When I first heard about the mass shooting in Virginia Beach, I was in denial.
This type of stuff doesn't happen here, I thought.
I felt numb. I couldn't even cry. As my Facebook timeline flooded with posts about gun control, I felt frustrated because I didn't feel that way. I felt like a bad person because I didn't feel a deep-rooted call for advocacy.
Mass shootings have become commonplace in the United States; we all know that. Many people are passionate about urging Congress to pass common-sense gun control laws. Even though it's unintended, this conversation only really seems to flood social media for a couple of weeks after a crisis. It comes back again when another happens.
The truth is that I got angry when news headlines started to talk about how the gunman used a silencer. I got angry when I saw comments that this was Congress's fault.
Here we go again, I thought. I can't even get time to process this.
I understand when people say that thoughts and prayers aren't enough. Still, they help provide peace to those who are struggling. Some people might say I don't have a say in this because I didn't lose anyone close to me in the shooting. It is true that I didn't lose anyone, and I am lucky. However, my emotions matter.
Some people see events like these as calls to action. I understand that completely, but I urge you to consider that some of us aren't ready to talk about this yet. These events are shocking and traumatic. It seems like more shootings are occurring, and sometimes I wish people would just stop talking about it sometimes. This isn't because I don't care. I'm overwhelmed and don't know what to do.
I am not responsible for these shootings because I am not advocating for change right now. I am not sending letters to my Congressman or protesting. I feel guilty for that because, well, this generation is way more politically involved than ever, and there is immense pressure to take on the responsibility of being an advocate. I just can't do that.
Please let me react first. Please let my emotions take their course. Stand up for what you believe in, but respect that I'm not ready to do the same yet.
This happened in my community. I never thought it would, but here we are. In a world full of pain and tragedy, it's no wonder so many of us feel numb. I am numb. This happened in my community, and I am not home to mourn with my community. It's time that I process this and not rush to act.