I remember exactly where I was when Columbine happened. The same goes for Sandy Hook. I think about the above image a lot, which is why I used it today. And the Aurora shooting is one that comes to mind every single time I step foot in a movie theater.
But the one that happened yesterday? This one feels eerily normal to me. Terrible, of course. But not completely unexpected.
You might not want to admit it, but massive school shootings have become our new normal. Although I struggle to even say the word “new” at this point, when this is our eighth shooting to have resulted in death or injury THIS year alone.
So how does this work? I think we all know. First, we feel sad and send prayers, then we get mad at each other on the internet and shout, “Something has to change!” or “This is because of all gender bathrooms!” (That’s a real one I just saw.) Then a few days pass, we move on, and we wait until it happens again. Then we all feel sad and send prayers, get mad at each other on the internet and demand “something has to change!” a few days pass… and we move one.
But not everyone gets the luxury of moving on. The parents, the siblings, the friends, grandparents, the school, they’re stuck in this hell for a long time now. Some forever.
And I can’t help but wonder about all of these survivors of mass shootings, what is life like for these thousands of kids going forward? What’s it like to return to school on Monday and see the desk next to you is empty now?
Something has to change. (yeah, I’m in this stage right now.)
I think we need stricter gun control. If you’re someone who disagrees, hear me out, then tell me your thoughts otherwise. (Let’s try to keep it civil though, please. My goal is talk about this tough topic like adults rather than toddlers screaming in a sandbox.)
My Facebook feed is a lot of pro-gun Nebraskans, so trust me when I say I’ve seen the “taking away guns won’t help!” and the “should we ban cars too?! Those kill people!” But what I want to know is why can’t we just give the whole stricter gun laws thing a try? At this point what do we have to lose? If it fails we’ll be no worse off than where we are now.
The other part of my Facebook feed is very liberal Chicagoans (so I’m seeing two extremes here.) For every post I see about “guns don’t kill people, people kill people!” I see a post that reads, “no one should be able to own a gun. period.”
But for me there’s a middle ground, because while I personally do not care for guns, I grew up in a house with guns. My dad had them and so did my brother. But they were never “shown off” or presented as toys. There’s also the fact that several of my relatives are avid hunters. So I understand there are plenty of responsible gun owners out there. I also get that hunting is necessary sometimes (even though it breaks my heart) I’m reminded that it sometimes has to be done for population control to prevent the spread of disease. (Still breaks my heart, but this is beside the fact.)
From what I understand, these aren’t the type of people who’s gun ownership would be in jeopardy. (But please, correct me if I’m wrong. There’s a lot of muddled “facts” floating around right now.)
So again I ask, where is the harm in trying to enforce stricter laws? We are the only country who sees regular mass school shootings like this over and over and over.
It should never be normal when seventeen people are shot dead in a high school.
I hate writing posts like this and I know several of you probably hate reading them. I like to be silly and keep things light but it would feel like a bunch of bullshit to talk about anything else today.
I think that the core of all our ugly online arguments (and blog posts) right now is rooted in fear.
We’re all scared and want to fix this because we can’t help but wonder when will it be our turn? When will the shooter show up in our town? At our school? When will we go from onlooker to victim? I keep thinking about how yesterday at this time the families we’re reading about on the news today we’re still just like us. Until suddenly around 2:30 p.m. when their time was up.
I’m going to end with a few paragraphs by Brene Brown, she grew up hunting with her dad and brothers, teaches her own children how to properly use a gun, and these are her thought on the NRA-
“Of all of the lobbying organizations I’ve studied over the past twenty years, not one of them has done a better job using fear and false dichotomies than the NRA. Today’s NRA rhetoric employs the ominous they and forces “us versus them” language over and over. Allow anyone to buy any type of gun and ammunition, when and wherever they want, or they will break down your door, take away your guns, crush your freedom, kill everyone you love, and put an end to the American way. They are after us. They are coming. That’s the biggest bunch of bullshit I’ve heard since someone told me, “If you own a gun—any gun—you might as well be the one pulling the trigger in all of these terrible mass shootings.” No and no.”
And she ends with this; it’s long but worth the read.
“I know that I’m not alone. I know that there are millions of us who believe in common sense gun laws and have no interest in vilifying respectful, responsible gun owners. I also know that there are millions of us who find the NRA and the politicians who take millions of dollars from them and, in turn, support laws that endanger all of us morally reprehensible.
The only way to successfully bring about gun reform is if a critical mass of us are willing to have honest, tough, civil conversations outside of our ideological bunkers. Gun reform will not happen unless the silent majority of gun owners who passionately disagree with the NRA’s divisive rhetoric and complete lack of respect for responsible gun culture speak out and take political and economic action.
When we engage in the “us versus them” argument, we lose. The only person who wins is the person who owns the framing of the argument.
Own your opinion. Fight for what you believe in.
And don’t let others frame your beliefs.
Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil. Take action.”
To read the entire excerpt click here.