A brief aside before we get started with the interview
I’m recording this the day after the mass shooting in Florida
I had a funny rant about socialists saved up that I was going to record today.
I thought about just going ahead and recording the original intro anyway. That might be a greater indictment of the current system in and of itself, that a mass murder of children is so commonplace that offering commentary on it would seem redundant.
But since I haven’t really done a good job of introducing myself to you all I’ll share a story.
Many years ago when I was in high school I was involved heavily in the theater department. Go figure right. And there was a wonderful woman with whom I had acted in my first musical, Fiddler on the Roof. This woman’s name was Reema Samaha. She was an extremely talented dancer, a gifted comedian and one of the most sincerely kind people I have ever met. She went on be nominated for what was essentially the high school tony’s for her dance in Fiddler and later she made a hilarious breakout performance as one of the Brewster sisters in Arsenic and Old Lace.
By April 16th, 2007, she had already graduated and started pursuing a degree in french and international studies. I got a call that night from my girlfriend at the time. She said she had heard something about a shooting happening at Virginia Tech. Being a heartless idiot at the time, I assured her nothing like this ever happened to somebody you know. That this was the kind of thing you always read about happening to somebody else. I went to bed that night thinking nothing of what she had told me, that my assertions were correct and I would wake up the next day with a sad but distant news story.
That morning, I walked into the black box theater to see my friends before going to class and I walked into a scene I will never forget. Everyone sobbing heavily, holding each other. And my girlfriend came up to me with tears in her eyes as I walked in and told me the news. Reema had been one of the 32 people shot in the massacre.
An explosion of sadness hit me. Not just for the loss of my friend but for the callous way I had brushed it off the night before. So certain nothing like this could happen to me or anybody I cared for. Classes were essentially cancelled and people tried to deal with the news. It’s a day I will never forget.
After the initial tragedy had passed and her body had been laid to rest, many who knew her sought to figure out ways to prevent another tragedy from happening. Her brother, Omar, was famously featured in a video where he was able to walk into a gun show and purchase 10 guns in under an hour, no background check required.
But it’s been 11 years since that day at Virginia Tech. Nothing has changed. Children were murdered in an elementary school. Many thought that would be the day we got something done. No action. If anything, gun laws have become less restrictive since Reema’s death.
I’ll never understand a lot of things about these gun rights advocates. People that can look a man whose sister was shot down by a psychopath in the face and tell him closing the gun show loophole is too restrictive. People who believe that any kind of gun control legislation is the first step to a disarming of the American people and should be prevented to secure freedom at any cost. People that protest outside abortion clinics but leave the front door of the NRA clear from any kind of interference or public outcry. The worst are the people that experienced the same sadness and heartbreak that I did and still seek to blame everything other than fucking guns.
All I know is that I would gladly pay any price and sacrifice any so called “freedom” to have Reema back here today. And I know everyone whose children and family were murdered yesterday feels the exact same way.
Now, for something that will hopefully distract from all the tragedy happening in the news, this is my interview with Matt Daniel, founder and editor of the Peedmont