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Mon Dec 17, 2012, 10:29 PM

I am going to tell you about my friend James. He is now dead, a victim of gun violence.

I have heard too many people tell me not to blame guns for the violence in our society these last few days, but I do blame guns. People may try to tell me that I am exploiting a tragedy, but I have been too close to tragedy and the NRA assholes sure as hell better not try to tell me that I am wrong to hate guns after they contributed to my friend's death.

Today I am going to tell you about a close friend from my childhood whose life was taken by a couple of gun-wielding teenagers. This is my story, and I know that there are many other stories like this that need to be heard. I am sure that I am not alone on this site, I am sure that there are many other people here who have known people whose lives were ended early because of guns. These are stories that need to be told and I strongly encourage everyone to tell their own story about their lives or the lives of people close to them were permanently altered by guns.

I first met James when I was fifteen years old, I was loner and I did not have very many friends at that time and James had just moved into my neighborhood from his previous home in California. James did not know anyone when he first moved into my community, but he immediately seeked me out as a friend at a time when I had nearly no one else to talk to.

Every single day as soon as I got out of school I would call James up and we would get on our bikes and ride across town, we had great times together and James gave me a friendship that I desperately needed at the time.

After several months James started to meet some new friends and I was still a loner, sometimes he would start picking on me to impress his other friends and our friendship started to fall apart. We did not talk for a few months, but then we started hanging out again and having some great times. Unfortunately those times did not last forever because stole some money from me and at that point I stopped hanging around him altogether. About a year later I moved out of town and never saw James again, but then one day I got a phone call that I will never forget.

James had just graduated from High School two days before I received the phone call that a police officer found his dead body in a ditch on the side of the road. James had been shot, stabbed, and beaten with the butt of a rifle until his throat swelled up and caused him to suffocate.

Most people thought I did not like James anymore because of our falling out, but deep down inside he was still a close friend and he will always be a friend even though he is not with us anymore. While I tried to hold my emotions in I was devastated by his death, and writing this has made me realize just how much his death still effects me to this day.

James was not perfect, he could be a total asshole and I was not the only person he stole from. Despite his imperfections however he was a good person inside, he made some dumb choices but it was always clear that he regretted his dumb choices. He may have been a petty thief and a jerk from time to time, but he was not a violent person in any way. I may not have trusted him with my possessions, but I knew he would never physically harm anyone. I fully forgive James for any wrong he ever did to me, but I can never forgive the people who took his life because they were mad at him over a petty theft.

The thing that pains me the most however is that some people will only look at his problems and think he had it coming to him. They will focus on the petty thefts and ignore the human being that he was, we want to think that because people do bad things that makes them bad people. James was not a bad person, he was a good person who did some stupid things but aside from taking some items of small monetary value and making some rude comments he never did anything to harm anyone.

When I see people who spout NRA talking points suggesting that it is acceptable to shoot people who commit minor crimes in “self defense” it sickens me. To be clear James was not shot by anyone who was defending themselves, he was taken to a city park and murdered in cold blood. Yet I know that there are some who would try to pretend that he deserved this, I know this because I have heard it with my own ears.

When I see the reaction from the gun nuts to the Trayvon Martin murder it reminds me of those who suggested that James deserved to die. I am sure we have all heard the gun nuts defend George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, of course they don't claim it was murder instead they try to tell us that it was justifiable self defense. You see Trayvon Martin used marijuana, he got in trouble at school a couple of times, to the gun nuts this provided evidence that he deserved to die.

For those of you who wonder why we don't trust people with concealed carry, just take a look at the comments of those who support George Zimmerman. If people believe that George Zimmerman used his gun properly then I don't want those people carrying a gun because they are clearly telling us that they believe murder can be justified on the flimsiest basis.

As disgusting as the massacre in Connecticut is I believe the Trayvon Martin case provides an even bigger reason for gun control. I have not heard a single person defend the Connecticut shooter, but many NRA allies did come out in support of George Zimmerman and suggested that it is proper to kill in the way that he killed.

The gun nuts have given us good reason not to trust them with guns after their expressions of support for a murderer like George Zimmerman. When I see those people I think of the people who justified James' death and it makes me sick to my stomach.

Now maybe some people will understand why I hate guns so much, but before any of the gun nuts try to tell me that I am basing my argument on emotion I want to remind them what brought about my emotion. It was a murder that involved a gun, and you can try to pretend that guns are no threat to us all you want but a person who I consider one of the closest friends I ever had despite his problems is dead because of a gun and if you try to tell me that I have nothing to fear from guns I will think about his body that now lies beneath the ground.

It is time to take the NRA and their allies to task, too many people have died and those who are working to prevent change will have the blood of people like James on their hands.

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Reply I am going to tell you about my friend James. He is now dead, a victim of gun violence. (Original post)
Bjorn Against Dec 2012 OP
GreenPartyVoter Dec 2012 #1
spanone Dec 2012 #2
panAmerican Dec 2012 #3
Zoeisright Dec 2012 #5
Fridays Child Dec 2012 #4

Response to Bjorn Against (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 10:48 PM

1. Thank you for sharing such a painful memory. *hugs*

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Response to Bjorn Against (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 10:49 PM

2. k&r...

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Response to Bjorn Against (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 11:50 PM

3. Love the sinner, hate the sin...sometimes Christians get that wrong

A lot of people harp on the part that God is just, while forgetting that he said he delights in mercy. And no matter how little or how much one sins, none of us can be the final judge of anyone. It is often true that going down the path like James chose may lead to more trouble than one could have anticipated, but most of us can look back on bad choices we made in life. And if it weren't for the grace of God, we could have met with dire consequences ourselves.

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Response to panAmerican (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:16 AM

5. Christians ALWAYS get that wrong.

I see a lot of hate and judgment from Christians, and very, very little love.

And there is no "grace of God". It's pure fucking luck.

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Response to Bjorn Against (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:15 AM

4. I think I understand what you're trying to say.

James counts, too. He's no different from the children at Sandy Hook. Like them, he did nothing to deserve being murdered. And, like them, he might be alive today if not for a culture that sometimes seems to place a higher value on gun rights than on human rights. Thanks for telling his story.

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