My kid starts kindergarten tomorrow, and instead of worrying about the normal, healthy things – what to pack them, how I will drop them off, and when to pick them up – I’m worried about her getting shot.
So I get into an argument with my dad on the phone. He blames [a] party propoganda for formenting the youth to violence.
So I turn to Facebook. It is busy blaming assault guns or White Nationalism or Trump.
So I turn inward. When did this start to go wrong? What are the facts? What are the absolute causes? What are the confusing correlates?
I discover the US had a few mass shootings every 100 days or so, but they were rare and mostly one or two deaths. 30 years ago we started seeing the mass numbers with Stockton Schoolyard, killing elementary school kids. 10 years after that we had Columbine. And then Virginia Tech. And then Sandy Hook. And then Pulse, then Las Vegas, First Baptist, Parkland….and this year I read it we are 250 mass shootings, and we aren’t even at day 216 yet.
What changed 30 years ago? How, why did we start on this path towards today? This escalation predates Trump, or Obama, or Bush, or Clinton. It predates Party over People politics. It predates the Internet and trolls and Russian Meddling.
And on the other side, we’ve had guns for centuries. Same as bullying, fascists, communist, racism, Satanism, mental health disorders, and the right to bear arms. We’ve had it all, but we didn’t have this level of utter madness.
These mass shootings predate everything I am told is the cause to blame, or we’ve had centuries of institutionalization of our worst societal mistakes. So how is any one of these right? And how does one have so much confidence that the solution, the solution they are told by others, will stop this madness? How do I gain their blind confidence that my kid will be safe tomorrow, if only X went into effect today? Because I don’t; I don’t believe them. And I’m tired of all their smug arrogance in proselytizing it.
Regardless, we all got here, together. Congrats, America. Well done! We are reaping what we sowed, together.
Maybe the heart of the matter is we have lost the ability to think critically about the words of pundits? Maybe our brains can’t decide the social noise within our echo chambers? Maybe we have become conditioned to see “being honest” as the One Truth, forgetting that “being honest” is only a shitty defense of stating a crassly constructed opinion? Hey, look, don’t blame me if that offends you – I’m just being honest! But “being honest” is not truth. Repeat that, reader, say it with me. There is no merit to honesty without both integrity and respect to walk in stride with it. None.
Or maybe we have become lulled by the promises from silver-tongued politicians and pundits? All we have to do is get someone out of office and everything will be solved! It will be glorious! Except it’s all a mirage for their own power and prestige.
Or maybe, through this all, together, we have lost the right to bear arms? We went years without mass shootings. Then mere months, then weeks. And now we can’t even go a day without one, or two. Is such a nation, that foments fear and harbors hatred – by our leaders no less! – deserving of such a liberty anymore? If a nation of people loses its collective soul, do those same people deserve the rights given to them by those before them? Or have we proven to each other than we are too mad – from either anger or insanity – to figure out how to stop? To stop with the hateful yelling, or blaming “the other”, or ignoring the building tension?
We are about to explode. And no one, including me, seems to know how to stop this mindless march into that madness. So we keep on marching, armed with only thoughts and prayers.
Thank you for taking time to read this. Good night.