On October 1st, 2017, just after 10 pm local time, a piece of shit human rained gunshots on a crowd of people attending a music festival in Las Vegas. As cowardly and inhumane as it gets, he shattered the windows of a 32nd floor hotel room with an artillery of over a dozen automatic weapons and fired shots upon thousands of people. These people, just like you and me, woke up the morning of October 1st with an overflow of emotions that usurp our imagined differences; the feeling you enjoy when you get to break routine, leave your job and responsibilities behind, and come together in the warm, desert air under the harmony of song. People are different, but music is a magic that instantly bonds us through codas and choruses. The night should have ended in wonder and bewilderment for these innocent people not unlike ourselves.
From the last report, there’s 58 people dead and 500+ injured.
We’re angry, confused, and doing our best to mask heartbreak and helplessness. There’s no single answer because something so deeply complex could never be solved in a day or with a shot-in-the-dark solution. And it sure as hell won’t be solved with our thoughts and prayers.
Yet, people still respond to mass shootings as if there were a single answer. We wait to hear what the traits of the perpetrator is and we instantly box them in a category. If he’s brown, it’s immigration. If he’s young, it’s mental health. If he’s old and white, it’s gun control. It’s hard for our brain NOT to simplify ideas. That’s why stereotypes exist. It helps us put life into an easy-to-understand perspective. This is how we survive the day. This is not how we eliminate mass shootings in the United States.
Let’s stop fooling ourselves. Admit that we’ve failed to do anything to reduce mass shootings. Admit that it will happen again and again until we put the blood of those killed directly on our hands. Believe that there’s room for every single person in this country to take action.
There’s no way that this nation can improve as long as social media continues to be a pressure cooker for our hate, pain, blame, and callous immaturity. Our hate and division allows angry people to believe they have a reason to steal away people’s lives, to collect a moment of fame no matter what it takes.
There’s no way.
There’s no way.
There’s no way.
We are so afraid to be wrong in this battle against mass shootings that we attack people so we can say we took a stand. We blame someone else, because there’s no way we could be wrong. Congress does nothing, because if they fail, we see them for what they truly are: Human.
If there’s a path to eliminating mass shootings, the rest of the world has walked it. The United States is behind, and we’re losing. The people who place blame and refuse to take responsibility allow innocent American citizens to die. Our so-called leaders are failing us. Our “leaders” are so afraid of criticism that they’ll let people die before they do something about this.
After the Las Vegas attack, the left blamed guns, and the right blamed the left. The left blamed Trump, and the right blamed Obama. The left blamed the NRA, and Kellyanne Conway blamed Obama.
It’s all noise, and we’ll be the laughing stock of history if we don’t change.
We’re babies crying gibberish because attack and blame gets us nowhere, and it does nothing to get us closer to progress.
Progress. Please note that I didn’t say “solution.” We are far, maybe a black hole away, from a solution. We haven’t even reached progress yet. Something so deeply embedded in the history of the United States like the 2nd amendment, as tragedies like this occur, means that not only are we trying to reduce these pathetic acts of violence, but we have to acknowledge a centuries old rule that has 300 million different perspectives now. What the perception of the 2nd amendment means to a rural farm owner is galaxies from what it means to a first-generation immigrant that simply wanted to feel the American Dream.
If the five steps of grieving apply here, then we certainly have Denial down. We interact with the next three (Bargaining, Anger, Depression) often and simultaneously. But the last one, Acceptance, is a long and difficult road to navigate. It’s one we have not witnessed yet.
I want Congress to put down their agenda because their ivy league graduate degrees and life in politics have allowed hundreds of people to die in mass shootings. Take a step back and listen to the people who had to crawl for their life on October 1st, the people who shielded loved ones and strangers alike from spraying bullets, the people who still sit in the hospital waiting to be treated for pain, bullets lodged in their body, blood loss, and the near-death experience. Ask them what we should do. Then drop your party’s agenda and do something.
I could be a next victim, but I won’t be next without telling you that this is not just about guns. It’s mental health, the unrealistic pressure we put on each other to appear a certain way, and the way our government and surrounding communities make us feel forgotten and alone. This is the culture we’ve created that demands happiness and smiles without acknowledging that life is actually very hard, that people who are different should be isolated from the pack, and those isolated should fend for themselves. It’s the ease of gun culture. It’s our ridiculous desire for “individual freedom” versus collective peace.
Congress, fellow citizens, community groups, and public organizations — do your job. Take the high road. Be willing to suffer for our safety. Try new laws, new rules, and scour data, research, the success of other countries, the loopholes in the way, and what lessons history tries to get through to your brains. Stop the disgraceful way that some of our nation’s leaders speak to and attack their own citizens. Inaction is pathetic, and you don’t deserve to hold office if you don’t carry the responsibility to protect, serve, and uphold the law.