I am sitting here with pain so visceral that it has somehow cut through the numbness brought on by mass shootings becoming commonplace in this supposedly great country. Two runs to two different schools are in the books. At each one, that nagging thought that this nightmarish world that has been foisted upon me was not a dull whisper but instead an ear-splitting cry of hopelessness and fear. What if I have just delivered them to their death? What if I have have just placed them in a situation where their life ends or they are witness to an event that will rob them of their innocence and haunt them forever?
You could see it in the watery eyes of other parents, who would do anything for their kids but cannot make others do their part. You could see it in the eyes of the teachers, who in return for unfair wages and criticisms are asked to lay down their lives for the students in their care. Or, even bleaker, be the calming refuge in the final horrific moments of those children's lives.
There's nothing to be said that hasn't been said before. It is shouting to the abyss to plea for common sense and basic human decency. Worse is the knowledge that there will be other opportunities. We don't have to live like this. But we do until someone takes that life from us with a weapon of war.
And so the cycle continues. Those of us who cannot muster up words sit silently in the hell of it all. Those of us strong enough to string them together offer them up. The brief catharsis lets us know that we are not insane. That it really is this bad. But soon that is overwhelmed by dread, anger and the numb return to normalcy.
"No matter what you think America is or should be. No matter how much stupidity we file under politics these days, we live in a country where there are no safe spaces left to hide from this uniquely American sickness. Our guns aren't safe. Our background checks aren't safe. Our schools aren't safe. Our children aren't safe. Our country isn't safe. Our love isn't safe. The hate sure as hell seems to be, though.
Outrageous. That's what this is. I felt it almost everywhere I went yesterday. People literally trembling mad. Angrier than they were before this and we were plenty angry as a place before this. There is little worse than you can say about a place than that it can't protect its most vulnerable. But it's something we can say about America now without dispute. Such a uniquely American sickness, unlike anywhere else in the world. We're the headquarters for this. The world's biggest supplier.
This was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. elementary school since Sandy Hook a decade ago. The deadliest shooting in the modern history of gun-toting Texas. That's 26 school shootings resulting in injury or death in the U.S. in 2022. I will not offer you solutions. I will not argue about politics or guns. I don't go to pay respects at a funeral to get into an argument with the grieving pallbearers about the Second Amendment.
Somewhere between the moments of silence and moments of screaming we bow our heads with condolences that don't console and pray to God or scream at God through helpless and terrified pleas that a school even closer to home than this isn't next.
It is so hard to come by empathy these days but this one hits everyone in the heart because we all imagine, in the randomness of it, in the cruelty, in the unimaginable horror of dropping kids off at school with so much life and then never getting to touch that life again, that it could be us next. Because it could be. When are we going to do something?
It haunts. The sound of it. The grief in it. The cry. The despair it's soaked in. When are we going to do something? When are we going to do something?"