So, a funny thing happened on the way to writing my latest newsletter update.
Funny probably isn’t the right word, but that’s the turn of phrase, you know?
I decided, officially/unofficially, to take last week off. After a long weekend at Otakon with Super Art Fight (where I am finding that having management of three instead of five means that you have to do the work of five when you’re three - no matter how enjoyable it is, it takes a toll), I figured I’d take an actual, proper week off. Then the wife was away Tuesday-Saturday, heading to Arizona for a professional work conference. It was a nice few days of bachelordom. I saw Hobbs and Shaw (as gloriously, brilliantly, stupid as you’d want it to be), I hung out with friends, I had a nice evening with my parents.
Then I sat down yesterday to write this newsletter. And it being a newsletter, I loaded up my normal pages to remind myself of what happened during the week. Instapaper, Digg, CNN, etc.
And all over the news yesterday was the tragic story of El Paso. Another lone gunman. Another body count. Another list of so many injured. I couldn’t bring myself to stay with it, to write about arbitrary things, useless pop culture, fun trivial bits when people were hurting.
So I told myself to wait a day. Come back to it.
I don’t what it is about these three shootings, but they’ve lit a fire within me.
I can’t say this is the first time a shooting made me sit up and take notice. I was in High School when Columbine happened. I went to a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises the same time a lunatic killed many in Aurora. I could only think of how many bands I’ve seen and shows I’ve been to when an Eagles of Death Metal show was attacked in France. I wept when I heard the details of Newtown. I was horrified by the actions within the Capital Gazette building. It says something that there are so many shootings that I feel guilty for leaving literal dozens out, and there are countless others my brain has already forgotten and moved on from.
I don’t want to get on a soapbox here, I really truly don’t. I want this to be a fun read every week, but this week, it’s just hard to want to be fun.
Is it the guns? I don’t know. I know many people who own guns, for sport or for recreation, and they’re responsible owners.
It’s not the movies or the video games, no matter how many times they beat that drum.
Do we have a mental health issue? Sure - but it’s not an issue exclusive to the United States, and acting like it is would be ignorant and imperial.
What I do know for sure is that this year we’ve had 250 shootings. This isn’t an issue which other countries deal with to the regularity of which Americans do.
I’m tired of hearing about thoughts and prayers. I’m tired of hearing about our leaders are “thinking of” those affected.
Something has to change, and I’m tired of our government acting like Ned Flanders’ Dad, and telling the electorate that “We’ve tried nothing, and we’re all out of ideas.”
The Onion shouldn’t be able to re-post the same story again and again and again, each time making it sadder.
So. What am I doing?
Two fold. I’m sending some tersely worded letters to my representatives today. And I’m going to start donating regularly to Everytown.
It’s small, but it’s something. And I’m going to keep seeing what more I can do in my community. I shouldn’t have to wonder any time that I am out somewhere and I start to hear a commotion, that if this will be the time I become a statistic.
Here’s to a better week next week.