Uvalde: At a Loss

I have no idea what else to say at this point that I haven’t said before. Years ago, I started posting and reposting the same blog entry each time there was another mass shooting. That entry details the path I took to end up as opposed to guns as I am now. But I can’t just post the same entry again today. I didn’t post it last week, when the shooting in Buffalo happened.

It doesn’t do any good, so why bother?

I don’t understand the mindset of people who, upon hearing that 19 fourth graders were murdered in their classroom, still somehow think “DC had better not try to touch my second amendment rights.” In the ten years since Sandy Hook, has anything significantly changed in our gun laws? Perhaps they’ve gotten stricter in a few states. They’ve also gotten looser in others. But we still haven’t fundamentally even tried a single solution.

If you are praying for the families affected by this heinous act, and yet you do nothing to try to support actual solutions, I have a hard time seeing you as anything other than a hypocrite. God can handle the help, but you’re too . . . what? Worried about a zombie apocalypse? Wound up in your own machismo? Focused on your own fears instead of the right of 10 year olds to go to school without fear instead?

I have a daughter who’s 9. She’s about the same age as those kids who were gunned down yesterday, so it’s all too easy for me to put myself in the shoes of the parents, the students, and the community in Uvalde. The thought that I could send her off on the bus one morning and never have her return is terrifying.

My kids have to do “active shooter drills.” That’s something that’s changed since Sandy Hook. Knowing that the government has done nothing to try to solve this, but our children instead have started practicing what to do if someone tries to start killing them . . .

I really don’t know what else to do or say or write.

I try to understand people who disagree with me. I try not to point fingers or paint with too broad a brush. But when it comes to the murder of 10 year olds, I guess that’s just a bridge too far.

American society is failing its children in many more ways than just gun control, of course. In ways that are directly related to these acts of violence as well. We have a health care system that’s based around employment, so many do not get the help (medical or psychological) that they need. We have a minimum wage that is so broken, people have to work two jobs just to afford rent. In Maine, it’s around $13/hour right now, which is more than in many other places. But many employers won’t schedule someone for more than 30 hours a week, because then that person would become a full-time employee, and they would be entitled to things like healthcare, paid time off, and other benefits. That would affect the bottom line, which might make stockholders unhappy.

We live in a society where individuals are wealthy enough to fund space exploration or casually purchase huge companies, and yet we have so many who ultimately work for those same individuals, yet don’t have enough money to cover their basic life expenses.

Our society is so broken, people get angry at people for pointing out it’s broken in the first place. The very thought that perhaps there are events in our past which are far from the American ideal is so threatening, people try to ban those thoughts from being taught in school.

Yes, there are many (many) reasons to be discouraged and depressed right now. I don’t have to list them all off, but it’s gotten to the point that instead of actually dealing with any of those immediate problems, it’s more convenient to distract from whatever the most pressing problem seems to be by pointing to another equally pressing problem.

And nothing changes.

Where do we go from here? Do we put metal sheets across all the windows of our schools? Do we triple the security staff? How far do we have to go to avoid enacting even those most reasonable of gun laws? Background checks for all gun sales, including private and gun shows. Requiring a license before purchasing a gun. Banning high capacity magazines. Increased mental health care.

And if that doesn’t solve the problem? Then we come up with additional measures.

A functional society doesn’t ask its grade schoolers to prepare to be shot.

But honestly, why even bother bringing any of this up? Minds are made up, and anyone who disagrees with me likely didn’t even read this post, and if they did, they’re insulted that I’m accusing them of being part of the problem. Don’t worry, folks. I’m part of the problem as well. I’m as much a part of this country as you are, and we’re all on the line when it comes to what happens here.

The first step to fixing a problem is admitting one exists in the first place. Unfortunately, we can’t even seem to be able to agree on that.

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