Another week in America, another shooting. I am not sure what I feel. Sandy Hook was the last shooting that truly shocked me. Las Vegas was shocking by the sheer numbers, but in our Ritalin deprived media environment, I feel like we all moved past that rather quickly and were on to other scandals, tragedies, and horrors. And so that brings us to a Texas church, another place to be added to the ever growing list of places to forever be associated with violence and death.
What is there to say, besides the obvious, which is mass shootings are as American as football, woven into the fabric of our culture. They’ve become ubiquitous, even if we only seem to focus on the occurrences when a shooter kills into the double digits.
To live in America is to know, and be aware of the possibility, that while at a theater, mall, school, concert, church, or some other innocuous place I have not thought to list – that you may be shot to death in cold blood. It is to know that people will offer up thoughts and prayers after your untimely and unnecessary demise and that not so long after you’re gone, it will most likely happen to someone else.
It’s sad and it’s sick.
I haven’t watched the news to get further details about this particular shooting – what would be the point? Locations and names are different and hell maybe even this person’s motivation, but at the end of the day a large number of innocent people were killed and maimed because an individual who should not have had possession of gun had one.
Now the ritual of offering thoughts and prayers begins.
Well I am sorry, but I am out of thoughts and prayers. There have been an awful lot of thoughts and prayers offered up on this issue. God’s voicemail and e-mail, or however the supposed supreme being gets messages, must be overflowing. Maybe he changed his number? Address? After all, didn’t we just go through the Las Vegas shooting with the American people sending a truckload of thoughts and prayers to God? It would appear God is busy, disinterested, or does not want to waste his time solving a problem that is uniquely American and of our own making. One must begin to wonder, perhaps we Americans need a new plan.
This is a matter of gun policy, greed, and a perverse American culture that values a twisted and wrongheaded interpretation of the 2nd Amendment over life. We’ve created the problem and we will have to fix it. God isn’t listening to our thoughts and prayers, at least not on this issue. It is incumbent upon us to solve the issue.
So, what to do?
We can honor the victims by actually doing something. We can organize and work to vote out politicians who are beholden to the NRA and continue to block sensible reforms. I want to see more Facebook statuses saying, “vote Senator so and so out of office in 2018 – he or she has an A+ rating from the NRA and is blocking sensible gun reform/background checks” for instance – or some version of that. But this requires more people to even give a damn about who their Senator or Congressperson is – so there’s that hurdle.
It’s also time to have respectful dialogue with friends and family members, no matter how frustrating it might be, to try and change hearts and minds and to get otherwise good people (trying to be positive) to understand that we have a moral imperative to do something. That the status quo is clearly isn’t working. We have to become a society again that looks to solve problems not just espouse meaningless platitudes while yet another person tonight is without a parent, sibling, friend, or loved one.