My initial reaction to the shooting, to all of the shootings, is “Oh, I wonder if it’s a middle class, 20-something white man? Oh, it is? Wow, that’s surprising to absolutely nobody.” My initial reaction of sarcastic, almost flippant annoyance shocks me until I realize I’m past the point of being angry about the shootings. I’m angry at everything. I feel so sick, disgusted, numb, furious, and impotent. I can’t do a damn thing about these shootings. I can’t do a damn thing about anything.
I feel like my feelings about the mass shootings issue mirror my feelings about all modern issues. Poverty, the environment, child abuse, slave labor, animal abuse. These are huge, sweeping, global, critical problems. Our environment is decimated. Our children are growing up too soon, and somehow not at all. Pretty much all the food that we eat is synthetic, infused with plastic and chemicals and poison. Thinking about these issues literally makes it hard for me to breathe. I feel like I’m in a house that’s ablaze, and all I can do is sit here and cry and scream at nobody and everybody. Sit here as people are dying and hurting and hurting others. People are being poisoned, shot, molested, maimed. Animals are created, just to be abused from the second they’re born to the second they’re killed, for profit. I’m angry. I’m angry at everyone for buying into the culture. I’m angry at myself for buying into the culture.
Because here’s the thing. I shop at Wal-Mart. I eat animals produced by industrial farming. I waste, and waste, and waste because it’s easier than doing the right thing. I don’t recycle nearly as often as I could because it’s an inconvenience to me. And I hate myself for it.
So yes. I’m angry. I’m angry at the guy who shot over a dozen (or was it two dozen?) college students (or was it children? Military?). I’m angry at the “system” for letting it happen. I’m angry for being part of a system that lets it happen. I’m angry that nothing is ever going to change.
But I guess that’s it, isn’t it? We’re all impacted, but we’re all incapable of making change. Even the most virulently strong-minded activists among us are just shouting into the wind. I can be furiously pro-gun (or anti-gun, or whatever) and it won’t matter. At this point, the best we can do is hope to be brave during times of terrorism and mass-destruction. Or maybe, just hope to not be the person at the movie theater or college campus or church or elementary school when someone decides they’ve had enough, and they’re going to take their anger out in the loudest way they can.
And repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
In two, three, four days/weeks/months we’ll be feeling this same collective sense of “well… that really sucks.” We’ll look at the supposed heroic teacher/soldier/mother who did what they could to mitigate the carnage, appreciate their efforts, and we’ll move on. We’ll remember some of the victims, but probably not because there’s just too many. Your heart can only be ripped open and sewn back up so many times before it permanently hurts but your brain tells you it doesn’t because of instinct and survival and repetition and desensitization. Whatever that means.
How do we as people come to terms with being so wholly inconsequential? I guess we don’t. I guess it just hurts. Just like it will hurt next time, too.