I’m a writer. One person. One voice. While every one of you is tired of hearing it, sick of knowing it, and numb from living it, we have to fix the mess we’re in with our children dying in their schools. How many times does the country have to re-live it — the broken parents, the weeping classmates, the SWAT team videos, and the pools of blood on the evening news. It has taken me four days even to be able to talk about it.
There’s a numbness setting into our society. “Oh, another school shooting? Yeah, where this time?” Messages from our leaders are have become issued by rote. “Sorry for the families.” “Terrible tragedy.” “Thoughts and prayers go out….” There’s no meaning to the consolation. No outrage on the part of those whose job it is to legislate against the commission of these crimes. It’s just another thing to say in front of cameras. More smoke and mirrors, just something thrown out there to shush the masses so they will go away for a while. The majority of the people governing just don’t care enough to do the job we entrusted them to do.
I put the responsibility on them because what I’m hearing out in public, on social media, and in discussion circles everywhere is that people out here in the day-to-day world want this fixed, and fixed now. Not one more funeral that could have been prevented. Not one more child killed as collateral damage to some gunman’s agenda. Not one more shooting.
There’s no excuse for the shootings. Reasons? Oh yes, there are reasons. Clearly, those in a position to stop this madness don’t feel the need to stop it. By “feel” I mean that it isn’t their children who are dying. They are not watching a massacre in real time. No one is leveling an AR15 at those in the Senate galleries. The legislators are not sitting by their grandchild’s hospital bed, holding a small hand and praying for that little body to cheat death. They aren’t burying their own child, or even harder, their child’s child, scrambling for space in a funeral home and someone to officiate at services while a dozen other families do the same. Or two dozen. Or four dozen. The seriousness of the situation simply doesn’t resonate with them.
The gun lobbyists make a lot of noise, but their noise isn’t always about real issues. Sincere gun owners want gun control as much as any anti-gun spokesperson does. Solid laws give gun owners legitimacy as well, proof that they have earned the right and demonstrated the responsibility to own a deadly weapon in general society.
There are ways to control guns and still preserve the rights of gun owners. Waiting periods, background checks, mandatory education, and licensing are all options that would bring gun ownership to a more responsible condition in the U.S. It only takes creativity, cooperation, and sincere intent. Positive steps must be taken NOW, even if they are to be refined later. The country is in crisis — an “up against the wall, clock is ticking, babies are dying” crisis — and now is not the time for anyone to whine about their own entitlements.
(c) 2018, J. Cools