I know I will fail to articulate, so I won't bother trying to organize my thoughts. They've scattered out of my mind in a jumble- somewhere between shock and lack of surprise.
The story is an echo of another story we've already heard. We're familiar with the formula. We're familiar with the characters and the props and the settings. We're familiar with the violence that finds its ranking among previous violence.
I have no perspective to offer that shines a new or different light. I have no wisdom to share.
I am simply dwelling on the subject before it becomes a whisper barely heard at the back of the room.
What I see are numbers. Statistics. Evidence. Patterns. Influence.
I see a problem that can be fixed that cannot be fixed.
Access to help is marred with obstacles. Stigmas. Financial limitations.
Access to objects is a shopping spree. A transaction. A sale.
In the hands of one, this object is a toy. A sport. Dangerous fun for die hard fun seekers. Something cool. Something maverick. A rush.
In the hands of another, this object is a tool. The most efficient and effective tool. The tool most likely to succeed.
1 person x 5 minutes =
28 people injured or killed
1 person x 6 minutes =
33 people injured or killed
1 person x 11 minutes =
47 people injured or killed
1 person x 7 minutes =
70 people injured or killed
1 person x 16 minutes =
107 people injured or killed
1 person x 10 minutes =
480 people injured or killed
The equation varies, but the outcome does not.
Every single time it happens, we say this has gone too far. This cannot happen again. We have to do something. We cannot tolerate another incident. THOUGHTS AND F***ING PRAYERS, AMIRIGHT?
We read the names. We read the death toll. We read the harrowing play-by-play. We listen to the accounts of survivors. We see the photos of smiling ghosts.
And then someone wins a Gold Medal. Someone wins an Oscar. A new weather disaster begins. Another celebrity scandal. Another vaguely concerning story about Russia. Another vaguely concerning story about climate change. Another box office hit. Another episode of that show everyone is obsessed with. A baby hippo at the zoo. An iPhone update. Someone gets dismissed from The Bachelor. Someone gets dismissed from American Idol. A Kardashian posts on Instagram. Trump tweets. Facebook sends you a thread of memories that must be viewed A.S.A.P.
Kids go back to school. And school becomes about tests and dances and sporting events and lunch money and being cool and SAT scores.
Twice a year, there will be a "shelter in place" drill and for about 30 seconds, kids may think about why "shelter in place" drills exist. But they will more likely welcome the break from their studies and go about their day as if it didn't happen.
Teachers go back to teaching. Parents go back to parenting. Politicians go back to doing what they do or don't do.
And here we all exist in our safe bubble until it happens again.
Must everyone lose someone for it to stick? Must everyone attend a funeral to get it through their thick skull that this is a ridiculous problem that continues to plague us- just us?
Warning signs may exist, but does anyone remember Minority Report?
Mental illness is unfortunate. It is not always recognized. It is not always diagnosed. It is not always treated or treatable.
People think and say and do crazy things, but does anyone really know what exactly they are or are not capable of? Does anyone dare to guess?
One variable can be manipulated.
There is no question that an object designed for heavy casualties is capable of just that. There is no gray area. There is no maybe/maybe not. It does not have a brain or soul that helps it determine right from wrong.
It has a trigger and any finger pulling it has the power to commit atrocities.
So why the f*** is this f***ing thing still out there?
The CDC began to study gun violence pertaining to school shootings in the United States in 1996. This was quickly defunded and then banned by Congress because the NRA claimed that science was being used as propaganda for gun control. The Columbine massacre followed 3 years later.
And here we are two decades later, still arguing about entitlement? Can you believe this sh**?