What is there left to be said that hasn’t already been said? We know the cycle by now. A man with a gun and evil in his heart shoots and kills. A community is brought to its knees. The nation weeps. The media searches for answers. Politicians offer empty thoughts and prayers. There will be some legislation, but not enough to make any real difference. And we are left to grin and bear it, until we have to do it again—or until it’s our community.
Uvalde. Buffalo. Boulder. El Paso. Virginia Beach. Thousand Oaks. Pittsburgh. Sante Fe. Parkland. Sutherland Springs. Paradise. Orlando. San Bernardino. DC. Newtown. Aurora. Killeen. Binghamton. Genevea County. Blacksburg. Columbine.
It doesn’t have to be like this, but it is. We are collateral damage in a fight that we’ll never win. That’s the America that’s shown itself since time immemorial. So what is there to say? This cycle has been a way of life for so long that kids are doing active shooter drills in school. Preparing for the day a man with a gun and evil in his heart comes to shoot and kill any and everyone in his path. That the solution was to teach children how to hide and play dead instead of creating a world where gun violence doesn’t feel so inevitable is a brutal indictment on its own—but that’s just the way it is.
We are force-fed copaganda and empty platitudes from those elected to power. Those in power tell us the answer is more protection. More guns. More police. America is the only nation paralyzed by gun violence of this magnitude. It is the only land where firearms outnumber citizens. There’s 120 gun guns for every 100 Americans. It's easier to get a gun in this country than it is to get a puppy. Or a divorce. Or a passport. Or a box of Sudafed. It takes longer to buy a new car than it is to walk out of a gun store with a new firearm. This is a fight we can't win with thoughts and prayers or with votes. We are in crisis and that’s just the way it is.
A classroom of fourth graders and their teachers winding down their school year. Black folks getting staples for the week at a grocery store. People gone out line dancing. People praying at synagogue. People at work. People watching a midnight screening of a new Batman film. People at a country music festival. People at a gay club during Pride month.
So many people gone, annihilated by a man with a gun and evil in his heart. It doesn’t have to be like this, but it is. What is there to say now, knowing there will be a next time—because there’s always a next time. This is, after all, the America we’ve known since time immemorial. The cycle will come again. A community will be brought to its knees, grieving a mass loss of life that never had to happen in the first place. The nation will weep. The media will search for answers and tell us everything about the man with a gun and evil in his heart and all of the people he massacred. Politicians will offer empty thoughts and prayers and the great debate about our nation’s affinity for guns will continue. Some of us will grieve or disassociate from the constant cycle of trauma. Some of us will channel our rage into action and join a fight that we were never meant to win. And some of us will simply buy more firearms and vote for the politicians that believe the nation’s greatest threat is gay and trans kids or learning about racism in America.
It doesn’t have to be like this, but it is. And probably always will be. So what are we supposed to say now? What are we supposed to do now?