The Zero Mile Post marked the meeting of two railway lines and possibly the beginning of the city of Atlanta. Zero Mile is a series of sometimes fictionalized and sometimes real stories based on life in Atlanta, Georgia.
I want to be a superhero. It is one of my many flaws. I’m not super. I’m not great. Most days I’m not even good.
I like superhero movies. I want to be a wonder woman. I want to believe in Superman. But I don’t. Guns will be the death of him.
I went to the movies to see “Thor: Ragnarok.” It is my favorite kind of movie. There are aliens and explosions and heroes who don’t always remember to put on a shirt. There is good versus evil. In movies good is easy to spot. Blue eyes, lazy smile, and slow swagger. Evil wears a crown of horns, like the devil. Evil dresses in skintight black catsuits and surly expressions of sadness and despair. Who would ever side with evil in a movie?
And yet, we feel so comfortable siding with evil in real life.
Even Hollywood has begun to admit it.
Wonder Woman comes from Paradise Island, a place of Amazon women who brandish swords and do backflips off galloping horses. They are strong and valiant. They are good and pure. But when the first villains arrive on the island, guns appear. An Amazon warrior carrying a bow and arrow is shot and killed without much effort. The man behind the gun is a called evil on film, but not in real life.
In Thor, they made a joke of guns. The anti-hero Skurge boasts that his treasures include two semi-automatic weapons found in a place called Texas. He calls them “Des” and “Troy” because when you put them together they destroy. Normally, I would groan at the pun, but not on the weekend of a mass shooting in Texas.
I sat in the movie theater enjoying a pretty good film thinking that even Hollywood has given up. Thor is a little “g” god. Son of Odin. He can wield a hammer and channel lightning. Loki has magic and cunning. Later in the movie Thor and Loki grab guns.
I wanted to shout at the screen. There it was. Art imitating life.
Why learn to fight with your hands or ride a horse or care about honor? A gun is quicker. Any untrained dummy can use one. Even me. But I wouldn’t use one without training.
I take no side in the gun ownership or gun control debate. Own a gun if you must. If you think that it will one day make you a hero, so be it. Say that guns should never exist. That’s not reasonable either. We’d have to turn back time. Renounce the age of steel. Go back to sharpening our arrows with stones and dipping the tips in poison.
We’ve always been hell bent on killing. Back then it used to take time and skill.
I don’t have patience anymore. I have a million questions about guns. I wish someone would answer me.
Why do you have a gun? Are you afraid to die? Are you destined to kill? Are you going to protect the innocent? I would believe it if I’d ever seen that happen, if I’d ever seen a hero like Wonder Woman or Thor stand between a gun and a person and found a way to save a life. Who will stand between 50 people and a gun? How long before a man and a gun kills 100 people? 200? You can’t tell me it’s impossible anymore.
I want to believe in heroes. Super or ordinary. But there won’t be one. Not ever. Not against guns.