Violence is like a weed. It does not die even in the greatest drought.
This is where a Heroes post is supposed to show up, as it has been doing every Friday for a while now. Except that I couldn’t bring myself to abide by the regularly scheduled programming. I tried last night when I got home, setting all my bookmarked stories in a row and then figuring out how to dovetail them into a post worth reading. But the images of Santa Clarita kept calling until I had to pack it in for the night.
Thursday had become one long journey into darkness, again. And there was no blessed opening into which I could pluck heroes out of the carnage. So I packed it in and hoped that tomorrow would be better.
That’s what we do now. That’s what we’re used to doing when another day like yesterday happens. And we’ve had twenty years of days like this now. It has become our regularly scheduled programming in its own wicked way. And here we are, no closer to an answer than we were when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School and murdered twelve students and one teacher.
Saugus High School became the latest chapter in a national saga when a sixteen year old boy walked in and opened fire. It took him sixteen seconds to change tomorrow for every single person who was in that building as well as the scores of families and friends who are left to pick up the pieces that our elected officials want nothing to do with. And if you’re waiting for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to come up with a solution, I’ve got a bridge to nowhere I can sell you.
Next week, the parents of two victims will show up to a funeral service to bury their children. One sixteen year old girl and one fourteen year old boy who were not numbers, who were not political capital, who were not meant to be stapled to the next gun rally. They were just getting started with their lives, and we failed them. Again.
Twenty years of this. It has travailed four Presidents, two wars and the worst terrorist attack on American soil. It has become a cheap trick that we perpetuate on our youth by not saying or doing the things that need to be said and done. And the worst crime of all is to understand this for what it has truly become. Just another day.
When I laid down to go to sleep last night, the images started flooding my mind until I realized that a Heroes post wasn’t going to happen this morning. Because I couldn’t bring myself to do that, even though I’ve done it before. I couldn’t just wake up this morning and treat yesterday as just another day. And when I thought about it some more, the most frightening of thoughts came to me and I just started to cry.
This is who we are.