(How we are becoming increasingly numb to the atrocities of gun violence in America.)
As a mother, when I heard of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, 6 years ago it took my breath away. It was right before Christmas, I had a first grader at the time and the reality of that horror was more than I could imagine. It undid me. I cried for days. I could not let go of the terror, the fear, the image of the tiny bodies torn apart by bullets. It is every parents worst nightmare turned to volume 11.
Yesterday, I read a headline in my feed, a mass shooting at a Kentucky school. I was waiting for my turn in line at the post office, I had to be on a conference call in 12 minutes, I had a list of to-do’s and anxieties mounting up in my own little world. And I could not. I could not read it. I could not be taken down the rabbit hole once again. Imagining those poor parents, imagining the electricity of terror in the air as kids sprinted for their lives on a Tuesday between Homeroom and History. I chose not to read about it.
I thought about it later and realized how, like many of us, I have become numb to this new reality. The ongoing perpetuation of violence in America by young men with guns. It is an epidemic, yet we allow it, accept it and it goes on and on.We feel helpless. We wonder what can we possibly do. We blame mental health. We blame the guns.
Some believe it is our right as Americans to own guns without regulations as an essential part of freedom. But how free are we, when we can’t live amongst each other, when we can’t send our kids to school, or go to a concert in Las Vegas, or a nightclub in Orlando without the continual ever looming fear that a man, with rage in his heart and an automated weapon in his hand, might open fire and blow us all apart?
My non reaction scares me most of all. How little it shocked me. How little it affected me. Another school shooting. But I have a grocery list, and an article due and traffic to fight and a life to keep leading, so I scroll past. Because I can’t take it in. I don’t want to feel the hopelessness, the indignation and the horror. Not today. Not again.
I don’t fear my own anger and I don’t fear my own sadness. What I do fear is my own apathy.
I fear our collective apathy when the bullets go ringing down school hallways to ever increasingly deaf ears.