I think it’s great that we are still talking about it. It feels like the longest we’ve ever talked about a shooting. We tend to get bored easily. Usually, what I’ve noticed is that the conversation tends to last for a couple days before we become distracted by something else in the media whether it be something horrible the president has done or some sort of celebrity scandal that people can’t stop talking about.
During this past week, I felt reluctant to join the conversation. I didn’t feel it would do any good. We would all be appalled by the event. Appalled by the reaction from the opposition. Appalled that people seemed so apprehensive to do anything, that people made excuses for the deaths of the people, that people pointed fingers at everyone else, the government, the victims, the guns, the NRA, the gun enthusiasts, the mentally ill. Bullying, bad security, fragile masculinity, bad upbringing, violence in media and each idea is the absolute correct and simple answer to end the suffering we endure when a school is faced with violence from an active shooter. This hadn’t been new for me.
We would hear about a shooting. People would go through their usual stunts of scapegoating, evading blame, becoming politically charged, demanding political reform and then it would just die out within a matter of days.
But we are more than a week from Valentine’s Day and we’re still talking about it.
Perhaps it’s too early to tell and perhaps by the time I publish this article, the conversation will have already died out. But something about this event feels different and I think it’s the dialogue. Yes, most of it has already been the same, but the way the victims have organized not even a few day after feels different. Being a victim is viewed as a passive experience. You are having something done to you. But there is something that changes within you when you go through a traumatic experience.
The fact that the victims of the shooting are doing something makes all of this difference.
It means that this shooting will have a deeper impact on the dialogue and the movement of gun control in this country.
I feel awful being passive as a person who recently had been in my own shooting in Chicago when an unknown person fired off a round into the street near the Red Line stop. It still hasn’t set in exactly how much danger I had been in at that exact moment. Thankfully no one had been hurt. I’ve experienced a lockdown at a school where there had been a shooter in the neighborhood and that my teacher and my classmates didn’t take it seriously because they thought it was just another lockdown drill. Imagine how much danger we could have been in had there been a shooter in the building. We were lucky.
And despite this, I feel numb when our country is met by a tragedy like the Parkland one. It feels just like another day. How horrible is it that seventeen children dying in a shooting feels just like another day. That it feels annoying to me. That I just want to move on with it. I’ve become numb because of how often this sort of thing happens. It’s become a routine. The death of children in a shooting shouldn’t become routine.
My hope is that this event is different. That the victims continue to be politically active despite the GOP and their smear campaigns claiming that the children were paid protesters. I hope that they continue because they are inspirational. They are waking me up. They’re grabbing my attention because unfortunately I’m asleep.
Even though I’ve been through a shooting, I’m asleep. And while it’s not their job to invigorate people to care about this, it’s something that is needed. We need to wake up and do something about it.