Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What do the numbers say

On Saturday January 8, 2011 Jared Loughner, carrying a semi-automatic Glock 9 mm, with an arsenal of two extended clips and one standard, and a knife, shot Representative Gabrielle Giffords in the face before opening fire on a crowd of people gathered for a political meet & greet. The poem says everything else I wish to say about this tragedy.
What do the numbers say? (an epitaph)
J. Phillip Wilkes
for John, Dorothy, Phyllis, Dorwin, Gabe, “Gabby,”and Christina
Thirty-nine explosions launch thirty-nine missiles.
Just when some youngsters stopped killing themselves
One young man planned to kill at least one woman
On the corner where his neighbors shop.
One first, singular launch, once perhaps the only one,
Pre-empted Saturday’s agenda, interrupted functions,
Shattered her skull, splayed slivers, like her splintered door,
Someone had smashed some months before.
Twenty-three semi-automatic rounds slashed ripples through
The atmosphere between those gathered in hope, who gave a shit.
Sixteen projectiles met sixteen bodies. Six slugs slaughtered.
One bullet killed that girl, born on a smoke-darkened morning nine years hence.
Less than half your leaden soldiers achieved their targets.
Less than half from less than half produced the desired result.
Fifteen percent. You won’t get back into community college
Without better scores, and a note from your shrink.
Twenty-two seems young for an assassin.
Had you heard, “Don’t retreat, instead – RELOAD”?
Could nothing but this “Second Amendment solution”
Satisfy the voice(s), the ticking, the echoes, the itch?
Six remain dead. One came back. A fraction of
Her splintered skull still separate from her molested mind.
No one can repeal your decision; her wound cannot be postponed.
Will she ever race around the oval on two wheels again?
Immigration? Education? What issues bore your motivations?
Do you drink coffee or tea? Why don’t we ever see it coming?
Why does it still come, where does it come from, and who or what
Will come from it to heal us from our shameful self-inflicted terror?
Seventy-five rounds, three clips, one reload, thirty-nine gunshots,
Two days, thirteen minutes, five charges (two threatening death),
Later, denied as yet any plea, we still know nothing.
“When will we ever learn?” “How many deaths will it take ‘til…?”
Will Death just always just keep dropping in, out of the sky?
Six Saturday. How many Sunday? How much more murder?
Two thousand more years, two more million. Too many in any case.
Six too many died Saturday. Too many die each and every day.
© 01/10/2011 J Phillip (John P) Wilkes; “MrWrite”

1 comment:

Book of Lies said...

This piece strikes emotional oil. The pictures painted by phrases such as “shattered skulls”, “splintered door”, splintered skull,” and “molested mind” are horrifyingly realistic. Such phrases cause us to imagine the details in which each victim suffered in all of the gory bone fragmenting terror. During the course of the poem, several questions were raised to the young assailant, inquiring about his inspiration for his actions. Knowledge pertaining to the motives for such violent acts may perhaps be the most useful piece of information a society could use to prevent similar catastrophes in the future. Though it is easy to castigate the assassin for such immoral behavior, we should be careful not to do so without considering the fact that he must have been suffering from severe mental turmoil. As someone who has never suffered from such mental ailments, it would be hard to empathize with or even apprehend the feelings of this man. This incident causes one to remember the Columbine High School shootings, in which two students lashed out in extreme violence due to their agitation from being a targeted victim in their school and society. It is hard to believe that these students were not attempting to convey a message to the rest of this dark world as they left it behind. This message would probably go a little something like this: think twice before you shun someone socially, degrade them as people, or exclude them as equals, and beware the wrath of the victim! Both violent events though, were horrible tragedies and though the assailants may have been social outcasts fed up with the world, it does not in most cases justify the taking of other peoples’ lives.