A Reaction to Las Vegas

I’m just going to put this bluntly: I’ve snapped.  I’m tired and I’ve lost it.  I don’t normally use profanity on this site because my mama raised me better than that (and because I know that some of you are younger readers), so I try not to.  But today…I may make an exception.

Because I am so bloody tired.

I am tired of waking up in the morning and learning about mass shootings that took place the night before.  My radio station even teased the news, saying something vague about 50 dying and, “We’ll tell you the rest after this song!”  My first reaction was that it was some kind of accident, like a plane crash or a train derailment.  It wasn’t until they came back that I learned the truth.

I am tired of going through the day waiting for answers.  Being a teacher and at work all day, I didn’t have any time to follow the news to even figure out what was going on.  (I didn’t even know it was an outdoor concert until lunch.)

I am tired of waiting for answers that will never come, like why this person picked this place.  Or why he decided to do it.  Or why he believed this was a good path to take.  Or why he continued for so long.  So many questions that will never be satisfactorily answered.

I am tired of the absolute bullshit happening in the media about mental illness because this guy was white and nothing about terrorism because he was white.  Apparently there’s some kind of guideline involved in calling it terrorism vs. mass murder, but I’m finding that line seems to only exist when religion and race are involved.  If you’re firing a weapon into crowds of people intent on killing as many people as possible, it’s fucking terrorism.  Done.  Look how easy that was to call it terrorism!

I am tired of nonetheless spending hours in front of the TV to figure out what happened.

I am tired of hearing the sentiment that even though it’s a tragic time, it’s so uplifting to see people come together to help each other.  It bothers me so much.  Like, you think you’re being comforting, but you’re really not because this shouldn’t have happened.  Sure, say it after a hurricane or something where people are reaching out to help neighbors.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t recognize the heroes who stepped up in these situations.  Last I heard, there was at least one Las Vegas cop who was killed at the concert and he deserves recognition.  But in a situation like this, it’s panic and pandemonium.  There was no forewarning.  So I don’t blame the people who fled for their lives and maybe didn’t stop to help someone else.

I am tired of anticipating the gun control “debate” that will surely rise, which will include one side insisting that all guns should be banned and the other side going out and buying even more guns to thwart the other side.  This is idiotic.  I’m all for regulations.  There have been too many shootings, too many mass murders, too many acts of terrorism in the US involving guns to continue on this current path.  Do you realize how stupid we look to the rest of the world, especially the ones that have outlawed or restricted guns?  (Yes, I’m aware that we have a second amendment, but guns in the 1780s were one shot, front loading rifles with little to no accuracy.  A fully automatic rifle or even a fucking revolver would have been unthinkable to the Founding Fathers.)

I am tired of having little to no hope that our laws will change any time soon.  Especially not with this president.

I am tired of wondering when this will eventually impact my life.  Because how can it not?  The statistics are startling and as a teacher, it seems all the more likely that some day, there may be an attack on my school and I may be in the crossfire.  I have never, not once since Sandy Hook, felt 100% safe in my job (and I wasn’t even a college graduate at the time!).  As teachers, we are more or less taught to protect the kids at all costs, even if we have to give our lives.  And that is fucking terrifying.  On days like this, I have a hard time juggling my daily job with what could one day be my responsibility.  (And don’t tell me I’m overreacting; we had a bomb threat a couple of years ago that was thankfully a fake, but could have been devastatingly real.)

I am fucking tired of feeling helpless in these situations.

I am tired of everyone offering prayers but not solutions.

I am tired of the rhetoric.

I am tired of the speculation of where it could happen next.

I am tired of fearing going to large venues with friends.

I am tired of fear.

But I am also emboldened.  I am fired up and ready to make a change, because this cannot continue.  Many of my friends are struggling to come up with the words to explain to their children how and why things like this keep happening.  And why should we when regulations, when policy changes can protect our children in the same way that children in the UK, in Australia are protected?  In both of those countries, they had wake-up calls after a mass shooting and they took steps to fix the problem.  So why do we keep making excuses about this one?

Why do we keep allowing it to happen?

Much like the violence itself, continuing on this path is senseless and destructive.