The Slaughter of Innocents, and Innocence, too. An Unfolding American Tragedy

So where do you place this latest high school shooting on the list of abominations delivered by that unusual confluence of easy access to guns and hardly any access at all to therapy? I don’t know. I just know its becoming overwhelmingly sad to open up a phone or a computer and see the the latest news about a mass shooting.

I used to think these were rare events, but was before they stopped being rare events. Granted, we live in a great big country with millions of other people who were not shot to death for reasons in Texas we don’t yet know. This is not much consolation, at all. But one of the jobs of the living is to ponder the meaning of the experiences of the dead.

So I will.

I wish this task were as simple as banning guns. That’s never going to work in a country in which so many guns are held by so many people. Shouting for gun control and holding marches condemning the NRA are effective for one reason only, and one not connected to using guns to kill people–It makes people feel they are doing something.

That is the point we have now reached. Empty gestures feel like they are significant. They are not.  These events keep happening, no matter how many friends of victims pour into the streets, no matter how many protests the good-hearted sponsor.

Ban Bump Stocks? Sure. Why not? Then people will just have to learn how to pull the trigger faster. These protests should keep up, of course, because a society needs to feel it’s doing something in the face of such….such what? Evil? Craziness? It’s hard to find a word that even fits anymore.

Where do we turn for direction?

The White House? The man wakes up and goes to bed in a swirling storm of lies and imagined events. That’s not a media problem. That is a president problem that we can take care of in a mere two years or so when we have another presidential election. But there is no solution in Washington, I fear. Just hope he survives the next couple of years so he can be humiliated at the polls, which is what he deserves.

We can’t keep pretending that taxes were the problem and tax relief is the solution. We can’t keep pretending immigration is the problem and a tough crackdown and a higher wall are the solutions. We can’t keep thinking that some problem in government is to blame.

None of that works.

Step up and take some blame yourself. That’s what I do. How many of my college students, some of them obviously troubled, did I just ignore? How many people on the street did I walk past each day, paying no attention to their signs, their ramblings, their problems? How far away is that indifference to human suffering from a seemingly senseless act of violence?

Here’s the news.

There are no senseless acts of violence. Each one of them makes sense to someone, somehow. The great challenge in this era to to try to understand who those people are, what they need, what we can do.

In the interim, support your survivors and embrace your first responders. Tell them you are sorry and don’t pretend even for an instant that you have a solution.