This is America

I went to a Taylor Swift concert on my birthday, and it was the best, most fun time. I was so happy to be there. But the first thing I did when I got to my seats was map out an exit in case something went wrong.

I didn’t tell my sister that. I never vocalized it. I didn’t want to be morbid and I didn’t want to make light of the situations where venues had been attacked.

But that was in my mind.

I was a Taylor Swift concert and I went in wondering what would I do if someone opened fire?

This is America.

I’m sitting with my dog now, having an existential crisis about the state of gun control in America. I was scrolling through tweets about Trump and the Han Solo movie and then I saw a brief mention of a school shooting.

This one was in Indiana.

And just two people were shot.

And no one was dead.

And so it’s passed over. Mike Pence and Donald Trump tweet out their thoughts and prayers and life moves on.

This is America.

The Santa Fe shooting was 30 minutes from Houston. We were celebrating Robs graduation, happy to have the whole family together, and we were just picking up little bits and pieces of news about a shooting that took the lives of ten kids.

Ten kids with futures and hopes and dreams. Family and friends and crushes. Ten kids who went into school thinking about the weekend, about the summer, about anything else but the idea of a bullet taking their lives.

Then again, maybe they were thinking about it.

We are asking kids all over the country to think about what would happen if a gunman opened fire. We are asking children to face the reality, the possibility, the probability that something could happen.

Because this is America.

We are a country of exceptions.

We want the freedom of choice, unless your choice is to murder babies.

We want the freedom of religion, unless your religion includes wearing a hijab.

We want the freedom of speech, unless your little kneeling stunt disrupts the good ole American game and then you can kindly stay quiet and play ball.

We want the right to life, liberty, and happiness, but only if you look, think, act, believe a certain way.

This is America.

I’m really emotional right now. I don’t know why. I feel this fissure in the way we handle things. We just ignore it–pretend it isn’t there–sweep it under the rug–throw our justifications out along with our thoughts and our prayers.

Guns don’t kill people. It’s a mental health problem. We just need to crack down on security. It’s different abroad. What works for X country wouldn’t work for us.

We micromanage every aspect of our lives — there are policies being argued at the state and federal level about birth control and abortion and education and religion — but gun control?

We hand out bumper stickers of semi-automatic rifles that read “Come and Take It.”

This is America.

And I’m sick of it. I’m disgusted. I’m embarrassed. I’m ashamed. I’m scared.

This is our new normal.

Three shooting in one week.

Measured against each other.

It was just this, it was only this.

It wasn’t an automatic rifle. Gun control wouldn’t have stopped it. If someone wants to kill they’ll find a way. People will always find guns. Look at how the prohibition worked out. Let’s arm teachers instead.

Is that it?

And I know I don’t have the solution. I know everyone will call me naive. Maybe I am. But I cannot believe the acceptable alternative is to do nothing, to say nothing. To shrug our shoulders and move on.

I don’t want to go to a concert thinking what if. I don’t want to raise kids in a world where I send them to a school with that little irrational fear in my mind: what if it’s their school this week?

We have become apathetic. Ambivalent. Selfish. Greedy. Lazy. Callous. I don’t know what.

To feel so possessive of your right to arms? Your gun? Your ease of purchase? To feel so unmoved by the children dying in droves. And maybe gun control wouldn’t stop shootings! Maybe it wouldn’t end all the madmen out there reacting in a world of reactions. But the fact that so many people would rather not try…it’s disturbing to me.

But this is America. And the right to bear arms — no matter that it doesn’t specify what kind or how many or who can get them — is right there in the constitution.

If only the founding fathers had the forethought to say that every person has the right to go to school, to go to a concert, to walk down the streets or go to the movies or wander the mall without getting shot down like this is some war zone.

No matter the laws we’ve changed and added since. Don’t mind the policies and procedures that have shifted our nation drastically from what it was in 1788. Let’s forget the rules and regulations that impact every other industry in the nation.

Somehow the second amendment is the hill we’ve decided to die on.

And it’s littered with the bodies of kids just going to art class, just taking a pop quiz, just texting their friends about what they want to wear to prom.

But, hey, this is America.

One thought on “This is America

  1. The shooting that has always stuck with the most is the 2012 Aurora movie theatre (probably because I was born there), and with everything feeling like it’s escalating lately and us just getting moviepass, every time we go I plan how I would try to hide. It’s ridiculous.


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