Sunday, May 20, 2018

And Again and Again and Again

The columbines in my yard are starting to open.  Once upon a time, they were just another pretty mid-spring flower.  Now, they have another meaning - the name of a high school where one of the first modern school shootings took place.  Now, these mass shootings have become epidemic.

Now, we face a crisis in our country - continuing gun violence. Day after day, month after month, the news reports roll in.  There are so many shootings that some barely get any news coverage.

We, the American people, have taken sides, and while we yell and posture at each other, the death toll mounts.  An elementary school massacre didn't resolve us to face the issue head on.  Several church massacres didn't. A nightclub shooting didn't.  Or a country music concert in Las Vegas.  Or....or...or.

We marched in Washington and it didn't help.

We gave everyone our thoughts and prayers, and then moved on, until the next mass shooting.

I speak as a resident of one of the many communities (Binghamton, New York) which has experienced this violence.

We tap dance around it. 


Our President is right when he says his responses, and our conversations, have become routine.  Everyone's response has become so predictable on both sides. More guns! Less guns! Fewer laws! More laws!  The guns were legal.  The guns were illegal.  The shooters were mentally ill.  The shooters were sane. The shooters were students. The shooters were Muslim.  The shooters were Christian. 

But, whatever is true, the people they killed are just as dead.  Their families are just as shattered.

How many more times will this article on the 28 deadliest mass shootings (yes, the Binghamton one appears on it) be updated before we come to a national consensus?

Or, will it be like the years leading up to the Civil War? We couldn't find a resolution to slavery, and we ended up with a terrible war, a terrible post war period, and echoes that still echo into our present day.  Will we be able to, finally, have an actual conversation, and actual, true action, to what is happening to our country?

Or will something so horrible, something none of us can now imagine, have to happen first?

Yes, I realize comparing gun violence to the United States Civil War is like comparing apples to oranges, or perhaps comparing a grape to a watermelon.  So let's think of these semi monthly massacres in a different way.

It is easy to think about terrorism.  It is us vs. them.  We are civilized.  They are pure evil.

But when it is us vs. us, it isn't so easy.

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. You may or may not see it in whatever comments this blog piece produces.  (I don't expect agreement.  I do expect civility.)  When you look at the hate that similar posts on other blogs generates, it shows you how close to the edge we are - the edge of where people who speak out are demonized, and even have death threats directed against them.

Will Santa Fe, Texas be the tipping point?  Or are we still waiting?  Is this is how we will continue to define our country?

Our future as a united nation depends on it. 

4 comments:

  1. I am pessimistic that anything will change, at least until a new generation takes over. If Sandy Hook didn't do it, it is hard to imagine anything horrific enough that will. But I do see some glimmer of hope with the millennial generation. They have lived with this horror all their lives and they may have the outrage and the courage to change it. We can only hope they will save us from this madness before it is too late.

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  2. Alana, I wish I had answers. I have more fear now than I did during the Cold War.

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  3. We all say the same thing, "something has to be done, but nothing is." I hope the 18 - 20 year olds get out and vote because maybe they will become the change we need.

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  4. Too many in Congress have been bought and paid for by the NRA. Until there's a majority in Congress that is not beholden to the gun lobby, no progress will be made.

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