I hate guns. All of them. I hate the way they look. I hate the way they sound. I hate their insistence on being present throughout my life. I hate the gun found in that kid’s locker in my high school that got him expelled. I hate the gun that shot a college classmate of mine at a party during sophomore year. I hate military guns. I hate the guns on the ships my pops used to sail when he was in the navy. I hate the guns that kill kids in Afghanistan. I hate the guns that kill kids in New Orleans. I hate the guns in the music I still find myself listening to. I hate the guns that killed Biggie and Pac. I hate police guns. I hate the gun that killed Rekia Boyd. I hate the guns that killed Sean Bell. I hate guns in the hands of vigilantes. I hate the gun that killed Trayvon Martin. I hate the guns my uncle once carried while robbing local grocery stores. I hate the gun that killed my mother’s cousin Sandy. I hate the gun my granny took out of the hands of her brothers when they were planning to get revenge. I hate the gun that killed my big cousin Demetri. I hate that gun more than any other. I hate the gun you fired that landed you in jail. But I thank God you had it.
Because Marissa, as strongly as I feel about guns, and as much I want to live in a world where they don’t exist, I know the way our world is currently constructed guns are the only thing bringing some folks peace of mind. There are women with a gun under the pillow or in the closet or the dresser drawer right now because that’s the only way they can sleep at night. They’ve experienced the same violence you were trying to protect yourself against. The threat is all too real and they are in charge of their protection. I thank God they have their guns.
But what happened to you could happen to them. When you’re a black women in America trying to protect yourself you meet resistance. This is a country that has long taught us that black women aren’t even human. That you would have any right to protect your existence is beyond this nation’s imagination. I wish your guns could protect you from that, too.
Marissa, you took a shot at violent misogyny. I don’t blame you for being armed against it. Then racist misogyny came to its defense and locked you away.I believe you shot that gun out of fear. I believe you wanted your freedom. I hate you felt that was the only option left. But I know that’s not your fault.
We failed you, Marissa. We fail women like you every day. You wouldn’t have needed that gun if a man never put his hands on you, or the state believed your life was worth protecting, or the spectre of violence wasn’t our daily reality, or we were all just decent fucking human beings. We’re not, though, and we let violence and misogyny and racism frighten people every day. And then they fight back and we lock them up. I hate guns, but more than that, I hate the necessity of guns. You wanted to feel safe. You deserve that. In this world, that meant firing a gun. In another world, that wouldn’t be the case, but we deal with the world we have. You protected yourself and I can’t hate that.
You deserve to be free.
In love and solidarity,