Everyday my kids go to school and we don’t know if they’ll come home. Because that’s who we all are. That’s what we allow and enable and vote for and avoid uncomfortable conversations about.
My 12-year-old son said to me one morning sometime during this school year, “You guys tell me goodbye like you’re never going to see me again.”
He rides his bike to school everyday. And every morning, I walk out to the garage with him, give him a hug, tell him I love him and wish him a good day. I don’t do it with a specific daily fear that he will get caught up in a school shooting, so much as a father’s love being sent with his son wherever he goes. Still …
When he said that, how could I not think, “We might not!!” Because that’s who we all are, and it’s where and how we all live. We’ve accepted it as a nation, as the only so-called developed nation on Earth that chooses to live this way.
But the fact is, because this is who and how we are, it’s as likely that I will go to the grocery store or bank or library one day (you know that one’s coming soon, what with all the violent fear that some people harbor against books and words and ideas and freedom of thought) and not return.
Better me than my sons? I’d die for them at any time, but I’d hate for them to live with the horrific pain of such an incomprehensible void in their lives. Who are we – who the fuck are we?! – to choose living as if such thoughts and probabilities ought to even be considered acceptable in a supposedly evolved society?
Unfortunately, as a parent, American, and human, I can’t escape this head and heart space right now. And well, … good. Let’s live here for now and feel it. Why should any of us turn away, though plenty of people do? The problems won’t be solved until we all feel this pain – or until there’s no one left to pointlessly kill.
As a thinker, feeler and creator, I’m wading my way into some creative projects that I hope will help me to process and speak to this unconscionable bullshit. Fucking unconscionable. Bullshit.
I’m having to wade into the intellectual and political cesspool of ignorance, fear-based patriotism and masculinity, the gun industry, and unnecessary and preventable gun violence to do it.
And I’m angry. And I’m tired of holding my tongue, of being easy. Join me, won’t you? Or nothing will change.
Here’s “Thoughts & Prayers.”