Active Shooter(s) in San Bernardino. The day’s breaking news. Less than a week after the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting. My heart sank. Again.
So many friends on social media were talking about emails and prompts from their bosses reviewing disaster training–what to do in the case of an active shooter, the protocols for in-location safety versus fleeing, how to handle clients, customers, patients, and students in their care.
Children across the country regularly practice lockdown drills now. They cower in classroom corners with lights off, doors locked, and blinds pulled. They huddle en masse in bathrooms. Teachers try to keep kids from worrying about “what if it’s not a drill.” In-service days are spent reviewing catastrophe procedures making sure all staff members are prepared and understand what to do. In universities, hospitals, government offices, law enforcement … they’re training for how to handle the next tragedy–the next active shooter bulletin. They’re preparing for the worst.
The problem with all that preparing for how to handle the next senseless gun attack? It’s not addressing the problem. It’s a reaction–a horribly necessary reaction–but it doesn’t do anything to PREVENT the situation. It doesn’t address the problem of gun violence. It doesn’t reduce the likelihood of another San Bernardino. Another Colorado Springs. Another Sandy Hook Elementary.
In conversations all over social media, people are heartbroken and shaking their heads. What can we do? How can we bring an end to these tragedies?
So many of us feel like we can only sit by while politicians grandstand and posture on each side of the aisle. We can’t effect change because the people who are charged with providing structure and safety for us are busy worrying about how speaking up and DOING something will affect their poll numbers.
Fuck poll numbers. Our citizens are being mowed down by bullets. People are being ripped apart having to bury children, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, and parents. When our children come home from school and talk about where they have to go and what they have to do if a “bad guy with a gun comes,” we realize this is a twisted world our kids are growing up in. A world where poll numbers and lobbyists are more important than lives. A world where we create hashtags to show support and send our condolences to those shattered by violence and death.
You know what? Fuck “sending condolences.” I don’t want to hear another politician saying “our prayers are with those affected by” another senseless tragedy. “Our thoughts are with the first responders.”
You know what doesn’t do a goddamn thing to stop another senseless gun death?
Condolences. Thoughts. Prayers.
They’re all bullshit. Bullshit that’s lulling us into complacency in the most horrific and unimaginable situations. We’re numbed by thoughts and prayers feeling like we’ve done our part. We’ve become dull to the breaking news stories. Just another tragedy moving along the news ticker.
We allow ourselves to be upset and outraged–for a minute, a day, a week. Then it’s back to life as usual–for everyone except those whose lives were lost, for their loved ones, for those in those harrowing situations who escaped death. Tomorrow most of us will shake our head and mutter words like tragic, unthinkable, horrible.
The way we’ve all become almost accustomed to these scenes is disgusting.
It’s time for all of us–ALL OF US–to not allow this to happen again.
But what can we do? We’re just a bunch of nobodies … we can’t DO anything meaningful.
Bullshit. How has anything worth doing ever been done in this country? WE do it. We sit down, we brainstorm, we work toward a common goal, we make our voices heard, we listen to each other. We struggle through it because it’s worth it.
We need to push for reasonable conversations that lead to reasonable actions. No political posturing. No grandstanding. No all-or-nothing positions. We all need to be open to communication and it’s up to us nobodies to not allow politicians to avoid this any more.
We don’t need more toeing the party line and digging in our heels.
We need to DO something. The status quo isn’t working. Headlines featuring more and more murdered Americans every week Is. Not. Working. and we cannot be complacent or complicit any longer.
This is an unacceptable reality for our kids to be growing up in. It’s an unacceptable reality for this country. It’s unacceptable. Period.