The other day, I ran across this headline in The Onion: “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.” Of course, the story is about a mass shooting. This story originally ran almost four years ago, but they repost it every time it’s appropriate. I feel like I see it at least once a week. Which means they don’t post it for every mass shooting that happens, only the big ones.
When I saw the headline, my first thought was, “Oh, crap, not another one.” It took me a minute to realize that there was no real feeling behind the thought. I feel terrible about that. What does that say about me that seventeen people can be killed at a Florida high school and my reaction is about the same as when my baseball team loses a regular season game? I think what it says is that mass shootings have become a normal part of life in America.
According to The Guardian, the Florida shooting was the eighth school shooting in the first seven weeks of this year. In other words, it’s a weekly occurrence. And according to Business Insider, there have been thirty mass shootings this year. That’s more than one every other day. That’s just crazy.
I think there are two reasons for my lack of feeling. One is that I just don’t have the emotional capacity to grieve a few times a week. I’m not sure anybody does. The other is a sense of hopelessness. While the solutions are really pretty easy and obvious (adopt the same sorts of gun laws as every civilized nation on Earth), with this administration and this congress and this judiciary, there is absolutely no chance that any solutions are implemented. I just don’t have the energy to get all worked up about something that will never happen.
As I said, I feel terrible about this. I really wish I could feel more. I really wish I weren’t so hopeless. I wish someone could give me a reason for optimism. Optimism feels a lot better than cynicism. But until someone can do that, I’m stuck thinking that The Onion’s article isn’t a joke. There really is nothing that can be done in the only nation where mass shootings have become an almost every day occurrence.