What is left to say? What hasn’t already been said countless times? How many arguments have been left hanging in the open space between those who fear losing their precious guns and those who fear losing their children or their spouse or anyone they happen to love? What have we become?
My 16-year-old son confesses he is afraid to go to school. He thinks about what he would do, how he would survive if an angry young white man walked into the building with an arsenal of weapons and a grudge. Because, yes, it happens here. It happens in small peaceful communities across these divided states. It happens at an alarming rate. It happens so often that the nation barely blinks.
We have become our worst nightmare. We are not safe from each other. People have lost their fucking minds. Make America great again? How’s that working out for you? Do you feel proud to be an American?
I am so angry. I don’t know how to fix what is so incredibly broken. Because as much as it is about sensible gun control, it’s really only about money — the money that wins elections and flows into our political system in such a way as to encourage corruption and greed and blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life. Oh, these politicians, these scum who take blood money from the hands of the NRA and giant corporations, here’s what they have to offer us: thoughts and prayers. Cheap, easy, ridiculous words that mean nothing and demand nothing and require nothing. Thoughts and prayers. And what do we do? We scream, we cry, we push back against the insanity of it all on Facebook. And twitter. And Instagram. And here, on our blogs. Big deal. No one is listening. It’s not enough. It’s never enough. We love our social media. But seriously? How is all this armchair activism even making a difference at this point?
We are not safe. And that’s on all of us.
They play us against each other. They tell us it’s the people who don’t look like us or worship like us, the people who are “illegal” or black or brown or red — they tell us a wall will make us safe. And some of us believe them. But I don’t. Not for one minute. I call bullshit on all of it. We are so broken, and the truth is, we did this to ourselves. All of us. The blame for this does not fall on one side or the other. It falls on the shoulders of every politician who hasn’t take a strong and aggressive stand against gun violence (and yes, liberals are just as guilty here as conservatives). But it also falls on the shoulders of every citizen who continues to vote these despicable humans into office.
I dare any one of you to read the frantic text messages these students in Florida sent to their parents and not feel something. I am in tears, imagining my son staring into the face of that terror, imagining my dear friends who dedicate their lives to teaching, cowering behind a locked door, ready to put their own body between a gunman and the children they are trying to protect. Is this the America you want to live in? Is this any less important than your fucking right to bear arms? I don’t think so.
There’s always only been one way out of this. Pay attention to where the money is coming from. Accept nothing at face value. Do your goddamn homework. Find out where your senator or your congressman gets his money. And then vote. Vote as if your life depends upon it. Because, guess what? It actually does.
“They” are never going to fix this. It’s on us.