It Can’t Be Life as Usual
For this week’s post, I had written a fun piece about Merlin. But less than two weeks ago, ten people were shot to death and three others were injured at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. This week, just a couple of days ago, nineteen children and two teachers were murdered at Robb Elementary school in Ulvade, Texas. At least four other people are still in the hospital and the husband of one of the slain teachers died of a heart attack while planning her funeral. Last night, I decided I just couldn’t publish a fun little post as if nothing had happened.
It’s not that the two mass shootings were something out of the ordinary. That’s the thing. They are becoming a common occurrence here in the U.S. Since the beginning of this year, there have been more than 200 mass shootings (“mass shooting” is now defined here as four or more people having been shot). Since the Ulvade shooting, I have heard person after person—politician, journalist, person-on-the-street—say that they are “shocked” and “stunned.” I am neither. This has happened too frequently to be surprised. I am sickened, outraged, and fed up.
But I am not writing this to share my feelings. Actually, I have wrestled with how much or how little to say. I do know I don’t want this post to be about me. It’s just I couldn’t do life as usual today. At the same time, I didn’t want simply take a pause and publish a “thoughts and prayers” post. I believe very much in the power and importance of prayers. Also, I believe vigils and memorials are important in helping people deal with death, especially sudden mass death. But an “In Memory Of…” page was not enough.
There is a Latin axiom, Qui tacit consentire videtur: Silence is consent. If I remain silent, I am complicit.
Enough. More than enough.
Bob Dylan wrote, “How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see…How many deaths will it take ‘til he knows that too many people have died?”
So, as an American, I ask other Americans, “How many will it take? How many more have to die?”
Honestly, I feel as helpless and frustrated as I’m sure most, if not all of you do. According to the polls, the majority of us agree on measures that could be taken to decrease, if not completely prevent, more mass shootings. It’s the politicians who refuse to act. Our elected representatives are doing what they feel will benefit themselves, not what will benefit us. What do we do about that? Honestly, I’m not sure. But we must do something. And that something must be nonviolent, but effective.
The people of Northern Ireland suffered from sectarian violence until they—people on both sides—said “Enough. We’re sick of the violence and we’re fed up with going to funerals.” They chose peace and the politicians followed their lead. We must choose to end gun violence and mass shootings. We can no longer just be stunned and saddened, then go back to life as usual.
I ask you to reflect on what you can do—no matter how small—that can help bring about the change we want and need. If we all work to end this culture of gun violence and death, we can end it.
Wishing all of you blessings of courage, safety, and hope.