Long time, no chat besties!
We’re in the middle of the second month of this grand year, and I am tired! It’s safe to say my 2023 goal of better time management and devotion to my Muddy life has gone off the tracks. Like from Day 1. In fact, I have a whole draft devoted to goals and resolutions. I also have another on mental health. I think that gives you a good clue where my brain is. We will circle back to those drafts later… soon, but later. But we’ve all just had another mass shooting in the news and my heart and my brain need to purge something else.
all the shootings
Last week, there was a shooting at our mall. Texts from friends and family making sure we were okay were non-stop. City alerts were blowing up our phones. Social media was filled with real-time video of people running and barricading themselves from gunshots. Updates were fast but confusing and altogether terrifying. Another mass shooting? Gang violence? Are we once again the target of hatred? Where were the shooters? How many hurt? Is anyone dead? It was a few hours of pure chaos and fear. Not again. The mall shares a parking lot with the Walmart where almost three years ago there was a mass shooting. Why? Because our Mexican border city is filled with… Mexicans. (The trial is still pending.)
Once the panic calmed and law enforcement sorted everything out: one dead and three injured. One shooter and he’s already in custody. Not gang violence – just some teenage hooligan shit. Teenage hooligan shit that traumatized, re-traumatized, and terrified so many people. Days before, national news coverage was filled with the news of the mass shooting at Michigan State that left three dead and five injured… and once again… thousands traumatized. But somehow the TikTok videos and media coverage that came immediately after hurt my heart even more. Some of these students had already survived one school shooting. One student was in 6th grade when her elementary school was attacked and 27 children were cruelly murdered. Sandy Hook. Other students were at Oxford High School 15 months ago when four students were murdered and seven were injured. Elementary school. High School. College.
It’s unfathomable. Except it’s not. Not anymore. Not here.
when it happens
The Boy generally watches or reads news and brief recaps with me. He knows what’s happening in the world, so he was aware of Michigan. The Cielo Vista shooting had his phone exploding with notifications as well. Between City alerts and some of his own friends’ group chats worrying about their own family and friends that were either in the mall or around the area – there was just no avoiding it. (Everyone was safe.) It was more than enough stress. I needed to gauge where his head was at after all of this as we generally do when he comes to me with questions about some of the news he reads or sees. We’ve talked about Ukraine, the recent earthquakes in Turkey. All the news.
So, we chatted back and forth a bit. I told him I didn’t want him to be afraid be out in the world doing the things we should feel safe doing. “I’m going to live life, Mom. But I’m always afraid. It’s always there.” My heart cracked a little. “But we’ve done shooter drills ever since I can remember. So when it happens, I think I might be ready.” Not if but when. That’s when my heart completely broke. He’s absolutely certain it’s going to happen to him someday. What makes me even more physically ill than knowing my child lives with this on his mind almost all the time? That he’s probably not wrong.
Yes, Cielo Vista was ignorant hooligan shit. But the rest? They were not.
isn’t it enough now?
I’m not going to entertain a political debate or gun control argument. My orbit either knows or at least has a good idea where I stand. All I want to know is: WHEN IS IT ENOUGH?! ISN’T IT ENOUGH NOW? Why is the “big dog” response pearl clutching and “thoughts and prayers” and then that’s it? Silence. Why is their solution to this bulletproof backpacks and even more shooter drills? Why is “It could have been worse”? (Uvalde- I’m looking at you, toad faced troll Abbott.) Why is having our kids (all of us for that matter) live with the perpetual fear acceptable?
Until it’s time to vote, the only thing I have to offer is thoughts and prayers. But those who have the power to enact change now? You are failing who truly matters. And you are failing them MISERABLY. You’ve decided lining your pockets is worth more than safety. More than lives. What the powers that be don’t seem to understand is that they won’t be powers that be forever. The very young people they’ve failed for so long are coming into power too. Their voices are getting louder. And since they keep being failed time and time again, more voices are joining them. Louder and louder. More and more powerful. Because they HAVE had enough.
I can’t wait.
I don’t want my kid – ANY kid just waiting for a mass shooting to head their way. They should not be worrying about “when it happens”. This is not a childhood. They should be worrying about making the team, grades, dances. If the cafeteria is serving pizza or nuggets. Normal things. Of all the things I can’t promise him… I should be able promise him that he’s safe at school. Or getting groceries. Or in a food court at the mall. Normal things.
But I can’t.
Because all the news is terrible.