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I’m a Cancer Victim

CSGV is blasting some bloggers, including Joe Huffman, for, as best as I can summarize being mean to Joan Peterson. They particularly seemed incensed by Link P’s assertion:

“Peterson is no survivor of gun violence.  Her sister was murdered by her criminal brother in law. She wasn’t even there.

This isn’t something I would have ever said to Joan, because I think her grief is genuine and real, and I wouldn’t want to appear to be diminishing it or trivializing it. But I’m also not sure why Link’s statement is fundamentally wrong as a matter of how we generally think about these things.

Those who have been reading for a while know my mother died of breast cancer when I was 20 years old. She was diagnosed in my early teens and spent about 8 years fighting a losing battle against the disease. So I not only know what it’s like to lose a loved one, I know what it’s like to watch them slowly die and deteriorate over a period of years.

But yet the title of this post would make you think I had cancer, had beat cancer, or had otherwise somehow been directly victimized by it. By the same token, if I had said I was a suicide victim, it might make you wonder if I had tried it, or was giving a new definition to the term “ghost writing.” Usually when we speak in the context of victimhood, we assume a direct association with the person who was victimized. If your sister was raped, you’d say your sister was a victim of rape. You wouldn’t say you were a victim of rape. People would naturally assume that meant you yourself were raped.

There’s a lot of religion in this issue, on both sides. I don’t mean literal religion, but figurative, in the sense that the same kind of devotions, faiths, heresies, dogmas and scriptures are at work at a very fundamental level. But our religion is the role firearms play within the American cultural and political framework. It is heresy to the other side, because their religion centers around victimhood. Victimhood, to us, is heresy. Or at least the type of victimhood their religion centers around is. In short, Link was questioning Joan’s religion, and while that’s never polite, I can’t be so quick to say it’s incorrect. If it is, then I’m a cancer victim.

9 Responses to “I’m a Cancer Victim”

  1. Count me as a as a cancer “victim” as well. My wife died in 1993 eight months after being diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer.

    I watched a brilliant, strong, aggressive, and proud woman lose her mobility and then her life. It sucked then and it stills sucks. That said, I got on with my life, finished a graduate degree, started a new career, and found (years later) a wonderful woman with whom I’ve shared the last 11 years.

    I celebrate Rosanne’s life by serving my community, making donations in her name, and generally being a productive citizen because that is what she would have wanted me to do.

    I might not have said those things to JaPete but I sure as hell would have no problem telling Carolyn McCarthy who was widowed in the same year as I was that I thought it was long past time to quit using her own personal tragedy for political gains.

  2. Sebastian says:

    I’ve never done the breast cancer walks or been an activist in it. I do work in the pharma business, and have supported cancer research in my work. If we ever have a treatment that’s really effective broadly, and someone asks, I’d probably say two things influenced my decision to work on it 1) so other people don’t have to go through what my mom went through, and 2) because I’m a greedy capitalist.

    I can sympathize with wanting to do good, but I view Joan, in my context, as someone who runs around touting the benefits of homeopathic remedies and special diets for beating breast cancer. Sure, no evidence it works, but she’s doing something, dammit, to honor her loved one’s memory.

    I’ll honor my mom by getting rich and helping cure cancer. I’ve never been much interested in putting on a show of wearing my tragedy on my sleeve, and neither was my mother.

  3. terraformer says:

    The title should have been “I am a breast cancer survivor” to get the point across better. It would sound absurd to have a guy say that, but it would be on parity with what that woman said.

  4. Jujube says:

    terraformer – Men also get breast cancer. There are males who are “breast cancer survivors.” Check it out on google.

  5. I’m kinda sad I didn’t get any CSGV linky love. I spent a lot of time running japete down and when the 5th tier gun-grabber org starts trying to raise their profile, at least they could give me something. Maybe I should send them the video I made of japete arguing for a ban on my bolt action rifle and my XD.

    You know, I think that I made a poor decision in the blogging/social media arena. I’m pro rights, and no one cares enough to pay me. If I’d just decided to be anti-gun, I’d have Joyce Foundation trying to give me money to be an a$$h0le on Twitter. That’s not even a full time job.

  6. RG says:

    I’m really sorry, Sean, but having read your blog, you couldn’t pull an anti-gun attitude if your life depended on it. :p

  7. Ruby Clifton says:

    I know how painful breast cancer can be, emotional as well as physical. I myself underwent Mastectomy for the cancer i developed in my left breast. And all that at a young age of 42!

  8. Sebastian says:

    Ruby,

    My mother was diagnosed with cancer at 36. After a double radical mastectomy, it was determined to be Stage III. I’m glad you beat it.

  9. JimB says:

    JaPete and McCarthy… screw both of them. They both turned tragedy into a career.

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