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Wearing My Heart on my Sleeve

I ache for every single human being suffering in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School shooting, including every person who has survived a previous shooting. This must feel like a scab being ripped off of a tender wound. Parkland is a tight knit community about 20 minutes from my home. I have friends whose children attend MSD. I texted with one as she sat under a tree outside while her daughter was huddled up in a closet during the massacre. Hot tears stream down my face as I watch the news and hear their stories. Watching the young faces recount their trauma is gut wrenching. Elected officials keep saying this should never happen but it does. This was the 8th school shooting of 2018. Families torn apart without so much as a goodbye. Some still waiting in a seemingly endless hell, to hear if they should mourn or breathe an enormous sigh of relief. A school community torn apart, a building they will be forced to return to every day as a physical reminder of the sheer terror. Videos of the killing posted all over social media; likely to be shared over and over. The only silver lining I can see is that these are the very people who will care for and heal each other. One day at a time they will put one foot in front of the other because they are the only ones who truly understand the magnitude of this loss. It truly takes a village.

And what about this shooter? I am absolutely not excusing the actions of this 19 year old killer. I just have to wonder when he went from being a little boy who wanted to belong and be loved, to a broken soul so full of a desire to hurt others? Is he filled with hate or did he want others to suffer the way he felt he had? When did he give up on the world? Did he think the world gave up on him? Where was the disconnect? Did we miss it? How can we do more to help those who are "weird" or struggling? Do we alienate them? Do we advocate for them if they don't have their own team? Nobody is born filled with hate and a desire to kill. I can't help but wonder what his relationship was with family as a child? Did he have people in his life to help him find his way, to help him navigate his own challenges? Does he have a single friend in the world? His actions were pure evil. That is not in question. How does evil grow in us?

Gun control is too large a topic to tackle in one fell swoop. I cannot understand why the AR 15 is legal. It has one purpose- mass killing and is intended for war. We see it being used over and over in these shootings and we continue to bury the bodies. So why not remove it from the equation? What is the down side of taking it off the streets? Prayers and well wishes won't bring families back together. The survivors have to live with what they endured for the rest of their lives. Elected officials deflect questions about gun control, saying it's not the time to talk about it. So when is the time? How about starting small? If a person gifts a gun to a family member, they don't need to report it. This is just one of the ways that guns can end up in the wrong hands. We are not farmers defending our land. The 2nd amendment was not written with the AR 15 in mind. I am not talking about taking away the right to bear arms. I'm talking about removing access to weapons of mass destruction. Note the distinction.

I sit here wondering how I can make a difference. How will you make a difference? It is my hope that we search our souls for the method we might use to send a message. That message for me is that the shootings are unacceptable and I cannot and will not take it anymore. Voting is the most potent way to say I will be a part of the solution. Taking the time to write to your representatives, make the phone call, talk with friends, organize people who believe the way you do and make your difference. Let's take charge of the future for our children; somehow, some way.

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