Fabiola Santiago

Fabiola Santiago: No one is safe from the gun madness

Comedian Amy Schumer speaks at a press conference in New York City calling for tighter gun laws in an effort to stop mass shootings and gun violence. A gunman killed two women last month in Louisiana during a showing of Schumer's movie Trainwreck.
Comedian Amy Schumer speaks at a press conference in New York City calling for tighter gun laws in an effort to stop mass shootings and gun violence. A gunman killed two women last month in Louisiana during a showing of Schumer's movie Trainwreck. Getty Images

The times are maddening.

There you are at your quaint neighborhood spa, feet in warm bubbling water, getting a relaxing pedicure after a highly charged work week, when the woman next to you, a pharmacist, begins to talk about … gun ranges.

Just like that, as if she were discussing changing nail polish color, she tells her pedicurist, loudly enough for the rest of us to hear, the story of how she’s had to stop frequenting the nerve-wracking shooting range in Hialeah but has found a less crowded, air-conditioned one in Pembroke Pines.

“I couldn’t stand the one in Hialeah anymore,” she says. “There were kids running around all the time.”

With a stiff back now that the image of kids running around a place where people are shooting guns is firmly planted in your head, you make a note to bring ear plugs next time. But there’s no turning away from the insanity of this country’s infatuation with guns — and its consequences.

You go to bed Sunday, post-pedicure, to the late-night news that a father in Davie has shot his 12-year-old daughter while showing her how to “safely” handle a gun.

You wake up Tuesday to news that a 3-year-old in Miami climbed onto a chair, opened a dresser drawer and, according to his mother, took his father’s loaded gun and shot himself in the head.

Each of those incidents is horrible enough on its own. But they’re only the tally of the latest 24-hour news cycle. It comes on the heels of last week’s deadly shooting in Cooper City, where a 14-year-old playing with his stepfather’s gun in the garage shot his friend in the head while his brother watched. Two families forever changed, forever in mourning.

These are maddening times. It’s not just “crazy people” shooting off their guns in theaters, churches, school campuses and shopping malls. It’s children and parents, too.

Who’s safe? Nobody.

In a culture that worships gun ownership, and exposes children to guns as if they were something to be proud of, a child can’t even be safe in her own home. She’s not safe from her father, who may have had good intentions, but like other gun owners I know, acted so cavalierly — so sure that nothing would happen, and so certain that the only option in this world is learning how to handle a darn gun.

In a culture that constantly exposes kids to violence, not even a small child is safe from his impulses, from his innocent curiosity.

The blame is on all of us, the grown ups.

Something is very wrong when a U.S. senator, wacko Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, gets his jollies showing us on a YouTube video how he eats his bacon fried right off the heat of a machine gun.

He’s such a lover of the NRA, he likes his bacon with a little gun-powder residue.

The times are maddening.

“These shootings have got to stop,” comedian Amy Schumer pleads, reacting to the Louisiana shooting in a crowded theater that killed two women and wounded nine others during the showing of the movie Trainwreck, in which she has a starring role.

Schumer asks that people back sensible solutions to make improvements to a system of background checks that often fails, and she asks for the funding of mental care initiatives.

“I don’t know what else to say,” she says, voice cracking.

None of us does.

The 12-year-old girl shot in the forearm by her father is, luckily, recuperating at a local hospital. The 3-year-old is fighting for his life at the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The 14-year-old is facing manslaughter charges as his friend is buried.

And a woman who dispenses healing medicines for a living is practicing shooting her gun in air-conditioning comfort, sporting a nice pedicure.

The nut-job senator? He’s a presidential candidate.

The times are maddening.

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