Another Tragedy: Another Day in America
How can we keep this up?
I found myself reading an article yesterday that listed the 19 children and two teachers that tragically lost their lives this Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas.
Under the name and photo of each bright, smiling young child was a blurb describing them. Many were good students and on the honor roll. Many of them loved Tik Tok dances. Some were good at sports, some at art. Others had different interests.
Every one of them was special and unique. But the common thread among each child and their teachers was that they were dearly loved by their families and friends, and they will be sorely missed.
Too many times. This has happened too many times. America has had 27 school shootings just this year. As of today, 2022 has brought 214 mass shootings in the country, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
And we’ve heard it all before. The sadness and the outrage. The thoughts and prayers. The bickering and finger-pointing. The faint hope maybe this time something will be different.
Until slowly, it all fades away. The news dies down, and we go back to whatever is happening with the Kardashians or the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial or whatever catches the collective interest of the moment. The sadness and outrage lessen and lessen until the public lets it go. Until the next time it happens again.
At least the ones that were not touched by the tragedy can let it go. The ones that don’t have empty rooms filled with a child’s mementos, drawings, toys, plush animals, and character bed sheets, but no child.
The ones without an empty place at the table where the child used to eat their snack, perhaps on brightly colored plastic plates. They might be able to let this go. But the ones who had plans and dreams for their child’s future, a future that will now never come to pass, this won’t ever go away for them.
Their summer, instead of being filled with 4th of July celebrations, bike rides, popsicles dripping outside on the pavement, swimming, catching fireflies, video games, sleepovers, whatever it is kids do in the summertime, now is filled with nothing. Just empty sadness.
I watched my daughter walk into school this morning when I dropped her off. She had her brightly colored backpack on her back. Other kids filed in behind her with their own brightly colored backpacks, smiling, laughing, and talking to one other.
It’s the end of the school year, and they’re more bouncy and excited than usual. I looked at them and imagined the children walking into Robb Elementary on Tuesday morning. Innocently walking into a place they thought was a safe space. Parents waved goodbye to them, never knowing it was the last goodbye. And the ones that survived, they’ll never be the same.
In the meantime, the politicians will argue and finger point and blame, but there aren’t enough votes to make any changes. Not enough spine to go against the massive NRA gun lobbyists. Nothing will change, and we’ll be back here again one day. Maybe sooner, maybe later. Lamenting the loss, mourning more lives, and wondering why, why our country is the only country with this problem when the answer is staring right at us?
So what can we do? We can vote for politicians that aren’t under the thumb of gun lobbyists. We can also hug our loved ones and tell them we love them every day since we never know when it's the last chance we’ll get.
If you’d like to read about these sweet and amazing individuals that lit up the world, here’s the article from Buzzfeed News.
This story was originally published on Medium.