Wednesday, 27 March 2019


by Kathleen Murphey

What is it about the American obsession with guns?
Did growing up playing Cowboys and Indians and
Cops and Robbers distort us to the core?
Bang! Bang! You’re dead!

The American frontiersman and the Wild Wild West,
central images to American myth, like Shane and High Noon
and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,
and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Move away from the Western, and action movies
continue the gun-slinging tradition, from Die Hard
to Lethal Weapon to Pulp Fiction to Zombieland.
Rat-a-tat-tat-tat and Pow, Crack, Pop.

Hand guns and long guns,
Benellis, Knights, Glocks, Rugers, Remingtons, Uzis,
Smith & Wessons, Walthers, Marlins, Winchesters;
they all kill the same.

Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook,
Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and it’s not just the schools,
Thousand Oaks, Tree of Life, Texas First Baptist,
the Las Vegas Strip, The Pulse, San Bernardino,
Bang! Bang! You’re dead!

The National Rifle Association’s power is so great,
it got the Dickey Amendment in 1996 to stop the CDC
from looking at gun violence as a public health issue, even though
between 2012-2016, 35,000 Americans died each year from gun violence.

67% of Americans want stricter gun laws
and 97% support universal background checks,
but the NRA isn’t having that, paying House Republicans
over half a million dollars in 2018 to avoid gun legislation.
Rat-a-tat-tat-tat and Pow, Crack, Pop.

When major medical organizations spoke up against guns, the NRA said,
“self-important anti-gun doctors should stay in their lane,”
and those doctors took to Twitter with #ThisIsOurLane;
how many senseless deaths to they or we need to see?

But the Second Amendment, the gun lovers cry: “A well regulated
Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right
of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Bang! Bang! You’re dead!

But what if the emphasis is on the necessity of the State
to have a Militia and not on individuals to have guns?
After all, in 1790, the young nation had struggled to win
its independence with make-shift Militias.

Today, the U.S. doesn’t rely on make-shift Militias;
we have the strongest Armed Forces in the world with a
$647 Billion Defense Budget and 2,083,100 military personnel.
Rat-a-tat-tat-tat and Pow, Crack, Pop.

Revolvers, pistols, rifles, carbines, shotguns, submachine guns,
assault rifles, and light machine guns.
There are some guns civilians just shouldn’t have.
How many senseless deaths do we need to see?
Brrrrrrttt, Brrrrrrppp, Bang, Bop, Boom!

* * * * *

Kathleen Murphey is an Associate Professor at Community College of Philadelphia. She had her first play performed as part the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, P Pan and Beyondland, with performances at the German Society of Pennsylvania on Saturday September 15th and Sunday September 16th, 2018. More information about her and the play can be found at her Website,

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