I don’t like Mondays
There was a school shooting in Ohio today. One seventeen-year-old kid is dead. Four students are in the hospital with gunshot wounds. One kid is in custody for the shooting. And about 1,100 more Americans now know that sick feeling of being trapped in a building with an armed crazy person bent on murder. That’s just the kids who were at the school. I’m not even talking about the helpless, nauseated feeling their parents must have endured.
I know a little something about how the uninjured kids at that school felt today. Many years ago, an angry nut case walked into an office building where I was working and opened fire, killing three and wounding two more. I know what it’s like to hunker down in your “safe place,” the minutes crawling by while police conduct a room-to-room search for a madman. You whisper nervously with your scared-shitless colleagues about who is missing, who might be dead. You contemplate pissing in a trashcan because you’re afraid to leave the locked room you’re in. You watch that locked door with your heart in your throat, hoping you don’t see the handle turning or, worse yet, bullets flying through the flimsy wooden barrier.
And you know what? That kind of experience is just not so rare anymore. I bet at least a couple of you could recount similar incidents.
Tonight on the news, the usual talking heads will say the usual things, but there will be less coverage about the shooting in Ohio today since the body count must be in the double digits now to dominate a news cycle. The usual assholes will make the usual boneheaded argument about arming teachers, and the truly, deeply stupid may even suggest arming students. And we’ll forget until the next time, even those who have been there and seen that.
But the kids who were at that school today won’t forget, not for awhile anyway. I used to get angry about it. I used to wonder what kind of national psychosis could lead us to believe it’s perfectly okay to be ass-deep in unsecured weaponry and tolerate gun homicide rates that are 15-20 times higher than those of the rest of the so-called civilized world.
Oh sure, every now and then some European dude goes off his nut and commits mass murder. Pam Geller’s Norwegian fan-boy, Anders Behring Breivik, pulled off mass murder on a scale that no-doubt made our homegrown white supremacists pea-green with envy (with a little assist from US ammo clip mail order outfits).
But I don’t get angry about it anymore. Gun don’t kill people; assholes with guns kill people. The NRA won a long time ago, and this is just how it has to be. So welcome to the club, kids. It’s not so exclusive anymore.
[X-POSTED at Balloon Juice]