. C.B Anderson

    People want to talk about it, but, unlike you, few people want to talk about it in the right way. You’ve been on a roll lately — keep rolling.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      C.B., this was a tough one for me. I thoroughly appreciate your comment – thank you.

  2. Brian Yapko

    I have neither the words nor a stout enough heart to address this tragedy. Yours is a very brave poem, Susan. That it is articulate is a given. What is far more important is that your plea is heartfelt and your message essential. Let there be no feeding on this evil deed.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Brian, my heart aches. The words wouldn’t leave my head. I simply had to address them… with compassion, sympathy, and honesty. Thank you very much for reading and commenting, and most of all, for understanding.

  3. Margaret Coats

    Yes, Susan, children need to be put first. The terrible tragedy occurred because they were not, and have not been for a long time. When all is said and done, the 18-year-old mass murderer may be found to be a product of his “educational system,” as was the young man who shot up a Florida high school some years ago. When irresponsible adults neglect safety measures and actively prevent right-thinking adults from doing anything useful, evil has free play. Your poem in a simple, schoolbook lyric form, with a simple point to it, is the direct address to the problem that is needed. Thanks.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Margaret, your comment speaks in words that are understandable and meaningful… words that would make a big difference to our broken society if only these were the words that rose from politicians’ mouths and the MSM every day.

      “When irresponsible adults neglect safety measures and actively prevent right-thinking adults from doing anything useful, evil has free play.” says it all, concisely and coherently, in words that should connect with everybody. Thank you very much for your sagacious take!

  4. kate Farrell

    It is almost like an echo repeating: listen, listen, listen…

    “Saruman believes it is only great power can hold evil in check, but that is not what I found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”

    Gandalf – The Hobbit

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Kate, what a wonderful quote from the great Gandalf. When all is said and done, the answer is simple, and we the ordinary people can make a powerful difference in small and meaningful ways. The honest answer is always simple… the slippery tongue of evil likes to complicate it. I thoroughly appreciate your comment – thank you!

  5. Joshua C. Frank

    Wow… that’s powerful. It doesn’t just work for Uvalde or even just school shootings in general, but just everything that’s going on. (If not for the title, I would have thought maybe it was about abortion or the corruption of modern youth.)

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Josh, you are so right! I will admit to having only Uvalde in mind when I wrote this poem, but the behavior of those in power and the MSM around this horrific event can be applied to many evil deeds we witness today. I wanted to be respectfully non-specific concerning details, and your perspicacious comment tells me it worked. Thank you very much for casting a fine eye over my poem.

  6. Conor Kelly

    Nice poem, Susan, with a very clever use of moral generalities but it might be a little disingenuous to say “No feeding on this evil deed—“ when the poem inevitably has to feed on it. It’s right to criticise the behaviour of those in power in Texas and, if by MSM you are referring to the ridiculous self-serving press conference of those powerful men after that awful tragedy, then you are a brave voice standing for truth and justice. Well done.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Conor, I didn’t write this poem to gain personal advantage. I wrote it to draw attention to the fact that in today’s society children are not put first. They are let down in many ways. My poem is to get the reader to think about that, to think about how our children are treated and where this may lead. Of all the things to think about, you have focused on a specific. Perhaps my poem is a chance for you to push your political agenda. I chose the words “No feeding on this evil deed” so that we could rise above self-serving pettiness to pull together for those who mean the most in this world – our children. That’s it. Plain and simple.

  7. Conor Kelly

    As always, Susan, your reply is very respectful. When you say I am pushing a political agenda, you are right. But when you criticise “the behavior of those in power and the MSM around this horrific event”, you are pushing your own political agenda.
    Maybe you could clarify something for me. What is this MSM that you and others on this site keep referring to? Were we in Britain, you would be reading the Telegraph and me the Guardian, reflecting the political diversity of media outlets in Britain. The media outlets in the USA are even more politically diverse. So tell me: what constitutes “mainstream” and why is it criticised by you here?

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Is there any political diversity in your BBC, the sole purveyor of television service? Or is it completely in the hands and control of left-Labourite sympathizers? Would your universities (either Oxbridge or the red-brick ones) dream of hiring a rightist or conservative scholar to any position of importance? Could anyone publicize any hard criticism of your Race Relations Act without being ostracized and deprived of his livelihood?

      Our massive and wealthy MSM here in the States are NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and their associated enterprises. NOT ONE OF THEM presents an honest and unbiased picture of real-world events, but serve as nothing but an amen-corner for leftist, cultural Marxist, and left-liberal received opinion. As for print newspapers, you know very well that they are on the way out.

      There are none so blind as those who will not see.

      • Conor Kelly

        Welcome to the bear pit, Joe. As usual, you never let facts get in the way of a good diatribe. The BBC is not the sole or even the main purveyor of television service in the UK. Ask Susan. As well as the BBC and their regional variants, there is also ITV, Channel 4, Sky News and many smaller companies.

        As for your questions, being rhetorical I wouldn’t know the answers any more than you would.

        Thank you for enlightening me on American TV Channels and their political bias. I noticed you didn’t include Fox News which, I believe, is very mainstream in the US. I doubt you believe that it presents an honest and unbiased picture of real-world events. To some it serves as nothing but an amen-corner for Trumpist, cultural Fascist, and right-conservative received opinion.

        I think your report of the demise of print newspapers is premature. They also have a strong presence on the Internet which is likely to last.

        There is none so blind as those political geldings that wear red-coloured blinkers.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Conor, I am not ‘pushing a political agenda’. I’m just telling the truth. On life’s journey, I’ve read many newspapers (The Guardian at the weekend for the weekend mag, The Telegraph for the crossword, The Daily Mail for Linda Lee Potter’s excellent Wednesday column, the Sun, Mirror, Express, and Independent, whenever they were on a friend’s coffee table, and the Evening Standard and Metro because they were left on train seats on homeward bound journeys from London. It’s been the same with news – the BBC, ITV, and every channel going, which extended to those in the USA before I decided to quit paying for lies.

      In a post-truth era where reality is subjective, the lies we’re told matter not to those who benefit from telling them and more and more are told every day. I agree with Dr. Salemi on his assessment, not because I’m of a certain political leaning, but because I am speaking from experience. Lies have a nasty habit of revealing themselves… often when it’s too late.

      In a society where The State is declared the sole arbiter of truth, the truth is whatever The State decides it is… this has been proven by the Biden administration’s brief push for a Ministry of Truth, which collapsed because the person at the helm was a proven liar with a political agenda.

      I’m done with politics. I know right from wrong. I don’t need a corrupt government to tell me… and I just want the best for future generations. How we’re going to get that is beyond my comprehension. Before cancel-culture an honest discussion took place. I naively thought this could still happen. I’ll admit to being horribly wrong.

      • Conor Kelly

        Susan, if you are not pushing a political agenda, if you are done with politics, why do you keep making political comments and keep writing political poems. The State is not the arbiter of your truth or mine. Own your space and allow others own theirs.

      • Mike Bryant

        “Own your space and allow others own theirs.” – Conor Kelly

        Can you seriously say, that in this age of lies that dominate every aspect of our culture… Susan’s poetry and words of kindness for our children are somehow disallowing a space for others???
        That is ridiculous.
        I think you must have unconsciously included the typo because something good in you just couldn’t let you tell such a big lie. Of course, I could be wrong.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Conor, as I said in my first reply, I didn’t write this poem to gain personal advantage. I wrote it to draw attention to the fact that in today’s society children are not put first – plain and simple. If that’s the ‘political agenda’ you’re talking about, then I’ll own it… and when the government is pushing a Ministry of Truth with a known liar at the helm, that is the very definition of being an ‘arbiter of the truth’.
        “Your truth or mine” ???
        “Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.” – Mahatma Gandhi

      • Conor Kelly

        If you want to put children first, Susan, it’s going to take more than prayers and thoughts and poems. After other mass shootings, governments around the world took action on guns. Your own government which you constantly decry is calling for action. So here is my question for someone who claims she wants to put children first. Are the rights of gun owners and sellers more important than the lives of children?

      • Mike Bryant

        Susan, Conor is right… we should definitely give up our rights to guns… and send all our guns to Ukraine because Ukraine SHOULD have gun rights for THEIR children. That is the truth… at least until it’s changed next week.
        It must be nice to live in your world, Conor. Just read the headlines so you know what you must believe today…

      • Mike Bryant

        “If you want to put children first, Susan, it’s going to take more than prayers and thoughts and poems.“ – Conor Kelly

        Yes Susan, because you care about children, you must become political. Because you are NOT political CHILDREN ARE DYING! (corrected in bold… sorry Conor)

        First, Susan was TOO political… NOW… she must take to the streets with signs and tears…

        Really, Conor… this is just too much.

      • Conor Kelly

        You have your tenses wrong, Mike. It’s not that children WILL die because of inaction, it is that they ARE dying. Canada responded to Uvalde with gun laws; the USA didn’t and won’t.
        I never accused Susan of being too political. I accused her of hypocrisy for denying being political while constantly taking part in political commentary, often praising some political ideas and condemning others. It would be hypocritical of me to attack someone else for being political. That’s what I meant by own it.

        Joshua: you don’t think I should be asking my question. So you don’t answer and deflect to something else. Are the lives of living children in schools not more important than the rights of gun owners? There: I am asking you the question again.

      • Mike Bryant

        “Are the lives of living children in schools not more important than the rights of gun owners?“ – Conor Kelly
        Are the lives of those countless living children killed by drunk drivers not more important than the rights of car owners and manufacturers?
        I see what you mean… I’m greasing up my bike. It only makes sense. What would we do without Conor to steer us into serfdom?
        Conor, do you know how many children are raped every single day? Time for you to cut off your… ahem.

      • Conor Kelly

        Many thanks for a straight answer and for asserting the rights of gun owners over the lives of children who are, like the victims of drunk drivers, collateral damage.
        Happy cycling.

      • Mike Bryant

        And thank you, Conor, for realizing that taking guns away from responsible citizens kills many more children than it saves.

      • Conor Kelly

        If you are back from your cycle, Mike, may I ask you a question? If you think responsible citizens with guns help save children’s lives, would you agree with some restrictions on the irresponsible? Share your view of the Biden proposals: background checks, red flag laws, raising the age to 21, ban on military grade weapons. Curious to hear your point of view.

      • Mike Bryant

        Conor, I think it’s rather precious that you believe that Biden has actually put forth those proposals. God bless you, you sweet, innocent man…

      • Conor Kelly

        Thank you for your blessing, Mike, but this innocent cherub would like to hear your views, not those of Biden.

      • Mike Bryant

        Well, Conor, first I must say Susan did a wonderful job on this apolitical poem. Anyway, to answer your loaded, political question… YES! Of course I think it is a terrific idea for an all-powerful state to be empowered even further in order to decide what is true and what is false, who is crazy and who is sane… it would be stupid to think that anything bad could come from that. I think I read a book about a similar situation in the ‘80s… everything turned out great! Oh yeah… they also get to decide if you are sick… Orwell.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        Susan: I’m with you, the whole of politics is so rotten to the core that none of these problems can be solved through it. I think the time is better spent raising children with right values.

        Conor: You ask about the rights of gun owners vs. the rights of children. I don’t think we should even be asking that question when thousands of unborn children are slaughtered like livestock every day in the United States alone; otherwise we’re guilty of straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel.

        Also, if poetry does nothing, why do protest poets in Muslim and Communist countries have prices on their heads?

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Josh, thank you for your measured and thoughtful comment.

        In this era of the breakdown of the family and the education system, raising children with the right values is a top priority. The influence of good parenting is vital to a child’s education and welfare.

        The question you pose on abortion is all-important. I don’t understand how Conor can overlook this question in a debate on the care of our children when we are at the horrific stage in this country of discussing aborting a child after birth.

        As for poetry making a difference – again you make a very valid point. Words matter, which is why we are living in the age of cancel-culture. It’s debates like these that draw attention to every facet of an argument, not just those chosen by a Ministry of Truth. I will be honest and tell you, I was reluctant to post my poem… I didn’t want the poem to prompt a distracting political argument. However, I feel a lot of good has come from this interaction. A lot of things have been made clear and points have been put forward that need addressing, points the MSM never mention.

        Thank you for your part in making us think beyond the nightly news. Your comment is much appreciated.

  8. Joseph S. Salemi

    The BBC is the primary and most prestigious media outlet in the U.K. The fact that they are big enough to have “regional variants” only shows their power. And do any of the other outlets you mention present any variation from the U.K.’s official, politically correct orthodoxy?

    You know very well the answers to the two specific questions I posed. But you are too much of a timeserving conformist to address them directly.

    Yes. FOX news is popular, despite the non-stop venom and aggression it must face from the elitist class here in the U.S. Is it openly conservative? Sure, of course. But it presents more factual information in a single broadcast than our leftist MSM outlets put out in a month.

    When newspapers are on the internet, that’s just one foot in the grave for them.

    As for red-tinted glasses, I’m sure that sentimental left-liberal Marxists like yourself are more used to wearing them. On your side of the pond, “red” still means Communistic.

  9. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Conor, you have hijacked a poem that is non-political to make a political point about gun laws by using a non sequitur to do it while accusing me of hypocrisy at the same time.
    Here’s where I stand on the political front:

    I supported the UK’s NHS for years – socialist?
    I don’t want a medical police state – libertarian?
    I agree with a welfare system – socialist?
    I think it should be limited – radical right?
    I agree with immigration. I am an immigrant – socialist?
    I agree with controlled immigration – radical right xenophobe?
    I think sexuality (especially children’s) has nothing to do with the government – libertarian?
    I used to agree with abortion – socialist? Now I’m horrified at idea of aborting full-term babies and babies outside of the womb. I think it’s infanticide and it’s a heinous crime – far right radical?
    I believe in free speech period. I don’t believe in hate speech – anarchist?
    I used to oppose gun ownership – socialist?
    I now approve of gun ownership – far right radical?
    I approve of the monarchy – royalist?
    I don’t like the political push from the next generation of royals – republican?
    I believe in the smallest government possible with term limits – libertarian?
    And the list goes on… so please stop pigeon-holing me. All I know is I speak without prejudice. I speak from the wisdom of personal experience and I’m still learning. For the record, I have lost faith in all politicians of every ilk and I’m relying on immutable truths to reach a conclusion in these troubled times. There is only one truth (a truth that doesn’t come from the lips of political authorities telling us how and what to think) and I’m seeking it constantly… hence my poem.

    • Conor Kelly

      That’s a long list of political positions for someone who is done with politics. My comments on gun control would be a non sequitur if they were based on the poem but they were based on what happened in Uvalde and on your comment criticising the behaviour of those in government. I took it you were referring to the government of Texas and their culpability in the atrocity. So what did you mean criticising the government? I agree there are multiple failings from successive governments that has led to the slaughter of the innocents, most of them having to do with a political reluctance to confront the politically powerful gun lobby.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Conor, they’re not political positions, they’re questions. I still have many questions concerning this incident and they’re not all gun related. You seem to have all the answers. I’m not there yet and I’d like to get there my way, not your way. Thank you.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Conor Kelly’s entire purpose in coming here to comment was to start a fight. He really didn’t give a damn about Susan’s poem, which is consciously apolitical. His goal was to use this thread to propagandize against gun rights, and in favor of Canadian-style confiscation.

        I’ve listened to all the different styles of left-liberal rhetoric for many decades now. Kelly’s is the garden-variety appeal that begins with orchestrated grief over some crime, posturing outrage over any expression of differing views, followed by a thundering call for a blanket abrogation of constitutional rights.

        Margaret Coats is in the U.K. now. She reports to me that the media there is in full attack mode against the American Second Amendment. I guess Kelly has caught the hysteria.

  10. David Whippman

    First, Susan, thanks for a well-written poem. Its theme seems to be: let’s think as calmly as we can about what has happened, let’s not have knee-jerk reactions or political opportunism.

    It sparked a hell of a debate. I don’t have the answers. I do know that in Britain, which as you know is generally not a gun-owning nation, we still get terrorist killings. Usually the killers use explosives or knives, not guns, but the murders still happen. And there are shootings, usually of gang members by rival gangs, but also during robberies. The fact is that the lawless can always get guns illicitly – and of course, I doubt if the mass killer’s mindset, or the bank robber’s, would be worried about whether a gun was legally obtained.

    Conor, I don’t know if I would like to live in a gun-owning society. I can however understand why law-abiding people would want a gun for protection; especially at a time when the police (at least in the UK) often seem more concerned about hate speech on social media than crime on the street.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      David, thank you very much for your valid and considered comment, especially your take on my poem. You know exactly where I’m coming from.

      As for the guns, you’re right. If a criminal wants a gun, no legislation is going to prevent that from happening. It’s the same with machetes and bombs,and vehicles are now used as weapons. It’s not the weapon that kills, it’s the person using it. Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws yet it’s one of the most violent cities in America.

      We live in a society where personal responsibility takes a back seat to pushing a political point to gain power, and that’s a sorry shame. There are many factors that lead to a young man committing a heinous act and many reasons why so many innocent children were killed in this horrific case. Perhaps we as a society need to take some responsibility… there are many things to think about, and while we’re doing it our precious children should be our uppermost thought.

    • Mike Bryant

      Mr. Whippman, thanks for your considered reply. If you don’t mind, I’d like to frame the debate.
      The USA is 3rd in murders throughout the world.
      If you remove:
      1. Chicago
      2. Detroit
      3. Washington DC
      4. St. Louis
      5. New Orleans
      The USA is then 189th out of 193 countries in the world.
      All five cities have very strict gun laws and are run by Democrats.

      Strict gun control laws cause murders to skyrocket. Why then should we spread these laws throughout a peaceful country.
      Over three million American citizens protect themselves by the use of firearms every year. Last week a woman used her legally carried pistol to shoot and kill a man who was shooting into a crowd with an AR-15, which is simply an automatic rifle.
      https://www.wral.com/woman-credited-with-stopping-mass-shooting-at-apartment-complex-in-west-virginia/20306891/
      Even the Uvalde murderer was stopped by an off-duty Border Patrolman with a shotgun he borrowed from his barber.
      Why don’t we ever hear these stories?

      I saw a tweet a few days ago. A man said, “I’m a German and I don’t see the connection between freedom and guns.”
      He was answered quickly by a gentleman who said, “I am a Jew and I do see the connection.”

      Food for thought.

  11. Paul Freeman

    A young man of 18 buys two assault rifles. He takes one of these military-style guns into an elementary school. He shoots dead nineteen children and two teachers with his gun.

    Watching the bereaved trying to come to terms with a gun-toting young man murdering their loved ones is heart-wrenching.

    These seem to be the salient facts and images I’m aware of when I hear mention of ‘Uvalde’.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Paul, watching a hoard of armed police officers doing nothing but hold back distraught parents for nearly an hour because they’re waiting for back up while those parents plead and scream in agony for the police to do something is also heart-wrenching. Guns are involved in both scenarios… that’s exactly why I didn’t take that route with my poem. I didn’t want the poem to be a political statement based on what we see on TV.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      If he did it with a pair of machetes, would you feel any better, Paul?

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        You make an excellent point, Joe.

        In the U.K., we had the Wolverhampton machete attack at St Luke’s Church of England infants’ school, on 8 July 1996. While the children were having an outdoor teddy bear picnic, the attacker, leapt over a fence and began attacking the children and adults with a machete.

        New laws were brought in, and many knives have been banned and stabbings and machete attacks are on the increase. Perhaps it’s not the knives that are responsible for these attacks

  12. Evan Mantyk

    To Conor Kelly: a colleague recently asked me what I would do if I was King of America in the face of the two shootings. I don’t think any further restrictions on guns are necessary. What I would do is twofold:

    (1) Restrict or ban shooter video games. These should be as difficult to get as guns. They potentially should be just reserved for training purposes in the military and police force.
    (2) Enshrine a copy of the Ten Commandments at every public school in the nation for cultural, historical, and moral reasons (not to convert anyone). Its cultural significance should be taught, the value of belief in a great and good divine power should be taught, and the commandments should be memorized in Global History class.

    • Mike Bryant

      Evan, your prescription would accomplish infinitely more than the ridiculous list of failed solutions coming out of Washington.

    • Conor Kelly

      For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere. ‘Blessed are the merciful’ in a courtroom? ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

      Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

      • Mike Bryant

        Conor… I HAVE seen “Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom. I have also seen mercy extended in courtrooms. Your rambling attack doesn’t even deserve a response. I answered anyway, but only out of mercy.
        Susan was right. You really do worship at the altar of woke.

      • Conor Kelly

        Thanks, Mike, for calling out my rambling attack on Evan’s idea of the Ten Commandments in every school. I would love to take the credit for it, but that honour belongs to Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a much wittier writer than I am.
        Thank Susan for that phrase “worship at the altar of woke”. It’s as good as any line in the poem above. But it could be worse. I could be selling my soul at the cross of Cruz for a handful of bullets.

      • Mike Bryant

        Kurt died in 2007… about 15 years ago… those coattails are past the use by date. I didn’t see quotation marks. Perhaps you’d have me correct your punctuation.

      • Mike Bryant

        “But it could be worse. I could be selling my soul at the cross of Cruz for a handful of bullets.” – Conor Kelly
        I like “cross of Cruz” since “Cruz” actually means “cross” in Spanish, however I don’t think he sells bullets. You can purchase them on line, though. Bullets have their uses, fair and foul… else why send them to Ukraine???

  13. Dave Whippman

    Mike, thanks for this information. As a Brit, I had no idea that murders in the USA were concentrated in so few places.

  14. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Conor, you love to ask questions, questions that further your political agenda (by your own admission) which you say is the lives of children. You have hijacked my poem to do just that, so why don’t you catch up with a couple of questions here.

    If you care for children, when does that care kick in? What are your views on the current government push for full term and post birth abortion?

    If you care for children, what about the obscene numbers of children killed in Chicago over the last two decades – a city with some of the strictest gun laws in North America?

    If you care for children, what about the children in Rotherham England, kidnapped, gang raped, and sex trafficked for over two decades with the police sweeping the evidence under the carpet because those police worship at the altar of wokeness?

    If you care for children, what about those on puberty blockers coerced in government-endorsed programs to undergo surgery to change their sex before they’ve had a chance to discover what sexuality means because they haven’t developed fully, physically or mentally?

    If you care for children, why don’t you want their parents to have protection for them when the police won’t use theirs? 19 armed policemen stood outside the school in Uvalde while 19 children were slaughtered in their classroom as parents screamed in helpless terror.

  15. Conor Kelly

    Thank you, Susan, for inviting me to continue the debate, although I would deny “hijacking” your poem as I am sure you would deny “hijacking” the atrocity at Uvalde for your own political and partisan ends. When you say, in the poem, that truth lies dead, that “I glimpse a dagger neath a cloak”, that “No playing foul/No odious outburst…” should tarnish the response to that awful event, you are making your own partisan and political points, despite saying “No politics”. And you will hardly deny that the comments, including this one to which I am responding , are free of your political agenda.

    That said, let me answer the questions you have posed.

    1: I know of no jurisdiction that supports full-term abortion. Post-birth abortion is actually infanticide. So I support neither. Being Irish and voting in Ireland against the constitutional ban on abortion, I would support the Irish approach: Abortion is permitted in Ireland during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, and later in cases where the pregnant woman’s life or health is at risk, or in the cases of a fatal foetal abnormality. Now my return question to you: are there any circumstances in which you would support abortion?

    2: You say that Chicago has obscene numbers of children killed over the last two decades despite its strict gun laws. I imagine you can guess my answer to that. The strict gun laws are not strict enough and should be stricter. Until the United States gets to grips with its obsession with guns these tragedies will continue. It doesn’t help matters to make facile comparisons between states and cities. I would not be able to get a gun in Ireland; I doubt I would have any difficulty in Chicago or Texas.

    3: What abut the children in Rotherham? I agree that the police were irresponsible. But far more than the police were irresponsible. You put it down to your hobby-horse, “the altar of wokeness”. The dereliction of duty shown was far more pervasive that that. Here is a much broader account of what went wrong: “The failure to address the abuse was attributed to a combination of factors revolving around race, class and gender—contemptuous and sexist attitudes toward the mostly working-class victims; lack of a child-centred focus; a desire to protect the town’s reputation; and lack of training and resources.” Lack of a child-centred focus is at the heart of it, not “wokeness”. You will pardon me if, while accusing you of using Uvalde for your own partisan purposes, I also accuse you of using Rotherham for your own political ends.

    4: You have come a long way from school shootings when you ask me to respond to your concerns over puberty blockers. I will be perfectly honest with you. I don’t know enough about the topic to give a reasoned answer but I do not share your view, expressed elsewhere on this site, that sex is simply a matter of chromosomes. As I have not given you an answer to your question it is probably unfair of me to ask you what rights, in your opinion, should be granted to those who suffer from gender dysphoria.

    5: I don’t understand your final final question.: “Why don’t you want the parents of those attacked children to have protection for them when the police won’t use theirs?” What are you suggesting. That the children in school should be armed? That the parents should be armed and made protect their children? The whole point of a police force is to protect the public and, like you, I think it appalling that 19 armed policemen waited outside while children were slaughtered inside. It does show how the “good guy with a gun” idea is inadequate in the face of a disturbed teenager with a gun. How many more children need to die to reinforce that point.

    Now that I’ve answered all five of your questions, maybe you can answer one of mine which I have posed on a couple of occasions in this thread: Are the rights of gun owners and sellers more important than the lives of children?

    Only Mike Bryant has answered this question. I may not like his answer, but I like his honesty.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Conor, I have a keen eye on politics but I’m not political and neither is my poem. You’ve twisted every word to create a platform for a gun confiscation push, the only area concerning children you are vehement about. The poem isn’t about gun rights or guns.

      As for your question, I maintain, it’s a non sequitur, so I cannot answer a non sequitur. Heres why:
      1. Is your right to own a car more important than the lives of those killed by one?
      2. Is your right to own a kitchen knife more important than the lives of those stabbed by one?
      3. Is your right to remain uncastrated more important than the lives of the raped?

      These questions are senseless, which is probably why you didn’t answer Mike. It’s not about the car, knife, or penis. The problem is the bad guys who use them to evil ends. Law abiding citizens use every single one of the things I’ve mentioned responsibly… including guns.

      There’s only one reason for a government to take away law abiding citizens’ guns and it isn’t for their personal safety… any history book will tell you this.

      • Conor Kelly

        I can understand, Susan, how you might think your poem is non-political, but to continually argue that you are non-political when your comments above are political in a partisan manner baffles me.
        By the way, the United States is now in a situation where gunshot wounds are the primary cause of death among children, more than automobile accidents. And, despite claiming to put children first, you are still opposed to ANY restrictions on guns.
        Also, it may surprise you to know that there are restrictions on the sale of some kitchen knives in many countries.

      • Mike Bryant

        I hear the ghosts of the millions of children slaughtered by their own governments and the criminals those governments create. I hear their words of hope before…

        “I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.” – Anne Frank

        I hear those words again…

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        If Boris Johnson is Conservative, I’m as far from Conservative as you can imagine. If Tony Blair is Labour, I’m certainly not Labour. If George Bush is a Republican, I’m not a Republican. If Joe Biden is a Democrat. I’m not a Democrat. I have always voted according to a manifesto and not a logo and I don’t intend to vote in a general election again. In the UK I was anti-gun. Having lived in the USA and grown to understand the people and their history, I agree with the constitution.

        “And, despite claiming to put children first, you are still opposed to ANY restrictions on guns.” Conor Kelly

        Conor, please don’t misrepresent me.

        There should be restrictions on guns. There are plenty of restrictions on guns, especially in places like Chicago with the most stringent restrictions in North America. I said I didn’t want responsible American citizens’ LEGAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS removed because of criminals. And yes, I do know there are restrictions on the sale of kitchen knives in many countries. I also know that knife crime is on the rise in the UK and in Europe despite these restrictions. Laws don’t affect criminals, only the law-abiding.

        In America, as a responsible and caring citizen, I would do everything in my LEGAL power to defend my family. I certainly wouldn’t rely on the police force to do it… I might be waiting until it was too late. Because I love my family, I wouldn’t take that risk.

        I don’t believe any government should have the right to remove the freedoms of the majority of law-abiding citizens because of the minority who break the laws. I don’t believe any government should have the right to remove the freedoms of citizens, full stop. And that is because history tells me not to trust the government. If you want to take facts and figures seriously, take a look at the amount of people in the 20th century massacred by their own governments. This is precisely why America has the second amendment. I don’t just care about the children in the USA. I care about all those slaughtered in Rwanda, I care about all the Jewish children killed in the Holocaust, I care about the Ugandan children killed under the evil dictatorship of Idi Amin, and the list goes on – take a look at it. Mike has provided the figures. As Mike pointed out above: A German said to a Jew, I don’t understand why men need guns. The Jew replied, I do. Conor, you are on the right side of history at the moment. One day soon, you might not be. It’s all about perspective.

  16. Mike Bryant

    Ottoman Turkey, 1915-1917, Armenians (mostly Christians) 1-1.5 million

    Soviet Union, 1929-1945, Political opponents; farming communities 20 million

    Nazi Germany & Occupied Europe, 1933-1945, Political opponents; Jews; Gypsies; critics; “examples” 20 million

    China, Nationalist, 1927-1949, Political opponents; army conscripts; others 10 million

    China, Red, 1949-1952, 1957-1960, 1966-1976, Political opponents; Rural populations; Enemies of the state, 20-35 million

    Guatemala, 1960-1981, Mayans & other Indians; political enemies 100,000-200,000

    Uganda, 1971-1979, Christians, Political enemies, 300,000

    Rwanda, 1994, Tutsi people, 800,000

    Those governments killed those people AFTER restricting those law abiding citizens’ gun rights.
    Governments murdered four times as many civilians as were killed in all the international and domestic wars combined.
    Governments murdered millions more people than were killed by common criminals.

    That is why Americans are armed… to protect children and the innocent from bad guys with guns… anyone that cannot understand this is beyond help.
    I don’t have enough time or crayons to explain this to anyone left who doesn’t get it.

  17. Conor Kelly

    I hate to break it to you, and I haven’t got Mike’s crayons to help, but when you say “Laws don’t affect criminals, only the law-abiding”, you are making some leap. Why have a criminal justice system if laws don’t affect criminals. Go to your local prison and ask criminals if laws affect them.

    I asked the question – Are the rights of gun owners and sellers more important than the lives of children? You call it a non-sequitur. The governments of Canada, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand don’t believe it a non-sequitur and have legislated gun controls to protect their children. Only the USA continues to protect gun sellers and gun owners over the lives of American children.

    You ask me to address your point and Mike’s point. Is your right to own a car more important than the lives of those killed by one?

    No. But to own a car you need insurance. Do you agree gun owners should be required to have insurance.
    To drive a car you need a license. Do you agree that different licenses should be required of gun owners. (I can drive a car but not a truck.) To drive a car you need to do a test. Do you agree that gun owners should do a test? To get a license you have to pass medical criteria. Do you agree that gun owners should pass medical tests? Mike doesn’t.

    • Mike Bryant

      Conor,
      So many questions… you are a bully standing on the graves of innocent children in order to help those untrustworthy jobsworths, technocrats and authoritarians that have already taken out millions of children in mass genocides, that you have pointedly ignored.
      Susan has answered enough of your questions. Read the constitution… what part of “shall not be infringed” don’t you understand?
      Spend ten years in Texas before you come back with any questions.

      All the genocidal maniacs did it for the “children”

      “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”