Trying Not to Look Away

Photo by Maria Lysenko on Unsplash

My good friend and partner, Jamil, wrote a piece for The Hartford Times called Don’t Look Away. It’s about how the horror of Sandy Hook was followed by a long period of numbness caused by exhaustion from the sheer number of preventable tragedies that happen in this country. Uvalde, however, has snapped him out of the numbness. It is tempting to let the numbness return, but instead he’s going to do what he can to try to fix things.

I admire Jamil for this. I, too, have become numb to gun violence over the past ten years. There are moments when I notice and feel some dread and horror. The Newtown school shooting, because of the age of the kids and its nearness to home, affected me deeply for a few weeks. I know how shallow and calloused that sounds. Only a few weeks for 26 lives? They deserve so much more from me, from all of us. I wish I could give a good reason for sliding back into numbness, some principle or idea that supports it. Really it was self-preservation. The pain was too much, so I chose to ignore it and other tragedies like it.

Until I read Jamil’s piece, I had mostly been ignoring the Buffalo supermarket massacre and the slaughter in Uvalde. After reading it, I felt ashamed, in a good way, for ignoring them. I say “in a good way” because the shame helped wake me up. I want to do something. Unfortunately, I also feel helpless. I’m not sure what I can do. I mean, I can support politicians who agree that this has to stop. But that won’t be anything new and the politicians have proven mostly ineffective. If I ever have some spare cash, I can donate it to a gun control charity. Given my finances, that feels more like a gesture than an action, though.

One thing I do have is this platform. It’s not huge, but some people read it. I realized though that Nutmegger doesn’t have to be just me and Jamil. We can be facilitators. We can give a voice to or amplify a voice for those who need it. Anyone who feels passionately about gun control or related topics but feels like they’re screaming into the void, get in touch. Send a message or drop a comment. If we like what you have to say, you can write something and we’ll post it here. That’s doing something, right?

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