I posted yesterday's post, and then went to look at my Facebook. The first reports of another mass shooting were starting to show up. This one was worse than any before. Maybe not in terms of numbers, but in the horror of what happened and the age of the victims.
At first, I was just stunned. It was like part of me couldn't believe this was happening. Not again. Not to little kids. It had to be wrong. Someone made a mistake. It was an Onion article--a sick sick fucking Onion article. This just couldn't be happening.
I want to scream. I want to kick something. I want to write, and I want to post. I want to use what I've built here as a way to reach people. Mostly, I want the issues of elementary school children's safety not to be a political issue. I want to be able to have an argument--a terrible, furious, table pounding row that maybe even ruins a few friendships--without being shamed for daring to speak because it's "too soon" or I'm "politicizing the issues." I want this because they were just fucking little kids dammit! It seems like it couldn't possibly be too soon, and that if anything, we were too late. We should have been talking about this last week. When is it no longer too soon? When we're numb? When people aren't thinking about it? When we're back to caring about analytics and page-views? When the rage has faded to the point where our distraction and apathy eclipse it once again and gun control is a fringe debate that doesn't really effect us? When we are so desensitized that a nearly perennial horror seems sad and commonplace but inspires no change?
But it is a political issue. And it's a complicated issue. But mostly it is a political issue. And this isn't a political blog. And it wouldn't be right of me to soapbox--not here. Perhaps not now, but certainly not here. I'm already holding back Facebook posts and posting things and then pulling them back down five minutes later because I realize they aren't really helping anything but my own self-righteous indignation.
But I also can't just plug along like my heart isn't breaking. I can't write about Octorians and the A-team not being able to hit targets and the fine line between reaching for the stars and getting your ass to work, as if the image of fifteen terrified kids stuffed in a single bathroom, trying to be silent because their teacher says "bad guys" are outside isn't tearing me apart. I can't stop thinking of the kid standing on the toilet so that one more could fit in there. I just can't pretend that it's business as usual here at W.A.W.
So instead, I offer simply quiet reflection. There was one horrible person at work yesterday. But there were dozens of heroes, some who even literally sacrificed themselves so that a room full of small children could live. There are people crawling out of the woodwork to help with money and skills, and I doubt we've heard the last of the stories of selfless good. People always react with dubious sentiments about their faith in humanity during these moments.
I see them differently. I see them as moments where we rise to our potential. We become who we really are when the chips are down and the shit hits the fan. Lean us over the volcano, and you will see that humanity is something extraordinary. In fire, we achieve our finest, noblest moments.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" -- Fred (Mister) Rogers