As the news reports and bulletins continue to pour in over the latest mass shooting, the questions and the hand-wringing begin. The mantra of Gun legislation Now and the calls for prayers – the tears, trauma and hellish reality of the victims and the loved ones. The helplessness of the observers. The general dismay of America. Shrugged shoulders, outstretched palms, tear-soaked shirt sleeves – it is a scene played out all too many times, with all too familiar a ring.
How did it happen? Why did it happen? The questions are asked over and over and over again, like clockwork. And as evidence is pored over, motives and connections sought and the seemingly endless calls for Gun legislation – at least for assault weapons. The grief and dismay and anger at Capitol Hill impotence continue – maybe for a month. Perhaps a week – or until the next shiny distraction transfers our grief and horror somewhere else. And the observers quietly forget. The pundits lay blame on corruption and go quiet. The families of victims go for counseling, bury the dead and quietly wait for the next mass shooting. All the calls for action – all the pleas for reason and peace and responsibility quietly go away, until the next time.
And there will be next times – there will most likely always be next times – each time more horrific than the last – each time with its own set of baffling reasons, shock and grief. You can place bets – maybe not set a watch, but rest assured, there will be more.
So, to give you some idea that this has been part of our society for a while, I ran across news reports from some of the more wrenching mass shootings in recent years. The familiarity and circumstances are eery. The names of the victims have changed, the body counts have risen. The grief is interchangeable – could have been yesterday and it may have been 1991.
And until we change – it will never change. You can legislate every aspect of our daily lives. Morality is the only one that escapes it all – and the one which needs addressing above all others.
Maybe some day.
In the meantime, here is a sample of what we’ve been through, the last 20+ years.
Note: This post is from last year – in the meantime we’ve had countless additional mass shootings – countless additional calls for “something to be done’ – countless “thoughts and prayers” countless moments of silence. And not. One. Single. Thing. Has been done. We are sicker than we thought – we are the monsters we fear – we are the ones who stand by and watch and say “this isn’t the time to talk about this” – we are the ones who forget. Shame on us. God help us.