I woke up this morning and read news of the on air shooting of two journalists. I quickly stopped reading and redirected my attention to getting my kids ready for their day, because although Pumpkin is old enough that we now tell her about tragic events nearby or that she's likely to hear about from her friends, I don't see the need to make her know about every single shooting event that makes news.
Frankly, knowing about ever single shooting event that makes the news is overwhelming for me. I don't know what it would be like for an eight year old, and I don't really want to find out.
By some definitions, we're now averaging more than one mass shooting per day. No matter how you define "mass shooting" or count the shooting events, there are too many.
Today's shooting occurred on the same day as the man who shot people in a Colorado movie theater three years ago was sentenced. He will serve 12 consecutive life sentences. But there is no accountability for the people who ensured he was able to buy his weapons and ammunition.
We will always have unstable, unhappy, and angry people. We don't always have to make it so easy for them to get weapons and ammunition. We just don't. Anyone who tries to tell you that there is no way to prevent these events is lying or deluded. Of course there is. Every other country in the world has figured it out. We could, too, if we had the will.
After I dropped the kids off at the camp for the day, I came back home and tried to settle in to work. Wednesdays are work at home days, and I primarily focus on my own projects. I looked at my to do list. Post a Tungsten Hippo recommendation. Tweet about the mailing list sign up promo I started last Friday. Write some posts for other places. Make a couple of phone calls. Work on formatting on the next Annorlunda Books release. And so on.
I managed to make my Tungsten Hippo post. It took me almost an hour to do something I usually do in less than 20 minutes. So I decided to close all my social media windows and focus on something offline. I worked on the book formatting and had my phone calls and went about my day.
By lunchtime, social media was mostly back to normal. I tried to get back to normal, too, writing one of the posts I had on my list.
But then I realized, I don't want to get back to normal so easily. I don't want to be able to shrug off the senseless murder of two young people. I don't want to be able to just go about my day when it starts with news of gun violence.
I'm not at all judging people for getting back to normal on social media. With so many shooting events, if no one posted about anything else on the day when one happened, we'd almost never get to talk about anything else.
And that is the problem.
We have too many guns, they are too easy for people to buy, and too many people are getting shot.
Yes, yes, I know. There are other problems at work, too. But as I said on Twitter before I signed off for awhile this morning: Yes, we should try to fix our other problems. But the guns make our other problems so much more deadly. We should try to fix that, too.
So, while I did go about my day, it wasn't really a normal day, and I'm OK with that. I refuse to force myself to act like nothing has happened and nothing is wrong, because something is very, very wrong.
Being able to have a normal day would mean that I'm used to this, and I refuse to get used to this.
I don't know how we change things. I think it starts by all of us refusing to accept this as our "new normal" and by all of us believing that we can change things. It might take longer than it should, but I really do think it can change. If you're looking for some place to send your energies and/or money to support changing our national attitude towards guns, Moms Demand Action, Americans for Responsible Solutions, and The Brady Campaign are all working on this problem from different angles. Pick the one that suits you best.