Look at my face!!!

It’s important to me that you be able to connect this face with the following words, because this is a moment in which anonymity only serves to make things worse.

By now you’ve most of you probably heard about the school shooting in Oregon yesterday. Once again, I’m faced with the undeniable need to say…something…don’t know what. I’m losing the will to write about this stuff, since it’s obvious that the right people are not listening.

I could write another poem, with language well-couched and mostly unintelligible, but let’s face it: the ones who need to understand don’t generally devote enough energy to the situation to ferret out my meaning (whatever that may be).

I could be level-headed and politic, but we all know how far that sort of thing gets us these days, and in any case I don’t have the intestinal fortitude for it this morning. I don’t feel level-headed; none of us should.

So, follow the bouncing goddamn ball.

Did the shooter target Christians? Who the hell cares?! Beyond being one more excuse for Christians in this country to go on about imaginary persecution, this redirect elbows out the more important point: he targeted people, human beings, all of whom are and were of great value regardless of their religious inclinations. So let’s ask the question that matters, okay?

Do guns kill people? Or do people kill people? Or are we just making up stupid questions and mincing meaningless words to keep from having to address the real problem? Innocent people are dying, and we’d rather ignore that than risk having some of our toys taken away.

Are these shootings down to mental illness? Sure, some of them. Not unlike the NRA party line. But the fact remains that an environment in which the mentally unstable may so easily obtain what in cases like these can only be called weapons of mass destruction relegates the shooter’s mental state to a position of secondary concern. An insane system obviates the sanity of the individual: whether I am nuts or not doesn’t matter; only whether I happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong freaking time.

If you are one of those who values the 2nd Amendment over the lives it has taken and will continue to take, I say this with all the vehemence I can muster: Screw you. It’s not about you. So get over yourself, stop inventing excuses for your own selfishness, and get it through your heads that these “fun guns” you crave were created to kill. Even when they’re used for protection.

We inhabit a cycle of unending and ever-increasing interpersonal violence. It’s not because of The Fall or original sin. It’s not because of mental instability or video games or hip hop and heavy metal. It’s because we refuse to pull our thumbs out and take even the most minimal of actions. It’s because the majority of us, after being briefly outraged, turn a blind eye and wait for the next one to happen.

True, this is a problem that isn’t going away any time soon, but that’s only because we’re too busy sitting the fence (or shooting at it) to do anything about it.

So this is on us. Again.

And again. And again. And again. And…

4 thoughts on “Done

  1. The day this one (Ugh. This one. It’s our new normal.) happened I had been out with the family and hadn’t bothered to check in with my normal news feeds. I was in the car alone when I heard it on NPR.

    Because such events have become almost normal, I’ve put up a sort of mental barrier against them. I just can’t handle the pain of them coupled with the inaction that follows. So, when news of yet another mass shooting appears on my dash, I try to stay away from it. It’s selfish and unhelpful, but I don’t know what else to do anymore.

    I didn’t change the station, though. I had been having a lovely day and this smacked me in the face as soon as I left my house. I just cried and listened to the details. Yesterday, I was in the car again and another show was talking about the political implications of this shooting for the presidential candidates and Obama. They talked about Oregon’s futile decision not to release the name of the shooter. They talked about censorship and how, as long as there is a desire for such information, it will always be discovered.

    I don’t know if withholding the names of the people who commit these acts would have an impact. I think it probably would, but I doubt we’ll get the chance to find out. I do know that distracting ourselves with the details as if there are some answers to be found there will do nothing. I do know that our country needs some serious self-evaluation.

    1. I know what you mean about wanting to stay away from it for sanity’s sake. I find I’m pulled in two directions on that. But ever since Sandy Hook, I feel like the inner screaming hasn’t ever really stopped–only muted a bit from time to time.

      I don’t really know why I keep writing these things. Evidently, few people care to read it, or respond to it. Maybe if I created some cool yet meaningless CNN-style graphics for the shiny-object-minded. Screaming out loud is surprisingly un-cathartic when no one’s there to hear it.

      What the hell is wrong with us?…

      1. I can’t stand to watch the news when it happens. The same conversations over and over that never move. If Sandy Hook didn’t enable progress, I have a hard time imagining something that would. Perhaps if an event could be tied to an international terrorism group we could get some movement.

        You’re right, the screaming only burns the throat when it goes unheard.

      2. I’m pretty sure if we tied something to international terrorism, we’d hand out rifles to everyone and go to war again…which is the opposite of what we need…

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