Shootings Bring Sudden, Tragic, Surreal Losses

Shootings Bring Sudden, Tragic, Surreal Losses

I try to understand and comprehend mass shootings at schools, movie theaters, homes, churches, community centers and businesses but I am not at all successful. What is it like to be in a room where someone is indiscriminately shooting people? What is it like to see friends, family members or coworkers being shot to death all around you? What is it like to be shot? How would I cope with the loud noise, the smoke and smell of burning cordite and the agony of having your flesh torn, your bones broken and vital organs ripped to shreds and blood flowing from your wounds?

What would it be like to have a wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, parent or friend disappear in an instance due to gun violence? I can’t imagine a sudden and unexpected loss of a friend or relative because it has never happened in my circle. What would it be like to be a child who has suddenly and unexpectedly lost one of their parents? What do you say to a four year old — how do you explain the loss and their future?

Perhaps that is a difficulty for us in addressing the problem. Perhaps our community and certainly politicians and the media may not be able to fathom the pain, suffering and agony without experiencing a shooting first hand? Perhaps we will never be successful in reducing gun violence if we can’t fully comprehend the manifestation and the result of violence?

I believe that this is a systemic societal issue that is very complex and may take multiple measures (perhaps 100 different remedies or strategies) and interventions if we are to reduce the horror and suffering caused by gun violence. We can talk of “no-fly-list” people buying guns with no outcome. We can talk about the ban on research that perhaps may shed some clues as to why some people feel it is a good idea to arm themselves and shoot people — people they don’t even know. 

We can talk about stricter gun laws that may reduce the shootings but then not make it out of a committee room with a plan. We can talk and disagree about rights of privacy, rights to carry concealed weapons and rights to openly carry weapons to the grocery store and get nowhere. While all of these measures consider our time, I have not seen nor heard of any progress. 

Mass murder stories are a pretty big issue to me and it sickens me whenever I hear the news of more shootings, more critical injuries and more deaths. I can’t imagine why a progressive society can’t reduce this epic problem of mass shootings or gun violence.

I believe that without empathy, these issues will not be addressed. Perhaps because our civic leaders and the media do not experience the tragedy, trauma, heartache, pain and suffering first-hand, there is no action. This is the only explanation I have for our inactivity to reduce this epidemic of sorrow and suffering.

The loss is so sudden, tragic and even surreal that empathy becomes impossible for me and maybe for others. I think that if I could really understand the killing of innocent and unknown people, I wouldn’t be able to have a normal life. Each waking minute of each day would be dedicated to reducing the frequency of these senseless attacks. If I could truly understand this phenomena, it would consume me and I would have to quit my job and become a peacenik.

Maybe because of the scope of the problem is so paramount and gross, we can’t make progress.

I must admit however, that this explanation defies all conventional wisdom. One would think that we would at least get some traction and progress at implementing some measures — any measures that could reduce the problem because it is so horrific.

When will we clearly understand the impact of these shootings before we have had enough?

When will we be able to have empathy for the victims and their families and friends? When will we be able to take action and make progress?