Sunday, June 12, 2016

I have fired a firearm once, when I was perhaps 12-years-old. That was enough.

When I was in my second year of graduate school at Arizona State University, one of the new students was Philip Zeigler. I instantly knew he was a fellow gay. He wore nice clothes and always too much cologne. His hair was always perfect. He was studying physical anthropology. We knew each other, but didn't become friends. Right at the end of the school year we went to a gay bar together and actually talked and had a good time.

Philip decided to take a year off and moved to Dallas and got a job working at a hotel. Right after midnight on January 1, 1990, he was walking home with a friend when they were confronted by three men who demanded their wallets at gunpoint. They handed them over and then Philip grabbed his back. One of the men shot him in the head. As he lay dying they called him a faggot and other names.

The police never made much of an effort to find the man who killed him, even though they had physical descriptions and fingerprints on the wallet. The Dallas police department wasn't particularly interested in finding out who killed gay men back then.

Before Philip's murder I didn't think much about firearms. Afterward, I have grown to hate them.

30,000+ people are murdered ever year in the United States from firearms. That is about 750,000 people since 1990. The politicians do nothing. Oh sure, they "pray" every time there is a mass shooting. But Republicans love the money the NRA funnels to them, so they will never do anything to stop the epidemic of killing.

You just wonder if it will happen to you, or to someone you know. I suppose it will, someday.

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