Commentary

Another school shooting happened while you weren’t looking

WASHINGTON, DC - FEB 19, 2018: Demonstrators in front of the White House protest the federal government's inaction on gun control following a deadly shooting in a south Florida high school.
WASHINGTON, DC - FEB 19, 2018: Demonstrators in front of the White House protest the federal government's inaction on gun control following a deadly shooting in a south Florida high school.Photo: Shutterstock

Another firearms-related killing at a U.S. high school, this time in Michigan. The alleged shooter, a 15-year-old who used his father’s semi-automatic handgun, killed four students and wounded another seven, including one teacher.

Well, “ho-hum yawn” implied the national news by listing this as the sixth story of the evening after possible implications of the new COVID-19 variant, travel bans from African nations, the former twice impeached president’s attempts to block the Department of Justice from looking into his archived documents, contempt citations issued against individuals who refused to testify in front of the House Committee investigating the January 6 invasion of the Capitol, and job statistics on the number of people looking for work.

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Well, at least four individuals from Michigan will never look for work. They will never be infected by the Omicron variant or travel to or from an African nation. They will not learn the truth about the January 6th insurrection or discover whether those resisting Congressional subpoenas will spend time in jail, or whether the former president will be legally compelled to turn over his documents for review.

Their parents will never see them walk the graduation stage to accept their diplomas.

These students will never again fall in love, or get to drive a car, or raise their own children one day.

They will never again smell a flower or pet a dog, blow out increasing numbers of candles on their birthday cakes, comb their hair, share another intimate embrace, or grow one day older.

No. The victims of the sixth story on the evening news will never experience the joys of life because we the people of the United States of America are not raising our voices loud enough, figuratively standing up high enough or in sufficient numbers to the firearms manufacturers, the gun lobbyists, and the members of the legislative branches in the states and at the federal level to pass meaningful and effective gun safety laws.

And as such, we all remain complicit in the carnage that takes so many of our neighbors and members of our communities and our states. And we will soon forget – if we have not already – the killing and maiming and the names of the victims in Michigan. And we will barely blink when the next shooting occurs, which it most certainly will because we as a nation have become numb.

But we often forget that the national evening news merely mentions only the higher visibility shootings. The media do not mention the little black girl half a continent away who was shot by a stay bullet coming from people arguing in the street in front of her home.

The media do not mention the white man who lost his job and shot out his brains in despair. And the media do not mention those who are left behind by this brutal national culture of firearms.

They do not present stories of possible tourists from other countries who would rather not risk coming to the U.S. over fears of themselves becoming the victims of this violence.

And they neglect to report on the image of the U.S. around the world as a crumbling nation that is literally and figuratively killing itself from within over what others see as an untenable and unsustainable love of firearms and of the Second Amendment.

Unfortunately, I join them in their pessimism for the future of this country. And I ask, what will move us to act against this utter stupidity and, yes, legislative immorality?

If the slaughter of 27 beautiful souls, including 20 young children at Sandy Hook in Connecticut will not move a nation to act, then what will?

If the ruthless murder of 17 beautiful souls at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida will not move a nation to act, then what will?

If the shooting of Reps. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) and President Ronald Reagan – and John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and so many other public officials — will not move a nation to act, then what will?

No, unfortunately, I am not optimistic, but though possibly contradictory, I still have hope that one day we will reach a critical mass of critical thinkers who act up and lift their figurative arms literally to disarm our nation.

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