Sam Grittner

In America, Fear Will Be the Death of Us All

The American Reality is fear, and fear alone. Despite the change of location, or face, or reason, there is one thing that binds us. 


After every mass shooting, when the straight, white man, who assaults all of us while killing some, “magically” gets taken into custody. Meanwhile, black people are shot to death for having the gall to go to their own apartment. I look into their eyes and see the same thing: total and complete fear.

For as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve heard conservatives preach that the United States is degenerating and eating itself alive because Americans have turned their backs on God. “If only the Bible were required reading and the Ten Commandments were posted in every school we would finally have our communal eyes opened and All Would Be Just and Good!” they shout as they stuff their pockets with your money.

Why should anyone fear God and going to hell, when they are living it?

When I hear the phrase “the American dream,” I want to vomit out all of my internal organs. Why don’t we talk about the American Reality? The American Reality is this:

Those are all indisputable facts. Fuck your dreams.

From my own personal experience, two thirds of the people I know struggle to pay their bills, keep the lights on, pay for medicine they need to live, and put food on the table of a home they will never own.

The other third are doing obscenely well. Everything is delivered to them. Their biggest worry is figuring out where their next vacation will be. They have no idea what it’s like to learn they have $30 extra dollars in their bank account and how much that changes their entire week.

You have never seen a rich person commit a mass shooting and you never will.

You will see white men from the lower rungs of society who invariably do have the odds stacked against them, but not by the bogeymen they claim do it. It’s not women or minorities or LGBTQ people or people from different faiths who are holding them back. It is the rich and it is a society that preaches the Bible but lives and dies by the gun.

Boys are taught not to show fear as soon as they are born. Then, when life is inevitably and invariably extremely hard, too many look for scapegoats and point fingers at people who have it harder than they ever will.

The fear of inadequacy, of not having social status, of not getting the American Dream that they were taught they were owed because of the color of their skin. It festers and it grows. They repress their feelings and are angry and it’s better for them to be angry than to be sad or cry or admit that they feel hopeless, adrift in the universe, unloved, and unlovable, because “real men don’t express emotions.” They are naked and afraid, but their rage convinces them otherwise.

There’s something so disorienting about them blaming the system that keeps everybody down for holding them down. The rich want the poor to stay poor. They want us to stay busy killing each other over misconceived fears so we don’t call them out, hold them accountable, and take back what they have stolen from so many since the beginning of time.

Where are the black mass shooters? Black people were literally slaves for hundreds of years. They earned the right to vote by sacrificing so many of their own. They are currently being slaughtered by the police, having their rights to vote, the same ones they bled to death for, erased, and still live under Jim Crow; only now it’s not as blatant, it’s slick and there are so many dog whistles they are drowning each other out. They live under James Crow. The exact same system but with a slightly better superficial facade.


I am sick and tired of watching my brothers and sisters, from every race and religion and sexuality, get butchered because the rich continue to play us against each other and white men don’t take ownership of their problems, of their inadequacies.


Where are the female mass shooters? Women work just as hard as men, yet get paid less. They give birth, but they are told they aren’t allowed to have agency over their own bodies; they are raped and sexually assaulted on a level so massive but will never truly know because they are shamed and vilified when they come forward and dare speak the truth. They ask for justice while privileged, blackout drinking, Señor Frog frat boys become Supreme Court Justices. And then they are told to smile more.

If a white man had to deal with any of that, he would dissipate before reaching puberty.

I am done with the majority blaming the people who have been oppressed and are being oppressed more than they ever will. White men face adversity, yes, of course, but not on a scale that is representative of what non-white heterosexual men face.

The politicians will deflect because they are the rich. Most want status while all they want is the status quo. I am sick and tired of watching my brothers and sisters, from every race and religion and sexuality, get butchered because the rich continue to play us against each other and white men don’t take ownership of their problems, of their inadequacies.

It is only getting worse every single day. I will send my thoughts and prayers, but I will follow them up with action. I will continue to protest against hate for hate’s sake. I will donate to just causes like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood because they are fighting the good fight and they don’t use guns. I will make my voice heard. I will vote. I will do so because voting makes a difference.

If this country doesn’t right its course soon, this toxicity will only get worse, which seems unimaginable until you look at what America is today: it is naked and afraid and it believes that holding a gun, not giving or being loved, is the only thing that will save it.

I refuse to stay silent. You can daydream until your skeleton turns to dust while talking about the American Dream, of “the good ole days.”

I will not shut up about the American Reality until it is no longer our reality.


Sam Grittner

Sam Grittner is a writer and stand-up comedian currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. He has written for and the International Business Times. His monthly stand-up show, “We’re All Gonna Die Tonight,” is returning in December.

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