[Warning: this post is way more polite than it deserves to be.]
What a mess. What an absolute effing mess.
I was horrified when I first heard what had happened in Uvalde. All those children!
The horror continued to renew itself as details of the situation emerged, then were retracted, then corrected. Now I’m angry.
I’m angry that someone did this. What possessed him to do such a thing? How could he coldly shoot trapped and defenseless human beings?
I’m angry at the inept response by law enforcement. Sworn to serve and PROTECT, officers waited in the hallway as they listened to gunshots and let the carnage continue. Nineteen armed adults held back, and nineteen children died. Each officer traded the life of a child for his own. The only heroes here were the three teachers who tried desperately to protect their students. Two died. One came close.
I’m angry at the circumstances we’ve cultivated that allow this to happen over and over and over. How did we get to a place where people think killing someone is an appropriate response to whatever injury they’ve suffered, real or imagined? It doesn’t matter whether it’s a mass shooting or a drive-by, a domestic argument or a political statement; we’ve allowed homicide to become a problem solver.
I’m angry that we don’t make changes. We spend far more time pointing fingers than working toward solutions. We reject anything that we don’t believe to be THE answer rather than recognizing that multi-faceted problems require multi-faceted solutions.
I’m angry that we lose sight of tragedy after we’ve dispensed our thoughts and prayers. Until the next one happens. Sorry, Uvalde, we have Highland Park now. And Buffalo—it’s all good, right?
I haven’t been able to write because I let all these thoughts (and so many more) roil and bubble and congeal into a black sticky mess. I didn’t think I could find the words.
I’m pissed off. Furious. Indignant.
EVERYONE: STOP ACTING LIKE SPOILED CHILDREN AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR PART IN THIS HORRIFIC MESS OF A SOCIETY.
That includes YOU. And me, too. We’ve all had a hand in this. Our collective action and inaction keep bringing us to this place of [insert location of tragedy]-Strong.
Stop waiting for “someone” to do something. You’re someone, and so am I.
Stop looking for “the” answer. There isn’t ONE, but many. It will take time and hard work.
A few years ago, I attended an interactive local event centered on mass shootings. When we broke into small groups for discussion, the prevailing sentiment (or perhaps the loudest voices) at the table kept hammering home the importance of securing the premises, having an action plan, and preparing for the inevitable.
That’s complete horse sh*t.
We shouldn’t have to live in a fortress. I don’t want to pass through a metal detector to watch a parade, enter a school, shop for groceries, visit a movie theater, or go to work. And while it may be smart to always have an exit route in mind, going to the mall shouldn’t involve tactical training. Besides, the problem isn’t MY lack of preparedness; it’s creating the situation in the first place.
We have too many guns, too little concern for others, too much focus on ourselves, and a culture of entitlement.
We need gun control.
We need to destigmatize and normalize mental health treatment.
We need to teach (and learn) that rights come with responsibilities.
We need to lose the “us and them” mentality, starting with our language. Try replacing “they” with “we” and see how it changes perspective.
We need to own our mistakes.
If you think you have no part in this mess or its solution, reread the “we need” list above. I guarantee there’s something in there you can do. And pipe down with your “But I voted…” rhetoric. Voting isn’t enough, you have to live it.
Life is not a spectator sport. Doing nothing isn’t passive. Doing nothing means actively avoiding doing something.
If you think I’m angry now, I’m just getting started.