My friend Deanna was murdered this weekend.
I said it. After days of struggle to come to grips with what happened,
I’ve put it down in black and white. I have to live with it. And now
that you’ve read it, so do you.
Reporters are playing coy with some details, probably because the police are doing the same, but we know this:
Deanna failed to report for work at Allen Elementary School in San
Antonio, Texas, on Tuesday, the school sent someone to her home to
investigate. They found Deanna lying face down on her bed. They also
found her boyfriend—name withheld—elsewhere in the house, dead. They
currently believe the boyfriend shot Deanna, then shot himself in the
head. They believe this happened on Saturday, though nobody found the
bodies until Tuesday.
all the violence in the news lately, we have grown bored. The
casualties in Aurora, Clackamas, and Sandy Hook meld into a faceless
mass. We can’t calculate numbers, much less remember names or
personalities. Murder, in some cities, has become downright ordinary; it
takes body counts in the double digits to blast us out of our saggy,
Deanna was not a statistic. This is a woman I ate dinner with, told
jokes with. This woman bought me coffee. This woman came to my house and
fawned over my cat. Deanna is a real person, a real part of my life—a
part that is now over.
have a real sickness in American society, one that manifests in
serious, concrete ways, but which we will not address seriously because
we believe doing so will violate... what? What will it violate to take
serious steps to curb gun violence? Certainly, in writing the Second
Amendment, the Founders did not mean we could do nothing to save my
friend. They did not mean for us to stand powerless in the face of
violence destroying our communities.
claim we need guns for protection. But Deanna was killed by the man who
should have protected her, using the gun he should have protected her
with. Advocates claim women are safer with a gun in the house. But the
CDC, FBI, and Harvard’s School of Public Health agree that a positive
correlation exists between firearms availability, and women’s likelihood
of violent death.
reading this will say that, if her boyfriend had not had that gun, he
would have used another tool to kill her. He might have stabbed her,
struck her with a hammer, or beat her with his fists. I say: maybe. He
certainly would have needed more effort to kill her, and would have had
to do so in very close quarters. His success would have come at much
greater cost. Without that gun, Deanna would have been much more likely
to survive this encounter.
LaPierre of the NRA famously claimed, following Sandy Hook, that “The
only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.”
But as a Christian, I reject such manichean divisions. We all have good
and bad within us. And I know Deanna; she would not have let that man
into her house if she thought him anything less than a “good guy.”
For all the good that did her.
the wake of recent mass shootings, many reform advocates have felt the
need to qualify their statements with demonstrations of their own macho
strength. Progressive pundit Ed Schultz can’t endorse regulatory reform
without saying “I’m a sportsman.” Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords stressed
their own gun ownership. Joe Biden suggested shooting shotgun shells
into the air. It’s as though we can’t demand change without first
flashing our machismo credentials.
let me say it: I’ve never owned a gun. I’ve never knowingly permitted a
firearm into my house. I do not hunt, shoot skeet, or target shoot.
I’ve gone range shooting with a rented gun, once. But like nearly
two-thirds of Americans, I am not a gun owner or sport shooter. I
consider myself a regular guy, but will not prove it through Freudian
a non-gun guy, I say we must change. The current debate is too narrow,
driven by crinkum-crankum opinions that have not changed in decades. The
demand for perfect solutions or none at all has stalled. We need to
move forward, now.
Because you don’t want to join me in mourning a friend, dead by the gun that should have protected her.