gratitude-a-thon day 2039: what it’ll take

(I wrote this yesterday, but had a ridiculous wordpress virus and had to download new software, but first delete like a billion gigabytes or what the hell ever they are before it would even download. First world problems, but hellish, nonetheless.)

I just walked the dog, and proceeded to have a toasted gluten free english muffin with mozzarella cheese for breakfast (I could eat one of these every hour all day long–isn’t melted cheese the best….and if you add some avocado…and a little bit of Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel and maybe a slice of bacon, and some tomato….but I digress), and I am sitting here in my office, in deep in thought about how to describe a contractor’s invention for keeping basements dry (very sexy work today) when my phone flashes, “Breaking News: “At least four dead in 2nd mass shooting in Chicago in four days.”

As my eyes scroll through this message, my brain fast forwards to where this happened, geographically. This is what I do everytime we have a shooting–I don’t want to see the word “California,” where my son lives. Even if it is on the other side of the state, I worry he might have somehow found himself there, which is about as unlikely as Chip and Joanna Gaines doing an ugly renovation. When I saw it was in Chicago, I went back to my work. 

But then I was all like, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

YOU JUST READ THAT FOUR PEOPLE WERE DEAD AND YOU JUST WENT BACK TO YOUR WORK, LIKE YOU’D JUST READ JLO WAS ENGAGED AGAIN. I had to smack myself and remember that these are people just like me with families and friends and lives and hopes and dreams and jobs and favorite foods, like mozzarella on english muffins. These shootings have become so frequent that even, I, an overly sensitive type, is beginning to become jaded. Hard stop, right there. I just can’t allow myself to let this kind of news stop meaning anything. I can’t allow myself to forget that this is bat shit craziness and we all need to remember that gun violence is killing people exactly like you and your kids. 

This is how it is now. The shootings are more and more frequent. This CNN article says as of this weekend, there have been 272 mass shootings in 2021 so far. And since it was published 23 hours ago, that didn’t include the Chicago shooting I just read about. And by the end of the day, or week, who knows how much that number will increase. But you know, I have to figure out how to explain my client’s innovative technique to keep basements everywhere dry, so I’ll just carry on. 

NO.

The other night we just so happened to watch Us Kids, an extraordinary documentary on the gutsy, resilient, fucking spectacular students from Stoneham Douglas High School in Florida, who became gun activists (after losing 17 and having 17 others injured during a mass shooting at their school. The movie documents them traveling all over the country with their message and first hand experience of gun violence. It’s quite impressive what these kids did and continue to do. And the director does a great job of making you feel the exhaustion these kids experience. (I felt so much gratitude toward these students, who were brave enough to make noise, to try and challenge the status quo, to push for laws by sharing their story). And as we watched, utterly blown away by their tenacity, we all said the same thing at the end of the movie. AS MUCH AS THESE KIDS HAVE DONE, THERE HAS STILL BEEN NO LEGISLATION THAT’S MADE GUNS ANY HARDER TO OBTAIN. 

Yeah, what am I even saying that everybody, including me hasn’t said before.

But when will it be too much? Do we have no bottom? who will have to die in a mass shooting for anything to change? Have you already started to ignore the breaking news that details another mass shooting? I will not allow myself to be become inhuman. i will force myself to remember that every life taken is a life like my own.

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