The Great Horseshoe Crab Massacre
As 14 more mass shootings took place over Memorial Day weekend, the acts of several strangers on a beach provided a small lesson in overcoming numbness and apathy.
Memorial Day weekend, I was, like many of us, in mourning. Yes, thinking about all the soldiers who gave their lives for this country and its ideals, but more about how those ideals have been hijacked, transmogrified, and twisted for gain by NRA/Christofascist lobbying dollars to the point where citizens who never signed up to serve—many of them children—have nevertheless been drafted into our wars and tossed into their trenches: an elementary school in Uvalde; a grocery store in Buffalo. (Later that week, it would be a hospital in Tulsa. By the time I press the publish button on this, who knows? Every day brings more carnage.)
Not to mention our other killing fields: an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Cup Foods in Minneapolis, and, thanks to big pharma/big insurance/big oil lobbying dollars, hospitals in underserved communities, where Black mothers die in childbirth at appalling and shameful rates; the rest of earth, with its increasingly deadly, climate-change-triggered disasters; and the millions of homes and sidewalks in the U.S. where the uninsured and/or mentally disabled—yes, including those who fought for us overseas—are left to perish for lack of funds to pay for mental health, insulin, addiction treatment, food, housing, an ambulance, or even something as simple as an annual physical.
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America has a massive, growing, and seemingly intractable problem: money as arbiter of life or death. (Yes, yes, it’s always been thus, but by all measures, the gap has only widened, with increasingly devastating results.) And that hydra of greed has so many heads—a lack of basic empathy, tainted politics, the manufactured worship of guns for monetary gain, systemic sexism, misogyny, ageism, and racism, the exploitation of workers, the destruction of our environment, avoidable deaths from easily treatable illnesses, etc.—that demanding a halt to the madness and fighting for humane solutions feels sisyphean. Especially for those of us with uteri, who have not only become the unwitting pawns in a culture war aimed at claiming our wombs as public property, but who statistically do not commit mass murder with assault rifles, let alone at the dizzying rates to which we’ve now, as a country, become both accustomed and inured.
But of course you know all of this. If you consume news even in small sips, never mind the large twitter-sized gulps of doom-scroll stew from which so many of us are trying to wean ourselves, I’m not telling you anything new. The question I have, and I’m sure you do, too, is the same as Senator Murphy’s: What are we doing?
Like, seriously what the fuck are we doing? I’ll leave it up to our leaders to fix their part in this mess while sending out thoughts and prayers for Mitch McConnell’s speedy demise, but the question remains: How will we slay a hydra with so many heads?
Enter the Great Horseshoe Crab Massacre of Bethany Beach, Delaware. Dateline: May 30, 2022. Think Omaha Beach, but with arachnids. I think it offers a path forward.
Let me explain.
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