A gun has 26 working parts; the length of the barrel, the speed of the bullet, and the caliber of the ammunition determine its lethality. The trigger requires a precise amount of pressure to fire.
When I was 6, I was taught how to throw a punch because in the '90s, that was the "anti-bullying" movement. The first time I won a fight, I came home with bloody knuckles. It was the first piece of artwork we hung on the fridge.
Today, we raise boys the same way we raise guns; and then we wonder why men act like rifles. And isn’t that exactly what masculinity has become? A bunch of men, afraid of their own feelings, terrified of any emotion other than anger. We learned how to dodge a jab, we learn how to step in before we swing. We learned the heart is the same size as the fist, but we keep forgetting that they do not have the same function. We keep telling each other to man the fuck up, when we don’t really know what the fuck that even means. You see, we turn our boys into bayonets—failing to recognize mass amounts of the damage they are doing in the distance.
I grew up with crosshairs crawling up my spine. I genuinely don’t know if that gun made me safer, but I think about it. I remember the first time I shot someone. Their boots, and fists; how they hungered for my flesh and I know if I never own a gun again, it will be because I never really needed one—we never really needed them.
There is this idea that those who never fight back will never win. That the best we can do is outrun the bullet, but don’t we all know how impossible that is? Instead, I am learning that this body is not a shotgun; this body is not a pistol. I am learning that a man is not defined by what he can destroy. I am learning that a person who only knows how to fight can only communicate in violence, and that shouldn’t be anyone’s first language.
My city, our city, has over 4 million working parts. The size of the tragedy, the length of the media coverage, and the caliber of the press photographers determine the outcry. When will we feel pressure to trigger more than tears? After we dry our eyes—they’ll shut them again. Toronto strong.