Upham's Corner Online

Santa Claus:  Enough is Enough.  I am Arming myself and my Sleigh with Guns


Night before ChristmasMr. Santa Claus, you are the best!

Santa had agreed to meet with UC News - an exclusive - traveling all the way from the North Pole down to Uphams Corner.  On the annointed day, we waited and waited and night fell – midnight – not a sound.  Then quite unexpectedly … 

Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, with a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! He had a broad face and a little round belly that shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.  He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. 

We introduced ourselves with hugs and it didn't take long for him to get to the point.


Santa Makes a Proclamation

Santa came on his visit, saying he wanted to talk about his life in the 21st-century and his continuing efforts to provide toys and gifts to all the "good little girls and boys."

"I love my job," he said. "I've been doing this since time began. – All year long, I work with my elves - thousands of them - to make sure there are plenty of toys by Christmas Eve. All year long, we whistle and we sing.  We dance and carry about like little kids. 

"And I don't want to forget my dear Mrs. Claus either.  I love her so much.  She cares for the reindeer and makes such delicious meals for us.  And if it weren't for her watchful eye - coming here to inspect our work and put the final touches on the toys – why they wouldn't be as good as they are. 

Suddenly, Santa's whole demeanor changed.  His face looked serious, if not angry.  He paused then made a proclamation: 


"Enough is enough! I've had it. I'm tired of all the threats and near misses. I'm going to arm myself and I am going to arm my sleigh."



DroneOh, the Changes I've Seen

"The changes I've seen … that's what makes me so mad. 

Do you know I've actually been followed by drones?  What keeps me and my reindeer safe is our ears. We hear sounds from miles away and avoid big storms, airplanes and nowadays, the drones. They're so tiny - like model airplanes.  It's easy to get them mixed up. But not the sounds. My reindeer can tell the difference. The sound of a drone is high-pitched and ominous. 

Let's say I'm down the chimney making a delivery.  If I hear the prancing and pawing of each little hoof and I hear them spelling out ‘danger' in Hoof-Code, then I lay my finger aside of my nose and up the chimney I go. And we hightail it outa' there fast.

Now what do you think that tells people? A house full of gifts scattered everywhere? "What's wrong with Santa?" I don't like it. I'd like to blast that drone out of the sky to make sure I can maintain my reputation.  I'm going to put a drone-killer on the back of my sleigh.

But that's not all. Sometimes I get to the bottom of the chimney and I hear: ‘Come out with your hands up.' They're supposed to be asleep. I can just see a human with a gun standing there in front of the chimney ordering me out. What's he going to do? Kill me? Because I'm delivering toys?" 
Bushmaster

Carrying a Gun is the Right Thing to Do

Santa just shook his head.  "It's a very sad day," he said, "when I can't do the work I've been doing forever – bringing smiles to all the kids' faces. 

You know, I hardly ever listen to human talk but I was impressed with that guy, LaPierre:

‘The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun
 is a good guy with a gun.'"



Santa reached into his sack and pulled out a gun. He raised it, pointed it at me and, in an instant, pulled the trigger. My heart raced as I felt the bullet shatter my face.


Then I heard Santa's voice as if from a distance.  "I'm a good guy," he said. (The gun wasn't real.)  "I'm a good guy and I'm going to carry a gun."  (I'm still alive.) "I am going to defend myself, my reindeer and my sleigh."  (I am still so frightened.)

He paused for a moment, looked at me wistfully then said: "I can't do it. What if I'm wrong? What if your gun is plastic and mine is real? Or the other way around?"




What's Wrong with your World?

"What's wrong with everybody here?  I bring all kinds of toys to the kids – stuffed animals, games, dolls, guns, you name it. These are toys, for heaven sakes! Kids are expected to outgrow them. Toys are a way to explore the world. Kids practice taking care of their dolls.  They sleep with their stuffed animals.  They play games with friends.  They run around and surprise their friends, saying: "Stick ‘em up.'

But you grow up and you are supposed to put your toys away. When did you ever see a 12-year-old walking around with a stuffed animal? Or a 15-year-old with a doll? Or two 18-year-olds running around, hiding and surprising each other with their toy guns?  Instead they are doing that with guns that shoot real bullets.

You know what the problem is? You humans have found a way to make a profit, selling guns and ammunition. They're addictive because the kids think that guns give them power, but they don't. All that guns are doing is signaling a death sentence – somebody's – in the grave, in prison, whatever.

Santa UnfinishedAnd an even bigger problem is the adults who don't teach kids the value of life. Kids are looking for intensity, meaning and importance while they are growing up.  Are the adults teaching them the real meaning of life or how to "win up" against the next person? 

Take a look at me, he said,. "I'm not bragging, but a long time ago I found my purpose and place in life. And if I hadn't found it? I don't know what I would be doing now.  I probably wouldn't be alive.

There is a big difference," he continued, "between Elf Land and Human Land. We live in a different dimension, one filled with magic and no sense of time. How do you think we deliver so many toys in one night? Time stands still for us; and in a human instant, we can deliver toys to an entire city."




Sacrificing the Innocent

"Over 10,000 people killed by guns every year?  That's crazy. That's more people than live in Santa's Village.  I hear tell you have a law called the Second Amendment that gives people the right to own a gun.

Do you know how many times I've been frustrated with my elves? Even though we live in magic land, life is not perfect here. In fact, I've got a bad temper. My elves know it and they hide in their little foxholes when they see me ranting and raving. What if I had a gun? Would I use it? 

What's important to you?  A rule that lets people (kids) die needlessly every year?  Is that what is driving your world? 

Do you know what is really important to me? Yes, of course, making the toys is important but it's not the most important. It's my elves, my reindeer and my dear Mrs. Claus. You could say they are the sources of my existence. Without them, I am nothing.

It seems you humans grow up to a world where what's important is making money, above all else. But to make money, you have to make choices. And that means that some things are expendable.  It means that if I am a gun manufacturer, I need to show a profitable bottom line – selling.  And what am I selling?  Hot chocolate?  No!  Guns.  And guns kill.  What's expendable?  It's people in trade for money.

You don't paint pictures with guns.  You don't write words using guns. You don't water the earth with guns.  You don't warm houses with guns.  You don't feed the hungry with guns.  You raise the gun, look through the sight, aim and fire.  And another one bites the dust.

Let's say I offer up my elves as a sacrifice.  Let's say that each bullet intended to kill in Human Land is deflected to the North Pole and it kills  one of my elves instead.  In one year, Santa Land would be no more.  In one year, Human Land would lose the potential of more than 10,000 people, wiped away in a hailstorm of bullets."


What are YOU Going to Do about this?

"Gosh," Santa said, as if he had awakened from a trance or a bad dream.  "I am so sorry for going off on this tangent.  I guess it was really bothering me.  Thank you for listening."

Then he added an unexpected challenge.  "But I want to know what YOU are going to do about this." 

"Me?" I thought, "Uphams Corner News?"  "I don't know," I replied back.  "But I'll find some way of letting everyone know that you, Mr. Claus, care deeply about us." 

In a final gesture of mutual appreciation, we shook hands – more hugs. 


He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,


"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Ten terrifying facts about guns



Santa "Unfinished" - illustrated by Larry Johnson

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Larry Johnson attended The Boston Museum School of Fine Arts and has been an illustrator for over twenty five years in book  publishing, magazines and agencies. His work includes assignments for Fortune magazine, Lee Low, Scholastic, Little Brown, The Boston Globe, ESPN.com. Hill Holiday and the Sporting News. His work has been acknowledged in New York's Society of Illustrators.

Johnson works in all mediums and is comfortable with editorial concepts and deadlines. His ability to capture a likeness as well as draw people of every ethnicity makes him a very sought after freelancer. His greatest asset is his ability to work in a plethora of styles from a literal rendering to wonderful children's books.

http://www.zhibit.org/illustrator/contact

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Posted: December 26, 2012     Nancy J Conrad


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