I’ve waited to write this post. In fact, I’ve debated whether to publish it or not. It relates to my new view of the world since I threw away my bitterness and embraced kindness.
The problem of violence, mass murder, and irresponsible gun owners and users really upsets me. Nothing upset me like the memory of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
December 14, 2012 was a day that stood out in my calendar in advance. My old boss was stopping by and the office was going to a late lunch/early happy hour to reminisce and catch up with each other. We arrived at a restaurant a few blocks from the office, with reservations already made and tables set aside for our gathering.
Everyone arrived between 1400 and 1430. The restaurant was crowded and we were starting to enjoy ourselves. I was seated at a point where I could see several of the TVs that were mounted around the restaurant. At least one of them was tuned to CNN, and I saw the first bulletin about something happening at an elementary school In Connecticut.
No one could hear the TV with all the restaurant noise. I tried to keep most of my attention on our gathering, but the screen kept pulling me back. I began to feel my stomach drop.
At first, I was able to determine that there had been a shooting. Details were hard to get without sound, but as I kept glancing over, I saw the banner at the bottom of the screen start to show the first numbers of victims.
I mentioned what I was seeing to my friend sitting next to me, but he didn’t seem interested. Eventually, as the number of victims grew, and it was stated that they were children, I was definitely uncomfortable.
What happened next I’ll never forget. By this time, several people in the restaurant were starting to talk about what they were seeing on CNN. Out of a group of approximately 12 people I was with, at least 8 of them said something like “Now Obama’s gonna come for my guns”. I had a hard time keeping control of my temper. I finally told everyone that I had to go. I simply couldn’t stand to be in their company any longer.
The following Monday, which was the first workday after that tragedy, I heard those same people in the office sounding like parrots at an NRA convention. My respect for those people disintegrated that day and was never restored.
I said at the time that when people were willing to allow the slaughter of innocent schoolchildren, that our country was doomed. We had already had the Columbine shooting in Colorado, and the shooting at Virginia Tech. Somehow, the slaughter of young elementary school age children hurt even more.
The mass shootings since Newtown are far too numerous to list here. Finally, we come to the slaughter of more young children in Uvalde, TX. We’ve learned nothing. We’ve done nothing. The people who I was sitting with on December 14, 3012 undoubtedly had the same response that “Biden’s coming for my guns.”
I no longer work with those people, so I didn’t actually hear their response to the Uvalde slaughter, I simply don’t believe that they will ever change.
As a nation, we are broken. I don’t want to hear how these tragedies are the result of mental health problems, bad parenting, video games, no prayer in schools, gays, or not enough guns for everyone. The simple fact is that lunatics can easily get guns without any real screening or control whatsoever.
Availability of guns is the problem, but until we force our elected leaders to do something beyond the tragically inept “thoughts and prayers” bullshit, these slaughters will continue to happen. As long as we let ourselves be led by people who value the rights of guns over the rights of children, we are well and truly fucked.