Tracking Them (Unabridged)

Here is a bit more spoken word poetry for you guys.  In case you don’t listen to the audio, let me assure you that the first half of this piece is sarcastic with respect to mental health issues… so if you’re a little offended… please read on.  This is NOT a hateful poem.

Tracking Them

We keep talking about “gun control” as if controlling guns can control violence.

As if it’s ignorance that’s robbed us of our inherent innocence.

As if lack of surveillance has left us impotent
to keep the hate and destruction at bay.

They say that tracking the detractors is the missing factor.

Keeping a list of who has the arms will help them inform us of who wants to harm us.

“Let us protect you from the evil in our midst, twisted in its tactics, plotting to attack us.”


And we keep talking about “gun control” as if a database can erase our fears, returning the loved ones we lose every year.

As if a background check, the power to deny the rights of others based on answers on a form, can transform our ability to protect ourselves.

But anyone who really tries (with few exceptions) can get a weapon, make an explosive, or, much more emotive, simply bring a knife to this gun-fight of a life.

What good then are their databases that so debase us?


But we keep talking about “gun control” because we love our children no less than we love our freedom to protest.

We love the idea that we’re still in control of this democracy, this corporate plutocracy.

And on the day that this government ultimately fails us, regaling us with the lies of its own demise, we will rise to fight the good fight against corruption and greed.

To intercede in the debates of ruling this state with arms and might if need be.  In no less patriotic a caucus than our founding fathers taught us.

Examining with gravity the growing depravity of a government that proves day after day in a spiraling decay that they have no concept of right.

Unable to judge what is right for us when it’s only the bottom line that they trust.


And we do rise up.

We rise up in outrage in this day and age of data and tracking, recording without asking, compiling of files for proof un-needed when evidence of innocence goes so easily un-heeded.

We rise up because they want to track us, when we’ve done nothing wrong, violated no law.

But we need to address the gnawing loss, to redress the wrong doings of those who’ve tossed all semblance of humanity off the cliffs of sanity to the jagged rocks of profanity.

We need to track the shooters.
Before they shoot.

To refute the ability of brute force to so dramatically alter this nation’s course.


After all, guns don’t kill people.
Crazy people kill people.


No one who would commit such crimes, buying off lives at a wholesale rate with the meager coin of a sold-out soul could think that they did right, unless their soul was swamped in night,

falling to a damnation so eagerly earned, casting about for one last turn to make their mark on our collective memory. To cameo nightly in our nightmares, preying on our primal fears.

These monsters are not thinking correctly. No longer human, they’re filled with wrath. Unfeeling and uncaring, their reality is… detached.

They’re maniacs and schizophrenics embracing the racing violence inherent to an insane mind.

Yes, there is a problem here, but the problem’s not us, not “within” this great nation.

The problem is them and their deprivation.


Now, don’t get us wrong, we’d like to help before circumstances become so dire that they feel the temptation to conspire with the demons dwelling deep within.

Surely we should help these poor souls before their sickness becomes their sin.

Escort them safely to places of healing, record their names, document how they’re feeling, follow them home and never condone the fear and alienation so naturally felt in an unfeeling nation that labels them depraved.

Keep them away from our homes and our schools, and don’t forget to condemn. It’s so much more freedom for the rest of “us” if we’re only tracking “them”.


Who are these people we need to expose?
These despicable entities so strongly opposed?
Who will we add to our list of foes?


They’re people whose brains don’t function the way we might expect. Some chemical imbalance disrupts the intellect, whispering in a mind of unease.

They’re people who have an unasked for disease.

And we call them disease, we call them bipolar, we call them schizophrenic, though we’d never call anyone “cancer”.

We try to censor their frustrations with our total lack of answers. Looking down up on those who fight through a night of the soul for a good life, a normal life, or, dear God, a simply difficult life would do.

As they struggle with thoughts discordant, enduring the failure of a critical organ.

And we call them weak when they’re finally drained,and when they take their own lives we call them damned, because the organ that failed was their brain, and we clearly don’t understand.

For had it been their liver, their lungs, their heart, we would mark them as a saint for persevering for so long in the face of such malignancy.

We would grant them death with dignity.


We may offer a bed for a couple of nights, a cocktail of meds that may not be right rapidly chosen from evolving lists by a doctor who’s given no time to insist on seeing their patients more.

We place them in social desolation, ply them with platitudes and affirmations, then send them right back out the door.

And don’t forget to follow up with the therapist you can’t afford; don’t ever stop taking the medications we won’t refill anymore.


Yes, we know their names, we know what blame to place. We know the features of their faces, so lets stop these creatures before they debase us.

Before they hurt us, or worse, disgrace us.


And if we create this list in some computer of those who may become the shooter, it’s not just the mentally ill we endanger. This issue is not about tracking a stranger.

This list we make of names to hate would encompass more people than we might have expected. Every man woman or child who asks for help will eventually be detected.

But, don’t think they’ll sit politely in your pigeon hole of prejudice just for having entered the office of a therapist.


We’re talking about victims of chance and of genetics.
From those barely able to function to those merely less resilient.

Every person seeking help to build a healthy emotional balance,
and everyone who’s faltering under the crushing weight of illness.

People living stressful lives. Lives no less full than yours or mine. Perhaps less able to trivialize problems that we might find benign.


And when we act in outrage, the truth that we miss is that we’re hiding behind a popular myth: that violence is inevitable for minds we assume to be less able to refrain from turning evil.

Oh, we pay for the thrill of a shivering chill when acts of such derangement are sensationalized before our eyes on silver screens for entertainment.

But when it’s comes to real people, we’d rather not be bothered with the uncomfortable realities of lesser known mentalities.


Maybe, if we recognized how many hurting people we love,
we wouldn’t be so quick to judge.

But we don’t know.

We don’t see how close to home this lies because we refuse to realize
that the people we love are nursing bruises beneath those smiles and easy excuses.


We need to admit to the massive error we commit in the name of action. To recognize the hate speech that we allow to out-reach our compassion.

To stop all this debating and hating and talking ourselves into a rage. To engage the system in reformation to treat the ill without defamation, or degradation, or isolation.

To preach the gospel of truth and love that true understanding comes from above.


So let’s teach our children that mental health matters and is a subject matter that’s worth our civility.

Let’s help them to understand instability with an empathy that demands humility.

Let’s attest to the unspoken reality that it takes more courage to listen than to speak, and that there’s never any shame in admitting that you’re weak.

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