Well, What Do You Expect?

8394137_GThere’s a bit in a Donald Glover stand up that goes something like: “Just a few hundred years ago, maybe even less than that, people could come into your village, kill your father, rape your mother and enslave you and your siblings and everyone would have been like ‘well, what do you expect? It’s night time’.”

The full subject matter of the joke is that we’re living in the best possible time to be human and alive. Technology, life span, the freedom we have, the things we’ve accomplished as a race, the human race. We’ve gone to space and the bottom of the ocean. We’ve cured diseases and harnessed the power of the atom…

And yet we’re still kind of doing that same ‘what do you expect line’. When someone shoots up a place in this country: “what do you expect, he’s mentally ill” or “what do you expect he was a thug” or “what do you expect he hated blacks” or “what do you expect, he hated women” or the worse “what do you expect when women do men like they do.”

The excuses have already started in this case and the bottom line is that someone else went into a movie theater with a gun and killed two women. The victims names are Jillian Johnson, a 33 year old woman who co-owns a gift shop with her husband, and Mayci Breaux, a 21 year old Louisiana State University student. The shooter I won’t actually give time to or go into here. He’s the same type we always seem to see, just fill in the blanks.


Despite the fact that two are dead and nine other injured, people are lining up to make their defense of guns. And this is the reason why, while I understand the need for gun rights, I don’t trust a lot of the people who preach so hard about them. This idea that we have guns to save more victims seems to be more of a reason to keep guns than a reason to save lives. When the first thing you worry about when two women have died is your guns that says something about you.

And it’s not as if these are the only two people to die from guns…not even recently. Nine in a church, five more, US service members just doing their jobs, killed in a recruiting center and now this. All the while people complain about the President taking their guns away (a man who has actually done fuck all to restrict guns and presides over a more lax federal gun law than his predecessor).

But we’ve become a country of “what do you expect” instead of one that does something. A country that even when men and women were in the crosshairs in another country for simply drawing a picture of the prophet Mohammad we countered with “what do you expect when you set out to upset people like that?” Or when a person actually tries to argue that they should be able to shoot someone for slapping them in the face and legally get away with as if to say “what do you expect when you do that?”

What I want to know is what do you expect when you do nothing while the same scenario plays out over and over again? What do you expect when you blame everything but the lax gun laws for the way guns are treated in this country? What do you expect when you can’t jog with a fucking pocket knife, but having a pistol openly displayed is perfectly fine a legal or buy a wheel barrel of guns at a convention center?

We’ve been stuck in this cycle for most of my life now (I was thirteen when Columbine happened and I’m almost thirty now). How many more Jillians, Marcis, Sgt. Carson Holmquists, or Reverend Clementa Pinckneys do we have to go through before we realize that this isn’t the kind of problem that just passes because we’ve ignored it for long enough?