Yesterday, 14 people were killed and 17 wounded in a shooting at an office in San Bernardino. Just the other week, five people were shot at the Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My friend Aja said that this year there’s been more mass shootings than days in the year. I didn’t fact check those numbers but even if we haven’t reached a full 365 mass shootings this year in America, we might as well have because it sure as hell feels like it. The attacks on Paris were just three weeks ago and we’ve already had a couple more tragic shootings.
It’s not just “over there” anymore. That sounds bitter and awful but that’s how it sort of felt before. I was only 8 years old when 9/11 happened. I grew up in a much more vulnerable America than my parents did. I’d love to sit down an analyze the history of this country and think about my own place in this much larger narrative but all of the analysis in the world doesn’t feel like it comes to anything. I woke this morning ready to enjoy my day off from work and make some stupid fart jokes on my blog until I saw The Boston Globe on my kitchen counter: “14 Dead in California Shooting”. It’s just so fucking sad. I don’t want to wallow in these tragedies or front and act desensitized to it and try to intellectualize these shootings. I don’t feel like either of these extremes really leads to much good.
I don’t want to sound like a little bitch but it’s a day ruiner. It makes me sad. It’s every single day in this country that somebody gets shot. More Americans have been killed in Chicago than in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since 2001. What the fuck are you even supposed to do these days? My friends and family warn me that joining the army would be too dangerous. I honestly think that it’d be safer than going off to work or school every day. I’d feel much safer on the base than I would on campus or in an American high school.
What’s worse is that I couldn’t help thinking to myself after I heard the news about California was, “what the fuck country is this?” Is this the United States in 2015? Or is this Northern Ireland in the 1970’s? Is it that much of a stretch to say that I wouldn’t feel 100% safe all of the time just going to work or walking down the street? I’m sure as fuck never going anywhere near a high school if I can help it. I’ve said it a billion times before but I’ve been near drug deals that felt safer than sitting in AP Chem.
I have no idea what the solution to this problem is. I don’t want to get heated about it but somebody please take our guns from us. This experiment needs to be declared over. This is a failed experiment that we have going on here. The conclusion is that the common man does not need to be armed to the teeth. It’s easier to get a gun in Chicago than it is to get a bag of chips. More people have died in the LA gang wars (since the 1950’s) than in the entire struggle for Irish independence (1900ish-present).
After the Marathon Bombing in Boston, I’ve felt like something inside of my has broken. I don’t know if it’s a trust-related issue or not. I don’t feel less optimistic about life or other people but I definitely no longer feel safe. Some people say that that seems like being a bit too dramatic but that’s the way that I feel and I don’t think that I’m alone in that. I don’t feel safe living in America. And what’s more is that I don’t feel comfortable posting stupid shit on my own blog when this is going on everywhere.
Posting fart jokes and other nonsense feels kind of insensitive and tone-deaf; and in a way it feels irresponsible. I’m not going to just ignore these shootings. There’s been three mass shootings in the last week alone that I’m aware of. There were probably more than that and I’m just not as well informed as I’d like to be. But I can’t help but feel some weird guilt about being some kind of self-satisfied jester who’s got access to the internet.
I think maybe it’s just hard to feel good about anything these days.