they don't care
it has happened again
I woke up this morning thinking about things like what I’m going to wear to work and what kind of bagel I want to get for breakfast. And then I remembered. 19 children were murdered yesterday. It hit me hard again, I sucked in my breath and forgot about the bagels. I thought about the kids, I thought about their parents, I thought about all the little children who survived and will never be the same.
My children are 29 and 32. They did not go to school in the age of active shooter drills. The only time they felt unsafe were the few days after 9/11 when everyone thought there would be another terrorist attack. School was a good place, a safe place. And that’s the way it should be.
Now you have parents fearful of sending their kids to school. You have kids who are terrified of stepping inside their classrooms, kids who have gone through shooter drills and know that if they are out of the class when it happens, no one is going to open the door to let them in to possible safety. They live in a world where they have to be made aware that there are angry people with guns out there, and that they may choose their school to take their anger out on.
When I was little, we lived in fear of nuclear war. We did duck and cover drill, sitting in the hallway with our heads between our knees, or being marched down to the fallout shelter in the basement of the school. We lived at the mercy of Russia and the nuclear button. It’s a different kind of fear, I think. It was abstract, something we really didn’t understand, a vague threat of everybody dying at once. Living with the fear of a gunman entering your school and shooting you and your classmates to death is grounded in reality because it has happened. More than once. It’s a tangible, real fear. I can’t imagine being a parent this morning and sending your kid off to school. I can’t imagine being nine years old and fearing for your life in a place that’s supposed to be safe.
I wrote last week about how America has a problem. The problem is we’ve become a country that doesn’t care. No one in charge cares enough about gun violence to do anything about it. President Biden tweeted this morning “when in god’s name will we do what needs to be done” and I almost cried because if the president of the United States doesn’t know the answer to this, then the answer is never. We’ll never, as a country, care so much about people being shot to death that we go against the powerful gun lobby and do what needs to be done.
They simply don’t care about anything other than the money that lines their pockets and the power they have from being in office. They don’t care about gun violence, they don’t care about the sick, the homeless, the poor. They don’t care about addicts, about people who don’t have healthcare, about the hungry. They only care about themselves. It’s a cynical view to take, I know, but I can’t come to any other conclusion when there is mass shooting after mass shooting, when the country is falling apart socially and economically, when I feel like every day is one day closer to some kind of civil war.
America is the only country with a gun problem like this, because we are the only country that refuses to take control of the situation. We live in a nation where fifteen dead kids is collateral damage. That’s horrifying.
Meanwhile, they want you to believe that the greatest threats to school children are gay and transgender kids, or teaching about race, or books that show the reality of life. These are the things they are worried about, these are the things they say you should fear, things they speak about while the bodies of kids are being carted out of their school. They talk about the sanctity of life, they protect fetuses at all costs, and then they don’t give a damn about the kids once they are born.
I am sick about this. I am distraught, I am angry, I am sad. All those children, their lives cut short, their parents left to live with the agony of losing a child in such a senseless, preventable way. We’ve been through this before. We should not be going through it again. When is enough ever going to enough? When will someone stand up to Republicans, to the gun lobby?
People will say, if you don’t like America, leave it. As if that will solve anything. That’s not answer, it’s a retort, and retorts aren’t going to get us anywhere. Even if a million people upped and left the country, the problems would still be here. Shootings will still occur. There will still be rampant homelessness, hunger, murders. I want to stay here and make things better but I don’t know how. I voted blue, just like they wanted me to. I’ve written to all the people they told me to write. I’ve called. It all amounts to nothing because there are too many powerful people who don’t want anything to change. They don’t care if your kids don’t feel safe. They don’t really care if your kids die if it means keeping their guns.
I want to scream. I feel like screaming is the only way I can articulate what I’m feeling, just a primal scream heard across Long Island. These paragraphs I just wrote mean nothing except as a means to pour my emotions out. No one cares about how I feel. And that’s the problem.
No one cares.