14 December 2018

Six years. A moment. A lifetime.

It’s been six years since the Sandy Hook shooting, 20 little kids murdered by an angry white man, and it feels like just a minute ago, and it feels like a lifetime ago.

All the shootings since then, schools and other places, all the angry white men collapse in my mind and I want to run to where my son is and hold him tight and somehow make my body protect him from the violence.

At the same time I feel like I’ve gone through a lifetime of sorrow and loss of illusions that we cannot, as a nation, do anything about this.

We fetishize the Second Amendment, though we have legislative and judiciary branches of government whose job it is to update and interpret the law.

The claim that we already have laws and they don’t keep guns out the hands of criminals is disingenuous. With no nationwide concensus on gun laws, we have ended up with a patchwork of weak laws and loopholes that lets anyone with gas money drive to a neighboring state and buy as much firepower as they want.

We regulate cars and Sudafed, lettuce and Adderal. We regulate free speech and voting. We have, since the original composition of the Constitution, abolished slavery, prohibited alcohol and allowed it again, extended the vote to former slaves and to women.

Yet as a nation, we deem it impossible to create national limits on the sale of automatic weapons, or create national standards for background checks.

And so people keep dying. Children keep dying. People of color, women, gays. Straight white men get killed, too, some of them police officers. People keep dying, and we keep avoiding naming the killers: men, white men almost to the one, a slim majority of them involved in domestic violence.

As a nation, it seems we can’t imagine limiting the rights of these white men to their guns, and so every week we go through spasms of grief about another killing, and then we go right on with our lives. I’ve gone numb. How about you?