At the time of writing this, the New York Times reports 27 dead, 20 of them children, in the Connecticut school shooting.
I am torn between conflicting feelings; should I be one of the people who writes about yet another tragedy, or do I leave it to someone more eloquent? I generally don’t proclaim my feelings about these types of events on any kind of social media. On the other hand, I don’t think that staying silent and dealing with this in my own personal, quiet, manner is the way to go either. Not anymore.
Something needs to be said. Something needs to be said by as many people as possible, so that maybe we can bring ourselves to put an end to this.
Because the ridiculous, and objectively outrageous, truth is that most of us have become completely numb. A lot of us were not even surprised. I know I wasn’t. And while I know that an event like this should make me overflow with sadness, I somehow can’t bring myself to feel anything. Mostly I feel anger. I feel anger because I can’t feel sadness. I am angry that as a country, school shootings no longer surprise us, and that because they no longer surprise us a lot of us just go on with our lives.
This afternoon, I stood in Marsh Plaza as two B&G guys lowered the flags to half-mast. I don’t think anyone noticed. People went on with their lives, barely acknowledging what was happening, or why it was happening. I saw two students talking outside a CAS door, right next to the flag pole, and they didn’t even flinch or glance at the flags being lowered. How can this be?
As we reflect on what has happened, and what we plan to do about it, I only ask that we keep perspective. We cannot treat this as an isolated incidence, nor can we treat it as incidence which has a single, simple explanation. It is complicated, and if we are going to truly understand and fix the contributing factors which led to this we need to acknowledge that complexity.
As someone who is an immigrant in the process of seeking citizenship, who is hoping to be part of Teach for America, who loves this country, I think it is time that we got off of our high horse and deal with the fact that we are not perfect. Part of the American population has mental illnesses, and our services to them are inadequate. Our background checks on weapons sales, too, are inadequate. And while I believe strongly in the right to bear arms, I agree with Eric that assault weapons should be left to the military- not the general public. We have poverty, educational inequality, gang violence, inefficient drug legislation. Our belief that we are perfect, and our refusal to acknowledge and deal with these issues, have profound repercussions. Like contributing to these terrible, unthinkable deaths.
Please, be there for each other. Then, let’s try to change this.