Just Another Day

School Shooting

Violence is like a weed. It does not die even in the greatest drought.
-Simon Wiesenthal

This is where a Heroes post is supposed to show up, as it has been doing every Friday for a while now. Except that I couldn’t bring myself to abide by the regularly scheduled programming. I tried last night when I got home, setting all my bookmarked stories in a row and then figuring out how to dovetail them into a post worth reading. But the images of Santa Clarita kept calling until I had to pack it in for the night.

Thursday had become one long journey into darkness, again. And there was no blessed opening into which I could pluck heroes out of the carnage. So I packed it in and hoped that tomorrow would be better.

That’s what we do now. That’s what we’re used to doing when another day like yesterday happens. And we’ve had twenty years of days like this now. It has become our regularly scheduled programming in its own wicked way. And here we are, no closer to an answer than we were when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School and murdered twelve students and one teacher.

Saugus High School became the latest chapter in a national saga when a sixteen year old boy walked in and opened fire. It took him sixteen seconds to change tomorrow for every single person who was in that building as well as the scores of families and friends who are left to pick up the pieces that our elected officials want nothing to do with. And if you’re waiting for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to come up with a solution, I’ve got a bridge to nowhere I can sell you.

Next week, the parents of two victims will show up to a funeral service to bury their children. One sixteen year old girl and one fourteen year old boy who were not numbers, who were not political capital, who were not meant to be stapled to the next gun rally. They were just getting started with their lives, and we failed them. Again.

Twenty years of this. It has travailed four Presidents, two wars and the worst terrorist attack on American soil. It has become a cheap trick that we perpetuate on our youth by not saying or doing the things that need to be said and done. And the worst crime of all is to understand this for what it has truly become. Just another day.

When I laid down to go to sleep last night, the images started flooding my mind until I realized that a Heroes post wasn’t going to happen this morning. Because I couldn’t bring myself to do that, even though I’ve done it before. I couldn’t just wake up this morning and treat yesterday as just another day. And when I thought about it some more, the most frightening of thoughts came to me and I just started to cry.

This is who we are.

 

 

Life As We Know It

Florida Shooting

Here we are again.

It’s the day after, again. When all we are left with is grief and questions, and sides. Because for all the sadness, the requisite questions we are asking now are already drawing up sides to a debate that, almost twenty years after the Columbine massacre, just doesn’t get it.

“Where does this end?”

We are left to wonder how we can put the toothpaste back in the tube when the sobering reality is that seventeen people did not go home yesterday. Seventeen souls who become the missing pieces of a puzzle that will never fit the same way again. Seventeen souls whose families and friends will live with a missing piece of their lives, forever.

Asking that question will be a provocation of the very worst kind, in which our elected representatives will shield themselves with the same pledges and promises they have been doling out in perpetuity. The gun rights side will lecture us on what the constitution stands for while the gun control side will throw up their hands in disgust, instead of demanding a legitimate road map be drawn up regardless of sides. A road map whose coordinates involve mental illness, gun regulations, secondary markets in which guns are easily obtained and all the warning signs that went unheeded.

Of course, as far as politicians are concerned, having a side provides them with the requisite armor to move forward. It allows them the efficacy of being able to argue that they did their due diligence but they just couldn’t get through to the other side of the aisle. Armor is what those seventeen souls did not possess when Nikolas Cruz ambushed them at the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by pulling the fire alarm to draw them out.

We entrust our politicians- local, state and federal- to protect us. So why does it seem as if they are only proficient at talking up a good game as far as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is concerned? Why do they fall short, time after time after time, when it comes to abiding by those tenets in the public interest? How is it all these smart people can’t go in a fucking room and come out with something? Anything? And how come we don’t demand it? When an elected official answers this latest horror by drawing up sides, maybe we should be asking them why it is they aren’t on our side. The side that wants their kids to come home from school.

Yesterday was simply the latest day, but it wasn’t the last. And I gotta ask, in what world was the first time not considered too much? And yet, here we are, having witnessed these horrors for a generation now, with no end in sight. All we have are more questions, and sides.

Seventeen souls, pieces of a puzzle. Their families and friends will never get that piece back. Their lives will never go back to what they were before three o’clock on Tuesday afternoon.

This is where we’re at. This is life as we know it.