Today I wore Blackbird’s Pipe Bomb because I appreciate the way it juxtaposes the pleasure of its scent with the provocation of its name. I find it to be a meaningful provocation, one that invites a thoughtful pause to consider what it means to live in these violent times. There’s a quiet horror in its cold beauty, and the thought of wearing something more effortless after the news this week felt flippant.
I imagine, though, that many people will find it gauche to wear a perfume called Pipe Bomb two days after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. That’s in poor taste, they might say. Or, You should leave politics out of it. The former aren’t wrong. The latter most definitely are.
Leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election, I saw a lot of friends cautiously preface statements with “I don’t like to get political…” because as we all know, “getting political” is an invitation an unresolvable argument, preferably with a stranger on the internet. It’s a pissing match aimed to see who’s deeper entrenched in their immutable ideology. There is no dialogue, no compromise, just two opposing sides shouting into the void and calling it a conversation. It’s understandably something you want to avoid, but it’s also impossible.
We do not live in a vacuum without policy or law, and so ourselves and our lives are inevitably politicized whether we like it or not. To not “make it political” is just refusing to take the next step in engaging with the world at large. To not “make it political” suggests you’ve got something to lose by trying to change a system, and I shudder to consider what some people must have at stake in the current system that makes mass murder such an effortless affair.
Personally speaking, I don’t believe in guns, full stop, so I’m obviously one to advocate for more gun control, but if you prefer to frame this as a mental health issue, I’m not here to debate you. Instead, I’d just ask you go out and advocate for change that feels right to you. If stricter gun laws just ain’t your thing, at least push for laws that will make mental health care easily accessible and affordable to all. I don’t believe it’s enough to solve the endemic gun violence problem we face, but better mental health care is an undeniable boon to society, and that in itself feels like a start.
After all, any positive political action we can make at this point is better than the apathy of inaction and the indifference of not being political at all.