sometimes i feel
doom scrolling and anger and people who just don't care
I wrote about this already, I keep telling myself. You can’t write about it again. But I can, it’s my newsletter, and my newsletter has become a recording of my feelings, and my feelings are right now bloated, exaggerated. They need somewhere to go.
I am an ugly combination of sad and angry. The sadness is deep and unforgiving, the anger relentless. If I am feeling this way, what are the parents of nineteen dead children feeling right now? I weep for them, I feel for them, but I cannot profess to know how deep their own grief is right now. I cannot know how they are feeling as the details of how their children died are laid out in front of them, and those details keep changing, keep becoming more and more horrifying. I only know that I am raging, I am barely keeping myself together.
I keep reading and watching the news and I keep scrolling twitter because the firehose of news is aimed at me and I refuse to get out of the way. I don’t want to ignore it, I don’t want to passively know about what’s going on. I submerge myself in it because it’s not just the problem of the people directly involved, it’s my problem, too. It’s our problem. Just because this happened somewhere you don’t live doesn’t mean it’s not coming to a town near you soon. I read the news out of fear, I watch the news with a desire to learn more, even though the facts I learn will further devastate me. It’s important to me to be aware of the facts before I rant about them, it’s important that I not put my head in the sand. If all I can do for the victims and their families is stay informed, that’s what I’m going to do. I will yell into the void on their behalf, I will call and write and scream and cry on their behalf.
Last night, the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays decided to forego game reporting on their twitter feeds, and they tweeted out facts about gun violence instead. I thought it was a good gesture on their part, an attempt to do something constructive and educational in this time of national grief. The replies were mostly awful, full of people saying “stick to sports” and “who cares” and other lovely sentiments. Who cares. Imagine that. Imagine not caring about this at all. I spent a few minutes replying to people then realized that task was futile. I just had to get it in my mind that there are people who do not care. They will go about their lives not giving a single thought to the dead children, the grieving parents, the state of this country. What’s that like? How do you, as a human being, not have any emotions about this, how do you get angry that a social media team is choosing to do something worthwhile and good? The callousness on display broke my heart. I feel like that speaks so much to what America is about these days, that there are so many people who refuse to empathize, who look the other way so the bad things don’t interfere with their lives.
Yes, I’ve gone about my days. I went to work and I cleaned my house and I ran errands and every moment of all of that was spent in a state of agony, one where I could not take my mind off death, injustice, the horrors of knowing that maybe if the cops had approached this in a different way things could have been different. I keep thinking about how the shooter was in the school for an hour before they killed him. I keep thinking about how he was outside the building with his guns and his gear, how he was able to walk into the school like that. And I keep reading story after story where the “facts” change over and over again and I no longer believe anything the authorities have to say, which just fuels my anger and despair.
People tell me not to take it personally but how else can I take it. The fact that AR-15s are being put in the hands of regular citizens is a personal affront to me. I am insulted by it. I am horrified by it. But we - as a country - choose to do nothing about it. I take it personally because I believe that all human life is to be valued, and 21 lives were taken, just like that. How can you not take that with you every moment of your life, everywhere you go? How can you not care?
I am sitting here on what is a vacation day doom scrolling twitter, taking it all in, all the news, all the grief, all the sorrow, all the fear and anger. I need to sit with it, I need to be deep in it. I need to yell and scream and cry, I need to ask people who keep talking like nineteen dead kids is collateral damage for their right to own guns why. Why are you like this? I don’t understand. And I don’t understand people who are burying their heads in the sand, refusing to engage with stories about each child and their families, refusing to acknowledge anything because it keeps them from being sad.
You should be sad. You should be angry. You should be mad at the injustice of this world. You should take that anger with you wherever you go and use that to make you act. Donate to a gofundme for the victims. Call your senator and ask why the fuck we are still arming people with assault rifles. Question those in charge. But do not turn away. We can’t afford to look away, we can’t afford to do this again and again and again and have people shrug their shoulders and say, just another day in America. Like this is normal. This is decidedly not normal. It can’t be.
I dreamed last night about baby birds falling from their nests, landing on the ground with a thud, explosions of feathers and blood. I don’t need a dream interpretation book to tell me what that means. I don’t want to wake up crying anymore. I want some peace. But I’m not going to get it. Not until things change.
[I have no idea what the point of this issue is, except that it’s my newsletter and I needed to let off steam and that’s what I did. I hope you got something out of it. I hope you don’t turn a blind eye. I hope you are sad and angry because I don’t want to know you if you’re not.]