Pride & Prejudice & Hate Crimes

One more senseless gun tragedy in an endless deluge of senseless gun tragedies. Fifty lives were taken in the early hours this morning, snuffed out in a matter of minutes in a quick & cruel hailstorm unleashed by an AR-15. And why? Hatred – a blind sickness, a cancer that corrupts & devours all it touches. The man responsible for this crime was consumed with his hatred for those different from him, those who strayed from his twisted & deluded ideology. The victims he took were no longer human in his eyes just targets for the picking. 

I will never understand how one person can take the life of another for sport, for amusement, for any reason. I will never understand how a person can be so hollow & void of empathy that they no longer recognize themselves in the faces of others. That level of cruelty & violence is beyond me, thank God, but that won’t keep me safe from it. 

I’m sure none of the victims that died this morning could understand it either. But now, through the vicious actions of a total stranger, it will be their loved ones who are left to ask the question of, “Why?”, and never receive a satisfactory answer. There isn’t a good reason to be had. There is no plausible, rational reason to kill dozens of people. There is no excuse for the slaughter of human beings. 

Of course, there will be those (as there always are) who say there was no way to have predicted this or to have prevented it. Except, we’ve known this was going to happen since the last mass shooting took place. We’ve all known that the last time was never going to actually be the last time. It was just a matter of when and not if the next crazed gunman would appear; to decide who would live & who would die. 

This country has always had an unhealthy obsession with guns & violence. We wield them as tools with brazen hubris and have done so since our puritanical ancestors first stepped ashore here. Our nation’s entire history is one built on notions of domination, entitlement, and death. From our unceasing expansion westward to tame the land & break the natives; to our subjugation & abuse of African Americans; the rapes, lynchings, & cross burnings; the beatings, shaming, & murders of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. We see this violence re-enacted again & again, like a deranged stage play – the next verse is the same as the first. And despite all the bloodshed, the tears, and the crying out, we will probably do what we’ve always done – nothing. 

We put our tragedies on repeat within the 24 hour news cycle, shed some tears, offer prayers, and move on. With our eyes averted from the issue we try to pretend it isn’t there & just hope that next time it isn’t us or some we know.

While prayers alone will accomplish nothing, I did pray this morning in church. I prayed for those who died. I prayed that somehow our politicians & our citizens would finally do something about gun control. Thoughts & prayers are nice, but when that’s your only response in the face of every new tragedy they start to feel like meaningless platitudes. However, we must refrain from merely scapegoating the mentally ill. People who are mentally ill are more likely to be victims of violence then perpetrators. The real issue is gun violence & gun control and it always has been. 

The sad & brutal truth of the matter is that the advocates for more relaxed gun laws & fewer restrictions have demonstrated that they value guns over human lives. They value the money & political support of the NRA over human lives. 

I would be perfectly content if every single gun were rounded up & melted down & turned in to something life-building instead of life-destroying. Ploughshares, housing for the homeless, bridges, charcoal grills, ANYTHING but the preferred implement of mass death dealing by the enraged & petty. 

I hope & I pray that more people will recognize how absurdly vapid the fixation on guns is. How terribly unimportant they are when compared to the life of a loved one. But hoping & praying won’t accomplish anything. If anything is to ever change we have to get uncomfortable, get assertive & fight for that change ourselves. Complacency kills, quite literally. Our continued complacency as a nation in the face of staggering violence will only end with our slow suicide. 

I am so, so tired of hearing about the murder of innocents, the numbers of fatalities read off as if it were as banal as the traffic report. My heart hurts and my soul is weary from all the anguish & senseless death. Fifty people were killed this morning with over fifty more in the hospital. How much higher does the body count have to get before we do something? 
+ Katie +