Today is December 2nd. It is the 336th day of the year. According to all of the sources I have looked at today, there have been 352 mass shootings this year. For those of you who, like me, might be math-impaired, that’s 16 more shootings than we’ve had days.
Sit with that for a moment, would you?
Today, there were three mass shootings; one in San Bernardino, California which, at this writing, has claimed 14 lives and left upwards of 20 people wounded; one in Houston, Texas which left one person dead and an unknown number wounded; and one in Savannah, Georgia, which left one person dead and at least three wounded.
I always feel the same after something like this happens (and it should be noted here that something like this happens a couple times a week, and yes, I know about almost all of them; I make a point to seek out this news). I find myself suspended halfway between gaping despair and wordless, seething rage.
Right now? Rage is winning.
Observe; these are the twitter responses of some of the major candidates for the nomination on the GOP side:
This right here? This is why we have 16 more shootings than we’ve had days in this year. We are experiencing EXACTLY WHAT WE DESERVE because we’ve tolerated – no; more than tolerated, we’ve elevated – the people who aspire to some seriously twisted image of what it means to be an American with “2nd Amendment rights” far more than they value public safety and the lives of our citizens. We vote these nationalistic, ignorant, dangerous and deluded maniacs into office. We allow them to refrain from bringing to the legislative agenda anything that even remotely resembles a meaningful, rational attempt to curb our national obsession with firearms. We’ve allowed them to get the ignorant and frightened all worked up about “baby parts” and refugees and Obama coming for your guns. We’ve stood politely by and respected the “opinions” of others who tell us that “laws don’t matter; bad guys will always find a way to get guns” and, “an armed society is a polite society” and, “the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” and instead of collectively standing up and saying “you know what? No. No more,” we light candles and hold vigils and offer “thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families” and hope that we can finish praying for one set of murdered citizens before it’s time to focus on another.
Fuck that. Fuck your thoughts and prayers. Your thoughts and prayers weren’t enough after Columbine to prevent Mark Orrin Barton from killing 9 people in Atlanta. Your thoughts and prayers after Atlanta weren’t enough to prevent the Virginia Tech massacre. Your thoughts after Virginia Tech weren’t enough to stop the mass murders in Huntsville or Tuscon or Seal Beach or Aurora or Oak Creek or Minneapolis or Newtown (when we REALLY should have said “here and no farther”) or any of the literally hundreds of shootings that have happened since; they didn’t stop the guy who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood on Friday and they didn’t stop the guy who murdered a waitress at a Waffle House because she told him he couldn’t smoke in the restaurant and they didn’t stop the guy who killed someone for parking in front of his house. They didn’t stop the staggering number of young black people who’ve been murdered, literally in the middle of our streets, simply because they were there.
For whatever good intentions you might have, your thoughts and prayers don’t do shit.
Enough. Get off your fucking knees and DO something. Write to your congresspeople. VOTE. Insist on reasonable, rational laws and regulations that will certainly help to limit the number of these kinds of incidents. Volunteer at your local schools to help teach kids how to manage their problems without violence. Stop tolerating the kind of rhetoric that allows us to think of our neighbors as less than human. Be fucking decent to each other. Stop enabling a society where more mass shootings than days in the year is commonplace.
I’m begging you.