ClubQ…. #702 by Marie Cartier

I have written about this before

And, no doubt, I will write about it again.

This morning we woke to the news of

Another mass shooting, a mass shooting is defined as four or more people shot in a single violent outburst.

So, this time last night there were five killed, and eighteen injured—a mass shooting

Last night at a gay bar in Colorado Springs, ClubQ

The only place, so described by its patrons, for anyone queer in Colorado Springs to go.

I am visiting Denver for a conference and to see friends.

Queer friends.

I don’t live here anymore.

But I know that gay bar without ever entering it.

The sense of being me, being here, I could have gone

There last night and screamed in joy for the drag queens…made it rain with compliments and dollar bills for one of them named Del Lusional….and others.

I could have been happy in that club with chosen family that I had never met before

And I could have been one of those who screamed as I watched someone die, or as I was shot.

I wasn’t there last night. But I know that bar without ever having entered it.

I know those people and how they would have made me feel welcome. How they would have made me feel

Part of things. How they would have made me family.


The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, says the GOP narrative.

But no one with a gun stopped the guy at ClubQ

I am a woman with a pen and a notebook. Age sixty. With queer friends crying and angry Because we’ve been here before: Pulse where 49 were killed and the only thing stopping this from being another Pulse was a good guy without a gun.

The GOP has ramped up its hate on the gay population- let’s take down gay marriage, and even a politician who advocates execution for gays.

And so here we are: an assailant with an assault rifle in a gay bar. He had a history of violence on his own mother

And yet, here he is entering a queer club with a gun.

In Colorado my friends mark themselves safe from the mass shooting at Colorado Springs

But are we …?

Can I mark myself safe from gun violence? homophobia?

From the random and now expected crazy cycle of hate.

Today was Trans Remembrance Day in Colorado Springs and because of the shooting last night “the only place to go” is shuttered today.

But nobody is more resilient says my friend, than gays, than drag queens, than trans kids, than butch dykes,

The queer community has a history of resistance, my friend says… I say we have a history of claiming geography in contested spaces. We will do it again and again we both say.

I let hope flutter. There will be a vigil in California where I live. There will be a vigil in Colorado. There will be vigils. There will be prayers. And thoughts.


There were 38,000  gun-related deaths in the US this year. The GOP passed no gun control laws There were 2 instances of voter fraud. The GOP passed 361 voter suppression laws.

This is America.


What’s it gonna take? Asks most of Americans who support gun control.

The GOP opposes gun control overandoverandover and here we are: the not so new anymore normal.

And make no mistake: this is normal now. This is America

Where a public space is defined by


Where are we gonna go now? Asks the queer folk of Colorado Springs and indeed we can all ask that—where are we gonna go now?

Where are we gonna go now? Asks a drag performer on the news who hid in the dressing room with the door locked and two friends. They threw themselves on the floor. They saved themselves just in time.

Because five people were murdered in the five minutes that the gunman opened fire on a crowded dance club before two people took him down. A former vet and a performer in high heels. A veteran of several wars, a military guy there with his family to watch his daughter’s friend do drag. He tackled the assailant and took him down. And told the performer to kick the assailant with her high heels.

How I love queer community and our allies. How I love how we love.

And…in five minutes before he rushed the guy five people died.

Where are we gonna go now?

There is no safe place for us now, says another performer on the news.

And my friend who I am visiting says, if someone can kill twenty-five children in a classroom in Sandy Hook and… it. Has. Only. Gotten. Worse. I mean, she says, what’s it gonna take?

If that’s where we are—where are we gonna go now?

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the US, the end of November.

It’s number 702 in terms of mass shootings this year.

Is that it, America? Are we done?

What’s it gonna take? Is this really our new, not so new, normal?

Number 702… is that it, America, for this year?

There were 702 as I write this poem, but as I edit it I look up the number and now…there are 706. Can we get to a point where we answer- that’s it. We are not 706 and counting.

We are 706…and done.

For now, I mark myself safe– from despair.

And…I mark myself lucky to be alive. And…

I mark myself loved. I mark myself part of this chosen family.

There is nothing this kid with a gun could do to make me change who I am, says my friend.

I look for the rainbow.

And I agree.

And I mark myself


–Marie Cartier

November 21, 2022

Denver , Colorado

Number of Mass Shootings in America This Year Compared to Past Years (

Mass Shooting Tracker


Marie Cartier is a teacher, poet, writer, healer, artist, and scholar. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University; and a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.

An Unwanted Relationship with Gun Violence in America by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

I write this post with the waves of grief from Buffalo, Uvalde, Pittsburgh, Tulsa, the litany that is constantly being added to. After every mass shooting in this nation, I have spent days in despair, in grief, in mourning, in anger, and in rage.

Continue reading “An Unwanted Relationship with Gun Violence in America by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

#GunControlNow: While We Still Have Now by Marie Cartier

If you are somewhere:
a movie theater, festival, mosque,
temple or church, bar (especially a gay one although it could be any bar –cheers),
concert, elementary to college classroom, or any other public space in America…and
someone starts shooting,
shooting so fast the bullets spray like
a hose of water —
spray so fast you can’t know where to duck.
if you are somewhere and that happens…
Re-member yourself as a hero:
hide the children, if there are children
cover the babies, if there are babies
lock the doors, if there are doors.
Try to make it out alive.

Continue reading “#GunControlNow: While We Still Have Now by Marie Cartier”

We Don’t Need Armed Guards, We Need Grandmas by Karen Moon

(Written the day after the Parkland high school, Florida shooting.)

Last night, my husband and I went outside to our driveway to sit in the car and have a beer.  Those of you with lots of children will understand that sometimes you just do not have the time, energy or funds for babysitting, but at least we have some uninterrupted time to talk to each other. Our youngest is six years old, so the older ones can easily watch her for twenty minutes.  We are not leaving toddlers to fend for themselves.  And it is cold out.  That is why we are in the car.

Only last night, there was no ‘unwinding’ going on. Somehow, we started speaking about the Parkland, Florida high school gun shooting, and his voice became raised.

He calls it ‘Meditarranean’ and ‘passionate’; I call it an ineffective way of communicating.  I would like to say that I replied calmly. But I did not. He had me, and my voice became raised in response.

Continue reading “We Don’t Need Armed Guards, We Need Grandmas by Karen Moon”

Activism Helps You Heal: #RESIST #NeverAgain by Marie Cartier

Here we are, as I write this,  a week after the horrible shooting of 17 students and teachers in Parkland, Florida. And the beginnings of a new student led movement: #NeverAgain—never another school massacre like what happened in Florida.

Today, one week after this horrific event, you had massive student walk-outs all over the country to protest the government’s refusal to do anything substantive about it. Here are images of student protests.

One of the out spoken survivors of the Parkland shootings, Emma Gonazlez, has turned into a spokeswoman/teen, for the movement, fueled by her fiery speech the day after the shootings.

Emma Gonzalez

She has continued to speak out as have the other students.

And the movement grows. 

I am a college teacher, a college teacher in two public universities. I teach students one to four years older than the students at Parkland. Last week at one of the public schools I teach at there was an active shooter warning that turned into a hoax. I have in the past been on lock down because an active shooter was on campus. This is a very real problem for me.

Today I heard the president of the United States suggest that the solution to the every growing problem of gun violence is to arm teachers or other school officials with weapons. As a black belt in karate, I have had gun training and gun safety as part of my training and it is part of my self-defense resume. I had to learn it. What I can tell you about owning a gun (which I don’t) is that having a gun is not the same as knowing how to us one. I know how to disarm someone, if I am lucky and the fight goes in my favor. Anyone with any experience in self-defense will tell you that the quickest way to escalate a situation is to introduce a gun into the situation.

Continue reading “Activism Helps You Heal: #RESIST #NeverAgain by Marie Cartier”

The Act of Gun Control by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

This month’s post is brought on by dealing with another aftermath of a mass shooting and the responses in the wake of devastation. I write this in ardent hope that this will start a discussion that will hopefully lead to change. That waking up to another massacre will not continue to become the norm. So, upcoming generations will not have gun violence and mass shooting a standard, another headline, another milestone of the highest causality in history. Continue reading “The Act of Gun Control by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

Religion and the #StateofWomen by Gina Messina

Pledge PhotoThe White House Summit on Women was held this week on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 and it was a great privilege to be among those invited to participate in this inaugural event.  There was an incredible line up of speakers and so much was shared. It proved to be an overwhelming day – in a very good way.  Topics addressed included violence against women, economic empowerment, and education.  In addition to the main event, there were breakout sessions on a myriad of topics presented by the most preeminent authorities in their fields.  I walked away from the day with a sense of urgency to find news ways to engage gender issues and social policy.  However, I also wondered how to bring religion into the dialogue and give greater attention to its impact on women’s issues in the US. Continue reading “Religion and the #StateofWomen by Gina Messina”

Gun Control and Party Lines by Gina Messina-Dysert

Gina Messina-Dysert profileGuns and bibles have somehow become linked in this nation. Particularly throughout the midwest and the south, many associate their right to own a gun with their Christian religious values.  I personally find this confusing given Jesus’ stance on non-violence.

Many call me a “gun hater,” and that might not be too far from the truth.  But with that said, I need to be honest and share that there are guns in my home. They belong to my husband, Chris, but they exist in my space. It was a major issue that we debated before and after we were married.  Growing up in Ohio, Chris started hunting at a young age and continues to do so today (yes, he does eat what he kills).  We have a six year old daughter and I find it very difficult to cope with the fact that we own guns with a child in the house.  Nonetheless, we own a gun safe and take proper precautions.  And although I don’t like guns and I don’t like hunting, after fifteen years of marriage, I finally told my husband that I am going to stop judging him for his hunting lifestyle – it seems like the Jesus thing to do. *read sarcasm

I share this to say that the gun debate that exists in this nation also exists in my home.  Both my husband and I feel very strongly about our stances.  But we love and respect each other and so we find ways to compromise and ensure that in some ways we are both getting what we want, our rights our being honored, and safety is always our first concern.

The gap in the gun control debate has grown substantially in the last few decades.  During his presidency, Ronald Reagan argued that “I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home” (February 6, 1989).  I don’t disagree with this position, and I don’t think many would.  However, the debate over gun control has become about party lines rather than a reasonable law that honors rights and is committed to safety.

In 2015 there were more mass shootings in the US than days in the year. In fact, the US has one of the highest murder rates of developing countries with nearly three quarters of those murders being committed with a gun. In addition, gun control is a serious women’s issue given that most women murder victims are killed by a gun by someone they know. Following the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College on October 1, 2015, Obama commented, “Tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side.”  So here are those numbers:

From 2005-2015:

  • Americans killed in terror attacks on US soil: 71
  • Americans killed by gun violence in the US: 301,797

Whether you are an Obama supporter or not, you have to admit, the numbers don’t lie. Also important to note, mass shootings only account for about two percent of gun deaths annually. Most of those killed by guns are murdered in various situations from domestic violence, to arguments at the bar, to road rage; there are numerous situations that result in someone being murdered with a gun in the US each year.  When I hear Trump propose that there should be no such thing as a gun free zone, I wonder if he is really looking at the issue with a critical eye?

Many republicans don’t disagree that some level of gun control is needed. For instance, in January, 2013 now Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan stated “I think we need to find out how to close these loopholes and do it in such a way that we don’t infringe upon people’s Second Amendment rights.” He continued, “We had this issue, 2001, 1999 I think … when I first got into Congress. At the time I remember thinking, ‘You know, there is a loophole here. We should address that.'”

However, in January of 2016 when President Obama announced his executive action aimed at reducing gun violence, Ryan criticized him for being “dismissive” and called his actions unconstitutional.  Focused on expanding background checks, registration for licensed gun dealers, and narrowing the gun show loophole, Obama’s executive action mirrors Ryan’s call for change in 2013.  However, once the plan was proposed by a democrat, Ryan argued, “We all are pained by the recent atrocities in our country, but no change the president is reportedly considering would have prevented them…At a time when the country wants the president to lead the fight against radical Islamic terror, this is yet another attempt to divide and distract from his failed policies.”

Likewise, Marco Rubio took to the airwaves claiming that Obama wants to take away everyone’s guns.  In an interview on Good Morning America, Rubio made this argument and was quickly called on the carpet by George Stephanopoulos.  Backing down, barely, Rubio acknowledged that the executive action would not take away gun owner rights, but continued that he strongly believes this is the ultimate goal of Obama. Rubio then followed up calling all citizens to purchase guns.  Appearing on Face the Nation with John Dickerson, Rubio argued, “If ISIS were to visit us, or our communities, at any moment, the last line of defense between ISIS and my family is the ability that I have to protect my family from them, or from a criminal, or anyone else who seeks to do us harm. Millions of Americans feel that way.” It seems that fear mongering rather than facts continues to play a critical role in our gun control debate.

While our politicians are obsessed with battling party lines and maintaining partisan stances, our “Christian” nation continues to be one of the most violent.  As a Catholic and a feminist, I would personally like to see harsher gun control laws.  But that said, I wonder, if we fought so vigorously for every person’s right to have food, clean water, and health care as we do for guns, where would we be as a nation? As a people? A global community?  When will our politicians stop focusing on personal vendettas and instead put the needs of the people first?

This article is an excerpt from Jesus in the White House coming from the Far Press in Spring, 2016.

Gina Messina-Dysert, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Religion and Gender Studies at Ursuline College and Co-founder of Feminism and Religion. She writes for The Huffington Post, has authored multiple publications and is the co-editor of the highly acclaimed Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay. Messina-Dysert is a widely sought after speaker and has presented across the US at universities, organizations, conferences and on national platforms including appearances on MSNBC, Tavis Smiley, NPR and the TEDx stage. She has also spoken at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations to discuss matters impacting the lives women around the world. Messina-Dysert is active in movements to end violence against women and explores opportunities for spiritual healing. Connect with her on Twitter @FemTheologian, Facebook, and her website

“Cocks Not Glocks:” Protesting and the Phallus by Sara Frykenberg

Sara FrykenbergIn the past month, Feminism and Religion has posted important pieces regarding the serious debate in the United States over gun control in the wake of mass shootings at our schools, including “Its Okay to Kill Each Other,” by Kate Brunner, and “It’s Mom’s Fault,” by Esther Nelson. Both of these authors give powerful insights into this discussion, pointing to the humanity (or inhumanity) involved, and challenging assumptions/ attitudes underlining this debate and corresponding inaction.

Preparing for motherhood these past nine months, a state of being that both authors also discuss when considering the larger issue of gun control, I have found myself hoping for hope—looking for something positive: progressive action in this sea of violence and inaction. I wanted to share one of my discoveries in light of this national (and international) discussion of gun control, something that gave me hope, a protest that made me smile even when given such great cause to despair.

#CocksNotGlocks is a demonstration organized by former University of Texas (UT) student Jessica Jin, to protest concealed carry legislation that would allow students to carry guns on campus, specifically, “into classrooms, dormitories and other buildings at public and private universities.” Continue reading ““Cocks Not Glocks:” Protesting and the Phallus by Sara Frykenberg”

It’s Mom’s Fault by Esther Nelson

esther-nelsonMy conservative, local newspaper ran an article recently titled, “Gun Control is Not the Answer.”  The author, Jay Ambrose, is a contributing columnist employed by the Independence Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Denver, Colorado.  The group’s stated mission according to Wikipedia is “…to empower individuals and to educate citizens, legislators and opinion makers about public policies that enhance personal and economic freedom.”

As expected from the title of his article, Mr. Ambrose is against gun control.  He writes, “…any move short of the absurdity of confiscation would unlikely reduce killings.”  He cites Russia as an example, noting that Russia’s murder rate, with its strict gun restrictions, is more than twice that of the U.S.  “Guns,” he writes, “undeniably facilitate murder…[but] do not make a culture.”  He contends that “culture is a prime mover of violence.”

And then he says it!  “…one cultural circumstance ceaselessly cultivating criminal conduct in offspring is the enormous growth of single-parent–usually single-mother–homes.” Continue reading “It’s Mom’s Fault by Esther Nelson”

A Call for Gun Control by Gina Messina-Dysert

Gina Messina-Dysert profileBut America seems to be the place the whole world thinks of when apparently ordinary people use guns for grotesque acts of violence. America stands alone in its historic and cultural attachment to guns. America stands armed. — Jonathan Mann

Reflecting on the tragedy in Connecticut, as well as the shooting in Portland earlier this week and the shooting in Colorado during the Dark Knight Rises screening in July, it is clear that gun violence is out of control. In the last six months we have had three major tragedies related to gun violence. While some argue this has nothing to do with gun control, I wonder how it could not?

Continue reading “A Call for Gun Control by Gina Messina-Dysert”

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