176th Mass Shooting This Year

Monday, June 13, 2016

It's eerie how much mass shootings have become a part of our life. Orlando marks the 176th this year.

It's almost as if we have the routine down. The news breaks and we're all shocked and sad and angry and wonder how this has happened again? We post to social media demanding change, or prayers, or whatever it is we do to feel better.

But nothing really changes. A few days pass and for those of us that were lucky enough to not be directly affected, life goes on.

I can't even begin to imagine what life is like for the people who lost loved ones in this most recent massacre. Or for the people who managed to make it out okay. How do they go on?

Columbine was the first shooting that allowed fear to creep into the very safe and privileged life I've been lucky enough to live.

A shooting that occurred when I was in college, inside Omaha's Von Maur at Westroads, made me forever aware of my surroundings when inside a mall.

And then it was movie theaters. I can't sit through a movie at a theater without planning a "just in case" escape plan. I do it every time. I find the exits when I sit down and am always sure I can see the entrances. Going to a movie isn't what it used to be. Even with the pat downs that occur in the Chicago theaters, I just can't get myself to relax.

And yet I realize how lucky I am that it's just a few places where I don't feel safe.

I realize this when I think about my friends from the LGBT community and the fact that they live every day knowing there's hateful people out to get the them simply for being who they are. My friend Dave posted this on Facebook yesterday,

"Do you think if we made guns gay, enough people would finally hate them?"

If I were at a night club and someone started shooting I would worry I got caught in the crossfire, but would never assume I was the person they were after. Whereas I've read several accounts from people who made it out of Pulse and so many of them said the moment they realized it was gunfire they automatically knew it was a hate crime.

I suppose that's just one of the many privileges of being straight in our country. I will never know what it's like to have strangers hate me just because of my sexual orientation.  Or because of my skin color. Or religion.

I don't know where to take this post from here because there's no way out. I suppose I could post a positive quote and let everyone know "I'm thinking and praying for Orlando."

But the thing is, I've done that for almost all of the shootings we've seen in the past 18 years and not much has changed. It only seems to have gotten worse. So how far do we let this go before something changes? How many more shootings? How many more lives? Our current system obviously isn't working.

I don't like the idea that we'll all just move on from this one, knowing in the back of our mind it's just a matter of time before the next, wondering if that's the one that might hit you or I directly?

*For a shred of light today, watch this video.

*Comments turned off because my head is full of all the other internet comments floating around. Instead, go leave a nice comment somewhere else telling someone why you think they're great.