They just wanted to dance.
I’m running out of words to convey how tired I am of reading about hate-fueled violence.
My mind becomes mush as I try to comprehend how one person can hold so much hate and carry out out such a horrific act. I search to the deepest, darkest places in my mind, wondering if I could ever hate anyone that much, and I come up empty every time.
I look around at the people I love, could any one them be next? Could they be on either end of the next gun that makes us collectively pause for a moment? The next headline, the next crying emoticon over a shared news story… only to be forgetten when a TMZ darling does something we deem more deserving of our collective attention?
When I walk into new places, I make note of the exits. Not because I want to leave early but because when seconds matter I want to be prepared if I am the next target.
I prefer to sit on the aisle in theaters, fewer people to get through. I don’t like being near the entrance, I hope I’ll get more warning if something happens this way. Definitely not in the upper part, it’d be like a carnival game to the wrong person. I eyeball each person who enters, watching those who are too quiet, who stay too close to the edges, and find myself trying to see their eyes. Are they filled with rage? Hate? Adrenaline? Pain? Fear? Could I even identify these feelings in a stranger’s eyes if I wanted to?
Why do we send thoughts and prayers and positive vibes while ignoring the common denominators these shootings have:
Access to guns
Mental health crisis
Easy access to radicalization and hate
Desire for fame and access to “how to’s” provided by previous shootings
Why do we accept this is how life in American should be? No other country lives this way. Why do we? How can we live like hunted animals while simultaneously claiming to be greatest nation on Earth?
We teach kids how to respond to shooters, but not how to prevent them. In fact, teaching kids how not to hate, how not to bully, and how to respect others’ lives is “too much” for many. Attempts to broaden our kids minds beyond their bubbles are met with fierce opposition from adults content with the current status quo. Too many of us fail to recognize we cannot solve this problem by doing things as we always have
What will it take for us to finally have enough and demand changes?
When we’re killed for wanting to worship?
When we’re killed for wanting to learn?
When we’re killed for wanting to shop?When we’re killed for wanting to listen to music?
When we’re killed for wanting to dance?
When we’re killed for wanting to live?