III – Survivor Apocalypse
How difficult is it, in the wake of the 573 killed and injured in the Las Vegas shooting of 2017, to imagine unhinged nut jobs across the nation vying to top the Vegas shooter’s total? There are madmen enough, God knows, and we have guns for them all. Something just shy of 300 million guns already in circulation in this country. How difficult, then, would it be to further imagine an ongoing National Gun Slaughter Insanity Olympics? That’s why we buy guns for ourselves, isn’t it? To keep us safe from people with guns? I have forearm tendinitis from swatting flies. One problem leads to another.
For each of the 35,000 killed by a gun, and for each of the 100,000 people wounded by a gun every year in America, there are, what… ten friends, relatives, loved ones, co-workers, and classmates for whom the world will never be the same? Say 135,000 X 10. That would be more than a million people each year whose lives have been turned to shit by a gun. The NRA has five million members. How long will it be until survivors outnumber them? We already do, of course. We just don’t understand this. We don’t know who we are, and we’ve forgotten where we come from. The purpose of the “Survivor Apocalypse Manifesto” should therefore be clearer still.
I’m going to make the long trek into town and buy me a Dustbuster battery-operated vacuum thingie, the portable kind you use to clean off the mats in your car. I’m going to use it to suck the flies off the windows and window ledges. There are solutions. There are things that work. Sensible gun laws save lives.
IV – The Zombification of Gun Violence
Gun violence is a virus, a sickness deep in the body of our nation. It was dormant like the flies. Then some change in the environment animated the virus and it began running its fucked-up program, the sole purpose of which is to replicate itself. Like cancer except it’s highly contagious. That’s how it works with zombies, right? My grandson spends a great deal of time killing zombies. He’s six-years-old. If I’d had a computer when I was six it would have been the same for me. Maybe bad genes in our family. Or maybe that’s just the way healthy males are in America. We’re a brutal, violent people; it’s in our DNA. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand stayed calm, negotiated deals with Britain for their sovereignty. We shot our way out. Then we polished off the redskins. Now we turn on one another. Or on ourselves. Two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides. Mostly old white guys. And troubled teens. White people tend to be violent toward themselves, black people toward one another. I don’t know why. It’s just a statistic. A number. It was not a number to my father, however. He was Wendel. She was his darling Wendy.
It is a scientific fact that dying stars emit mysterious radiation which traverses the universe at light speed and penetrates everything, causing constant mutation in the genetic material common to all forms of organic life. The zombie virus is therefore constantly mutating, as is the flu we fear every winter. That was how we got zombies in the first place. A virus that might’ve started as chicken pox for all anyone knows. One day the mutation took a deadly turn and people everywhere were stricken with it, soon to be reanimated as the living dead, doomed to shuffle around, tortured by the constant desire to gorp human flesh. It must be awful, that desire, the relentlessness of the gorp-urge. You can hear them moan from it on the zombie TV shows. It’s a metaphor for something that’s wrong with us, I think. This is what Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the NRA, has in mind when he says, “Colleges are breeding grounds for socialists who will take our guns.” Socialists being like zombies, which he hates and fears. Socialists, and zombies, presumably.
But here’s the thing. Sooner or later, after zillions of genetic combinations have been rolled, we’re going to arrive at, can you dig it? VEGETARIAN ZOMBIES! A rustling in the back yard. You look out the window and it’s them again, a pack of zombies chowing on your hydrangeas. Hey! Get out of there! Shoo! You have to squirt them with a hose. They hate that. Sooner or later they’ll mate with the meat eaters – I don’t think any of the TV shows have delved deeply enough into zombie sex – causing the meat eaters to turn veggie too, because the new mutation is stronger and more vital than the weary old trope of whatever we did wrong to deserve the virus metaphor in the first place. I’m going into town.