Something is seriously wrong

As more information emerges from the Uvalde, Texas shooting on Tuesday, my sadness deepens. What is wrong with us? Like many of you, I keep thinking, “how could something like this happen?” How can someone buy an automatic weapon (yes, it was an automatic weapon) so easily? Again, what is wrong with us? I feel sick to my stomach as I scroll through Instagram seeing pictures from friends and family of their happy children knowing that the families of those who lost their loved ones at Robb Elementary school are experiencing unimaginable grief. Maybe those who I follow feel the urgent need to post pictures of their children out of necessity because they still can. But all I see are the faces of those who experienced a horrific and terrifying death. They were trapped in that room for an hour. How do the children who survived recover from an experience like this, with their childhood stolen and their minds broken?

This is not a mental health issue. The issue is the fact that any individual can have access to weapons that can cause this much damage in a short period of time. That is the issue. Our own trained police and military can’t even act or think perfectly when dealing with situations that require using guns so how are we to expect average American citizens to use their guns responsibility? We are the ones who are sick and insane for continuing to get used to the recurrence of these events. I don’t think anyone in America is unaffected by gun violence. We all have personal experience or know of someone close who has negatively been impacted by guns.  Then why do we keep things the way they are?

I am currently studying mental health and the number of problems that are out there is overwhelming. No number of resources or programs or counselors are going to be able to stop these incidents of trauma so stop using mental health as an excuse. Eliminating gun ownership will. It is the best action to pursue.

But do we really care about our children? Ever since we stepped foot on this land 500 years ago, we have demonstrated repeatedly how we have not cared about the lives of children. We didn’t care about enslaved children, or indigenous children, Mexican children, Asian children, or Catholic children. So, what children do we care about? I think things became very clear in 2016 that American children are not priority when half our country voted for Trump. I can still vividly remember watching one of the debates and Hilary Clinton talking about her passion for women and children. For the first time ever, I felt like a presidential candidate was talking to me. I thought, surely America cares about these issues and will choose to focus on those who are most needy in our country. But no, I was wrong.

I have always viewed guns as a weak man’s source of power to hide how inadequate they must be on the inside, for early on in my life I witnessed how they were used to enforce abuse. For instance, the fear I experienced when I was young being woken up at night with the neighbors’ kids in our house on account of their father holding their mother at gun point in their own home. Having to comfort them and provide them with safety as their father shot at the police not knowing how things were going to unfold. Or the several friends after high school who decided to end their lives quickly and tragically by using a gun that was available in their home. Or more recently, the fear that my family experienced when my sister and brother-in-law went to celebrate their 10-year anniversary in Las Vegas but to only end up being contained in a shelter over night during the music festival massacre that left 61 dead and wounded hundreds (some sources say around 800 were injured). The shooter had 24 guns at his disposal. How is that even possible? This is why people in other countries look upon us in disbelief.

Are Americans aware of the fact that there are many, many other countries that don’t deal with tragedy like we do? They don’t have to worry about schools, or supermarkets, or movie theaters, or churches, or festivals, or public transportation as places that are unsafe, especially for their children. Which means that something is seriously wrong with us. There is a part of us that is not whole and maybe it is the acts that our ancestors committed in our country that continues to be passed down through us. We have the resources available and the capacity to make things better and yet we refuse. We have grown used to mourning or use other forms of distraction to keep us in places of denial that something like what happened at Robb Elementary School would never happen to our children. If you do nothing, then you are wrong. Experience has revealed how something like this can happen anywhere.

I can’t help but think about Jesus and how he gathered children to himself and declared that the kingdom of heaven was theirs. I think he knew that children’s needs are often thought of last. I am still waiting for the kingdom to become theirs here and now. We don’t need moments of silence. We need a reorientation of what it means to be human.

Today has been a reminder of all the hate and guilt I experienced as a child when I learned my nation’s history. I am not anti-American for there is much that I am grateful for, but I am anti-suffering when it can be avoided, and we continue to make people suffer. Children are our hope and our future, yet the way our gun laws remain will only continue to get them killed or to kill. Ramos just turned 18. From a psychological standpoint, he was still a child.

As Christians, maybe for too long we have identified to closely with Mary the mother of Jesus. She watched her own son as an innocent person be brutally murdered with no one to intervene on his behalf. I don’t want to identify with her anymore if it continues to keep me from action. Christians for so long have enshrined her with a special place but maybe during these difficult times we need a different example to follow.  We need examples of change, hope, and concern for the well-being of our children.

3 thoughts on “Something is seriously wrong

  1. Well said! In this tragedy, like too many others like this, I have not the ability to express the pain, anger and shame at those who can make the changes -choose not to do anything effective. You choose what you don’t change.

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  2. Many are at a loss how we as Christians do so much for the unborn yet won’t bust a grape for the slaughter of children after birth. Gun violence is #1 cause of childhood death. HE expects more than just ‘Thoughts and prayers’. Wake up familia.

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