I am physically shaking. This doesn’t happen to me. I don’t get this angry. But right now my hands are trembling and my head hurts and my ears are ringing. Up until about 5 minutes ago I was able to put what happened in Vegas in that bubble of “terrible and horrible” but firmly “distant and incomprehensible.” That was until I learned I was only 1 degree of separation from an actual victim. A friend of a friend was innocently enjoying a concert. And then she was shot. In the face. Suddenly, the whole thing snapped into a level of clarity and sharpness that my body and mind can’t presently handle. I am ill-prepared for this.
Not that any of us are equipped to deal with the absolute mind-numbing insanity that follows another horrific shooting. There is a level of outrage that is so hopeless and helpless that it feels like the air in my lungs is sucked out of me. I want to scream for action, reaction, anything that will move this giant mountain of money out of the way of common sense but I can’t make a sound. My voice is instantly absorbed into the dull, muted weight of an ever burgeoning profit margin.
Listen, I get that you want your guns. Truly, I do. But we can’t continue this way at this cost.
We aren’t gluttons. Almost everything in our lives has limits. Do you know why? Because limits are healthy. Limits help keep balance and order. Limits keep us from abusing power and from creating ruinous realities. And please, don’t come at me with the “good guy with a gun” or “Second Amendment” platitudes. I can’t hear it today. I can’t think of a young woman who took a bullet to her head and then hear you tell me about what you think James Madison meant when he helped draft the Bill of Rights 225 years ago.
Before you start labeling me as one thing or another, consider this: Our opinion about how this should be handled may be different, but our humanity and sense of compassion and distress is not. I don’t believe people on any side of this issue condone this senseless violence. I think it would be hard to look at our history- a history of mass murders of adults, adolescents and even kindergarteners- and say this is acceptable. No one wants this. It is a complicated issue that requires thoughtful, multi-faceted solutions. I know that.
But please, let’s do something.
Please, for the love of God, can we try to do better? I cannot accept that I live in a country where the best and brightest of us cannot find a way to start chipping away at this behemoth. I cannot accept doing nothing in the face of such overwhelming grief and loss of life. I simply cannot fathom it.
I don’t want to take away all the guns. I don’t even want most of them. But let’s get honest about what a huge responsibility they are. If we cannot take seriously our duty to protect one another from something that is capable of (and largely designed to) kill things, what is the point? If we cannot take the ever rising death tolls of our friends and family and neighbors seriously, what hope is there? Does nothing else deserve more of our attention and effort? What endeavor is more worthy of our attention than the preservation of life? Every important thing I have ever done has been in the pursuit of preserving or improving human life. I cannot think of a more deserving effort. Surely, that human thread exists in all of us. Doesn’t it?
Give ‘Em Hell
*I am acutely aware the my words here may someday be manipulated and corrupted. To whomever takes that repugnant approach- If you can’t stand against me on what I actually say, and instead sort and restack my words to strip them of the reason and passion that I have dedicated to my thoughts here, then you are a coward. I am willing to listen and hear people who see this differently than I do. Be brave enough to have that same respect for yourself and the victims of this massacre.