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枪支暴力如何改变了我的父亲罗纳德·里根

How Gun Violence Changed My Father, Ronald Reagan, and Our Family
枪支暴力如何改变了我的父亲罗纳德·里根

Forty-one years ago, on a cold, drizzly day in Washington, four people were shot by a young man who had concealed a gun in his jacket. This was long before mass shootings became a frequent reality of our lives. It was long before semiautomatic weapons became commonplace. There were many “good people with guns” there that day. It made no difference. Four men were shot in a matter of seconds. I am the daughter of one of those men, Ronald Reagan, who came incredibly close to losing his life because the bullets John Hinckley loaded into his gun were devastator bullets, meant to fragment. Meant to kill more efficiently. One of those bullets blew apart James Brady’s head; he was never the same.

41年前,在华盛顿一个小雨淅沥的寒冷日子里,一个年轻人用藏在夹克里的枪击中了四个人。那是很久以前,大规模枪击事件还没有像现在这样频繁成为我们生活中的现实,半自动武器也没有变得司空见惯。那天有很多“持枪的好人”,但这无济于事。几秒钟的功夫,四个男人中枪。其中一个人是我的父亲罗纳德·里根,他差点进了鬼门关,因为约翰·欣克利装进枪里的子弹是击中后会裂成碎片的破坏性子弹,目的在于更有效地杀人。詹姆斯·布雷迪的头部被其中一颗子弹炸破,人生从此被改变。

The gun used was a Röhm RG-14 revolver. It fit neatly into a jacket pocket. In the decades since that day, I have lived with a fear of guns, especially concealed guns. Now that fear has expanded to assassins in tactical gear with AR-15-style rifles storming grocery stores, schools, churches, theaters — anyplace, really — and mowing down scores of people in minutes. It is no comfort that my fear is shared by so many Americans. In fact, that adds another dimension. We are, increasingly, a country gripped by fear: It weakens us, gnaws at our confidence, makes us more vulnerable than resolute.

枪手使用的是罗姆RG-14左轮手枪,可以方便地放在夹克口袋中。从那天之后的几十年里,我一直生活在对枪支的恐惧之中,尤其是隐蔽的枪支。现在,这种恐惧已经扩大,杀手可以全身披挂战术装备,携带AR-15式步枪袭击杂货店、学校、教堂、剧院——实际上是任何地方——并在几分钟内杀死数十人。许多美国人和我一样都感受到了这种恐惧,但这并没有为我带来安慰。事实上,这增加了另一个层面。我们越来越成为一个被恐惧所笼罩的国家:它削弱了我们,侵蚀了我们的信心,使我们更加脆弱,而不是坚定。
 

When the Supreme Court ruled recently that Americans have a right to carry a concealed handgun in public, something froze in me. It won’t just be the sketchy-looking guy with a backpack who sets off alarm bells, or the person wearing a big jacket on a blazing hot day. It might also be the nondescript person who barely gets noticed, who suddenly reaches into his pocket for a gun. Someone like John Hinckley, who blended in until he didn’t.

当最高法院最近裁定美国人有权在公共场合隐蔽携带手枪时,我感到有些不知所措。让人担心的不再只是那些鬼鬼祟祟背着包、让警铃大作的人,或者在炎热的天气里穿着一件宽大夹克的人。也可能是那个几乎没有引起注意的人,突然从口袋里掏出一把枪。像约翰·欣克利这样的人,他混进人群中,直到突然现身。

Years ago, someone quoted to me a statement they attributed — probably apocryphally — to the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The quote was, “You can do whatever you want if you keep the people frightened enough.” There are people in America who know this and are counting on it. And to have a country in which everyone is scared of who might be legally carrying a gun as they walk through their daily lives means we have a weakened country in which anything is possible. Fear is a breeding ground for autocracy, and history shows us that every democracy that has crumbled did so in an atmosphere of fear.

多年前,有人向我引用了他们认为是——这一点未经证实——罗马尼亚独裁者尼古拉·齐奥塞斯库说过的话,说“如果你让人们足够害怕,你就可以为所欲为”。美国有些人很清楚这一点,并依此行事。当一个国家里,人人担心日常生活中可能会遇到正合法携带着枪支的人,那意味着这个国家已被削弱,任何事情都有可能发生。恐惧是专制的温床,历史告诉我们,每一个崩溃的民主都是在恐惧的气氛中瓦解的。

But fear is not one-dimensional. There is a healthy version in which we learn caution; we learn what to stay away from.

但恐惧不是单一层面的。我们在合理的恐惧中学会了谨慎;我们学会了对什么事情要远离。

It was my father who taught me to have a healthy fear of guns. I grew up in the 1950s, when television staples were Westerns like “Gunsmoke” and “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.” The men had guns, someone was always getting shot, and they would clutch their wounds and keep on fighting. My father was determined to educate me about certain realities compared with what we were watching. Every time, he would say things like: If that man were really shot in the shoulder at that range, half his arm would be blown off. Or: He was just shot in the thigh. He would not be limping along. He’d be bleeding out. I learned about the femoral artery at a ridiculously young age.

是我父亲教我对枪支保持合理的恐惧。我是在1950年代长大的,当时的电视节目主要是西部片,比如电视剧《荒野大镖客》(Gunsmoke)和《怀亚特·厄普的人生传奇》(The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp)。剧中人都有枪,总有人中枪,他们会捂着伤口继续战斗。我的父亲决定让我们了解某些事实,它与我们在电视上看到的不同。每次,他都会说这样的话:如果那个人真的在那个范围内被击中肩膀,他的一半手臂就会被炸掉。或者:他的大腿刚刚中弹。他是不会一瘸一拐向前走的。他会失血过多。我在很小的时候就知道了股动脉是什么。

Before I was born, my father obtained a permit to carry a concealed gun. It was 1947; he was the head of the Screen Actors Guild and it was a time of anti-Communist fervor and intense labor disputes. He had gotten threats that acid would be thrown in his face. His tires were slashed on one occasion. He said he wore the gun in a shoulder holster and it was a horrible time in his life. It was necessary, he said, but it didn’t really make him feel safer. It was a constant reminder of how life can take a frightening turn, and he didn’t like living in fear. He knew how corrosive it is.

在我出生之前,我父亲获得了隐蔽持枪证。那是1947年;他是美国演员工会的主席,那是一个反共狂热和劳资纠纷激烈的时代。他受到威胁说他的脸上会被泼硫酸。有一次他的轮胎被割破了。他说他把枪装在肩挂式枪套里,那是他生命中一段可怕的时光。他说,这样做很有必要,但并没有真正让他感到更安全。这不断提醒人们生活会如何急转直下,他不喜欢生活在恐惧中。他知道恐惧对生活的侵蚀。

On the day my father was released from the hospital after John Hinckley nearly killed him, my mother and I escorted him out. The world saw him confident, unafraid. What you didn’t see was the Secret Service putting a bulletproof vest on him in the hospital room, carefully strapping it over the long incision on his chest. That evening at dinner I asked him if he would now endorse stricter gun control legislation. My father had a stubborn streak, and he answered no, that stricter laws wouldn’t have prevented what happened. By 1991 he had changed his mind, supporting the Brady Bill and writing an Opinion essay for The New York Times saying, “This level of violence must be stopped.”

我父亲差点被约翰·欣克利杀死,后来在他出院的那天,我和母亲护送他出来。世界看到他自信、无所畏惧。你们没有看到的是,特勤局在病房里给他穿了一件防弹背心,小心翼翼地把它绑在他胸口长长的切口上。那天晚上晚餐时,我问他现在是否会支持更严格的枪支管制立法。我父亲很顽固,他回答说不,更严格的法律也无法避免这样的事情。到1991年,他改变了主意,支持《布雷迪法案》,并为《纽约时报》写了一篇评论文章,称“这种暴力必须被制止”。

Despite bravely staring down his fear, my father did make some concessions to it. He rarely attended church services. He said he was afraid he would be putting other people in danger. I thought about that decades later, in 2017, when, after receiving death threats following the publication of several of my journalistic pieces, I decided to stop running my support group, Beyond Alzheimer’s. I’d run it twice a week for six years, the schedule was public, anyone could walk in, and I was increasingly haunted by the possibility that I could be putting others at risk. One of the threats against me was credible enough that I contacted the F.B.I. I remember after the Pulse nightclub shooting, sitting in the support group with my stomach in knots, unable to shake how vulnerable I thought we all were.

尽管我父亲勇敢直视他的恐惧,他还是做出了一些让步。他很少参加教堂礼拜。他说他害怕他会把其他人置于危险之中。几十年后的2017年,在我的几篇报道文章发表后收到死亡威胁后,我想到了他的话,我决定停止运营我的支持小组“超越阿尔茨海默氏症”。我每周举办两次活动,持续了六年,时间表是公开的,任何人都可以参加,而我越来越担心我可能会将其他人置于危险之中。其中一次威胁很可能成为现实,以至于我联系了联邦调查局。我记得在“脉冲”夜店枪击案后,我坐在支持小组中,胃部痉挛,无法摆脱我们所有人都身在险境的想法。

You are never the same after gun violence has touched your life. From the deepest wounds of those who have lost children, loved ones, friends — most recently in Uvalde and Buffalo — to the survivors, like the kids from Parkland whose lives have been changed forever, lives are never the same. You wonder when it will happen again; there is a part of you that’s always watchful, always suspicious of strangers. You get jumpy when someone reaches into a backpack. Increasingly, because shootings have become so common in America, almost all people carry around that fear, even if their own life hasn’t (yet) been touched by gun violence.

枪支暴力触及你的生活后,你就再也回不去了。从那些失去孩子、亲人、朋友的人最深的伤口——最近的事件发生在尤瓦尔迪和布法罗——到幸存者,例如帕克兰的孩子们,他们的生活已经永远改变了,生活再也回不去了。你不知道它什么时候会再次发生;你总有一部分在警惕,总是怀疑陌生人。当有人把手伸进背包时,你会感到紧张。由于枪击事件在美国越来越普遍,几乎所有人都带着这种恐惧,即使他们自己的生活(目前)尚未受到枪支暴力的影响。

Democracy thrives when citizens feel emboldened by their country, when they feel confident in their freedoms and in a government that exists to make their lives safer, not more at risk. Democracy dies in the dark waters of fear, and that’s where we are — swimming for our lives, wondering why a strident minority wants us to drown.

当国家令其公民感到无所畏惧,当他们对自己的自由和政府充满信心时,民主就会蓬勃发展,政府的存在是为了让他们的生活更安全,而不是更危险。民主会在恐惧的黑暗水域中消亡,而这就是我们所在的地方——为我们的生存而游泳,不知为什么咄咄逼人的一小群人想让我们淹死。
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