Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom — Chapter 12

Another devastating mass shooting occurred in the United States last week. How and why this continues to happen is beyond belief. We are supposed to be civilized. We are supposed to be law abiding. We are supposed to respect life. Isn’t that what we teach our children? And yet some children are not getting that message. Some children seem to believe that the only way to assuage their angst or their anger or loneliness or that black hole inside of them is to take many souls down with them. And it seems so easy for them to get a gun with which to do it.

A mere decade ago there was no such thing as a disengaged young man taking a gun with many, many rounds and systematically opening fire on innocent people. There were still many that had the anger, the angst or the black hole but they did not have the means to carry out mass murder. What has changed to allow this to keep happening time after time? Certainly the Internet has been a Pandora’s box of delights and dark deeds. It’s possible to learn anything from there. How to make a pie. Where to buy the best plane tickets. How to build a bomb. In the wake of last week’s tragedy, it came to light that there exists a large Twitter group of people of the same mindset who celebrated the follow through of this young mans’ actions. Why? What makes mass murder a subject of rejoicing? What in this person’s sick mind justified what he did? So many questions with so few answers.

What has really become evident is that there are no safe havens anymore. Those bastions of protection can no longer be trusted. Churches. Schools. Any large gathering whether it be at a movie theatre or a political rally or a marathon is fair game for those with twisted minds bent on wreaking havoc. We must constantly be aware. We must constantly be on guard. And yet this attitude causes even more damage. Profiling. Prejudice. Fear of those different from us who themselves are afraid for their families and their children. We become isolationists in an effort to keep our children and ourselves safe. It is a false sense of security.

I feel as though we are living in the Wild West. The pioneers of this country forged through new lands with unknown dangers. They needed guns to protect themselves and to forage for food to keep their families fed. A gun was a necessity and the right to bear arms became part of the new country’s constitution. Today no one needs a gun. Food is plentiful. Hunting is for sport, a sport I cannot understand. Majestic animals killed for trophies and skins. They are dangerous creatures if angered or crossed, no doubt. But they can only fight with what they were born with. Men can fight with what they have created. I don’t get the high sense of superiority or the thrill a hunter must experience from the hunt. Does the hunting of humans feel the same?

I feel sick in my heart that my so-called powerful country continues to accept these events without any meaningful change. Mine is the only democratic country to have these events continuously happen. I cannot tell my children I love them enough when life can change so drastically in an instant. Each time this happens I think of the parents. What were the last words they said to their child that day? Did they kiss them and send them off or yell at them for an unmade bed or clothes on the floor? Will they forever regret those said or unsaid words?

We will all be so sad for a while and then soon we will all go back to our lives. Except for the families impacted by these tragedies. Their lives will never go back to what they were. The rest of us can forget about it for a while. Until it happens again. And it will. Unless we can finally find the courage to say enough and do enough to keep guns out of the hands of lost children with violent intent.

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