The Parkland high shooting got me close to writing something last week. I had three lines batting around in my head and I felt that urge – that inescapable “I have to write this” urge – to write about our inaction to mass shootings in this country. In some ways, that’s what I’m doing now.
But I held back. Part of it is probably linked to vacation laziness, and a smidge to the negative voice in my head adhering to apathy and cynicism. Yet the thing that stopped me most was wanting to take a beat and listen. I wanted to watch the process story – because that is what school shootings have sadly become – and see if there was anything different. In some ways there is. The activism of some of the parkland students in wake of what happened to them is nothing short of honorable. To want to go out there and not only advocate for the future, but those you lost, is noble. But those people are always out there after mass tragedies like this. The only difference this time is they are kids.
I have no unique truth to shed on the wake of mass shootings. There is no light that I can use to lead people to the solution. All I have, as I spend my time reading story after story on my feed, is this hope that something will change. That somebody will take some sort of step to curb this pandemic. While I align with a “left” viewpoint, I’m all for reforming mental health institutions. Let’s do that. But can we at least get some type of safeguard so people with those issues can’t buy guns?
My feed for the past couple of days has been an array of left and right stances killing the proposals of each side. We’re stuck in a pattern of arguing about the same things until the next shooting happens. We, humanity, need to break from that. Let’s take a little from every idea and see what works. Because this cycle of fighting is a travesty that will doom all of us.
Had I written my thoughts last week I was going to title the post (I was actually going to submit it as a letter to the editor in my local newspaper) “When will your kid die?” It was going to be a call to action. A “get to your rep and tell them this is what you want or you won’t vote for them” type of accord. It was going to be a condemnation of our voyeur culture – the first line would have been “Mass shootings are America’s Hunger Games.” But what would it have done? Provoked a followup that dissected my opinion piece by piece with another set of opinions? Created a surge that led to significant change? Likely not. It would have been another voice in a screeching vortex of voices.
There’s that cynicism and apathy again.
Maybe I couldn’t take venturing out there, into the discussion once more, only to see this happen over again. That seems more likely.
There’s this wood poster I have that I like to think of as a modus operandi of sorts. It reads “Love will save the day.” I keep thinking one thing lately:
Where the fuck is all the love, man?