There are no words. And yet here I sit trying to come up with some. The heartsickness, pain, anger, and utter disgust I have felt cannot be described, for they have never been felt before, not to this degree. Wordsmiths surely never thought they'd have to come up with words for something such as this.
Every child I see reminds me of these twenty. These who will never see their hopes realized, who never even got to dream their dreams, much less set out to chase them.
I find myself staring at their pictures and sobbing, apologizing that we failed them horribly. Because that is how I feel. I agree with the President. We let those precious children down. And it must not happen again. Not without us doing everything within our power to prevent it.
Some will say you can never stop that kind of violence. And while that is true, does that mean we simply accept it and do nothing? And why does it keep happening so much more frequently here?
Have you seen the statistics
? America, by far, has the highest number of gun-related deaths per capita among developed nations -- 36 TIMES MORE than Australia, France, England, and Israel.
How does one reconcile that? Surely reasonable people can agree it's not simply some bizarre coincidence. And yet even as I type that I know that for many the answer will only be to buy more guns. It never ends.
Somewhere along the way we have gone horribly off track. We have cultivated such a culture of guns and violence. And I never thought I'd be the one saying this -- heaven knows I've watched more than my share of Forensic Files
, and Law & Order
-- but you can't discount the effect of the violent nature of so many movies, TV shows, and video games.
Are you gonna tell me this kid sat and came up with this plan having watched nothing but sports and I Love Lucy
reruns on TV?
And now reality shows basically glorify these people who are "prepping" for some sort of doomsday by stockpiling all kinds of guns. I hope to God the people on these shows are the very fanatical fringe of our society, but I'm not so sure anymore.
Why on Earth does a United States civilian need a machine gun? It's a rhetorical question. Nothing anyone could ever say will convince me they do. To protect against your government attacking you? I've got news for you, if the government sets its mind to attack you, no amount of firearms you can amass is going to protect you (see Ruby Ridge, Waco, etc.).
And I know the mental health aspect of it is a part of the problem, too. The lack of funding. My friend, Pia, has complained (rightly) about this for years. We had a large mental health facility near here which closed its doors several years ago, and it sure wasn't for lack of patients. What happened to those people? I believe addressing this must be a part of the solution, as well.
We are so obsessed with what is going on in the four corners of the world, yet we can't protect our own innocent,
precious, dependent-on-us-for-everything children.
Meanwhile, there have been 86 deadly school shootings in the United
States in the past twenty years. Did that number stagger you? Because it sure did me. It's gotten to the point where if only
2 or 3 people die in them, I feel like they barely register anymore on a national scale.
Do we just accept that this is the status quo now? That this is how things are going to be and we can't do anything about it? Is this just the price of freedom?
You can answer for yourself. For me, the answer is no. A million times, no. It's not a political issue to me. It's a moral issue. A matter of life and death.
As long as this world lasts, there will always be evil in it. No law
or restriction or increased security or amount of mental health funding will completely put an
end to it. Maybe we won't make all the right decisions. Maybe we'll
go too far at first. But if taking certain measures can reduce the number of these tragedies -- by half, or more, or any at all -- aren't we obligated to at least try?
All of this is coming from me -- a self-admitted poster child for
apathy, not wanting to discuss politics, and not feeling like anything I
could do would matter anyway. Me, who just wrote not that long ago on this very blog
about why must we bring up politics and issues so quickly after a tragedy, why can't we just mourn.
Well I was wrong.
Change must happen now, while the images of these slaughtered little ones are piercing our hearts and fresh in our minds.
"Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching and turn on I Love Lucy reruns?"