42 hours. That’s how long it took me to cry over the (latest) worst mass shooting in modern American history. I am so numb that it took me 42 hours to cry, and if you know me, you know I LOVE to cry.
Why did it take that long? Maybe it’s because it’s not all that shocking anymore. Maybe because I think back about all the other mass shootings that have occurred in the last year alone and am used to it now. Maybe I cried all my tears for Sandy Hook. Maybe it’s because as we go about our daily lives at school, work and home- no one talks about it. No one stops to huddle together and feel something. Maybe it’s because collectively we know, this will happen again.
This is the price we will pay so there can be two sides to the fight. Think about that. There are TWO SIDES to the fight over whether or not a lay person off the street can access an automatic weapon and take out more than 500 innocent human beings. That means, one side is okay with it enough to do nothing about it. You can call it pride, call it rights, call it freedom, call it the Constitution. At this point, I call it manslaughter. Hell, let’s go there and call it murder. The price we pay is dead moms, dads, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children. They will die again and again on American soil until the sides quit fighting to be right. Next time, it could be your mom. Your dad. Your husband. Your wife. Your brother. Your sister. Your child. You are not safe. You are not special. Don’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I have stayed away from the radio and TV in the past 42 hours because I’m not sure how much more my mind and heart can take. There has been so much suffering this year. I am lucky, blessed to be safe at home with my family, my friends close by, with food, water, electricity, a place to sleep, and hope. I can’t let myself think about those who are not as lucky.
I sat down and decided to catch up on some cultural perspective of this tragedy. I didn’t make it much further than Jimmy Kimmel (who by the way is becoming an informed and impassioned touchstone during this daily tumult.) He cried, and then finally, I cried. I cried for the souls that were lost and the people they left behind. I cried at the thought of one of my family members or friends being gunned down during a moment of pure joy, during a concert. I cried because there is nothing I can do to protect them.
It is NOT NORMAL to not feel these tragedies. It is NOT NORMAL to go through this as a country so often. We need to feel again, and then we need to say we WON’T BACK DOWN. (Yesterday was shit. RIP TOM PETTY.)