I hope someone can forgive me if I don’t have an immediately available, soundbyteable take on gun control – or even mental health treatment – for the greater discussion. Frankly, such conversation can wait, and should; I refuse to politicize 26 dead people, especially when they’re a half hour from my house.
Right now, all I can do is reflect what’s happened to my community. Really reflect. Not just sit around and go “oh, this is sad” and go to a candlelight vigil or something. I need to try to understand the horror of hearing about a shooting at my child’s school, my little girl or boy – I don’t have a child, so I’ll have to substitute my niece, or my youngest brother in high school – attending that school, rushing to the school, only to have someone tell me that my child died at school. I need to try to imagine the knee-buckling pain of that moment, all of the feelings of rage, hopelessness and despair, the kind of pain that has separated good marriages. Imagining the planning of the funeral. Burying my child days before Christmas, and having to return their opened presents. “Didn’t like the gifts?” “Don’t know, he’s dead now”. Having that constant presence in my life, that I made, gone, taken by a stupid teenager with a “social disorder”. Watching the days count by, the years, and mentally picturing the highlights of what would be my child’s life pass by. Graduating various levels of school, playing baseball, learning to drive, first girl/boyfriend… imagining those things, but remembering that they’ll never happen. And through all that, having to tolerate mouth-breathers and gobshites politicize the tragedy – my child’s death - to either make a political point, make some money on some talking head show, or a combination of the two. To remember that to these people, my child’s death is a convenient excuse to make a point.
Then, and only then, will I feel I’ve achieved the level of understanding that is necessary to be able to confidently say what we need to do about this epidemic of mass shootings in our country. Until then, I’m just another asshole with a wounded heart, a shattered sense of security, and a worthless opinion that benefits no one.