I remember existing in a split state, the weeks after my Dad died, walking around nodding and smiling and making words with my mouth, yet the entire time feeling completely unmoored. There was a sense of unreality to my days, like I was only pretending at something.
This week has been like that.
It has been a truly terrible week.
The details of the Texas shooting are beyond comprehension. The complete and utter devastation of those families…I have no words, only tears, and a growing feeling of hopelessness. Of course this happened again. We knew it would.
We knew this would happen again because the data is clear. The data has been clear now for years: School shootings happen this often only in the US. Of all of the developed countries in the world, we alone have this problem. Other countries have found ways to fix these issues (and this set of charts from Vox is the best compilation I’ve found). Yet the overwhelming amount of data continues to be ignored by Republicans – both the lawmakers, who repeatedly and consistently block all attempts to develop common sense laws on gun ownership and safety, and the Republican base, of which only 44% support common sense gun laws.
And now fourth grade children have paid the price of this Republican inaction.
“There were 911 calls from inside that classroom,” Mike said, his face pale. “From children. That strikes me,” he added, quietly, “as a very brave act.”
As that 4th grade girl called 911 over and over, alternatively lying on top of her dead friend so the shooter would think she, too, was dead, there were up to 19 police officers waiting outside in the hallway.
So much for the Republicans’ “good guys with guns” theory. When 19 police officers, fully armed and trained, cannot quickly confront a single person wielding an assault rifle, and instead, wait in the hallway – for keys, for backup – while children are being shot…it seems pretty fucking clear that common sense gun laws are needed.
My disgust is only overshadowed by my rage.
And frankly, I can barely contain it. I started to call my Senator (a Republican), but the first words that came to mind were, “you motherfucking useless piece of shit,” so I put the phone down.
I read somewhere that three days is the amount of time, after a school shooting, that most people return to business as usual. I mention this because Republican lawmakers count on this fact – they make their noises about “strengthening schools” and “good guys with guns” – the same noises they’re been making for decades, trotting out the same old, ineffective ideas, waiting for our collective rage to die down so they can return to business as usual.
We desperately cannot return to business as usual.
Personally, I’m going to take the weekend. Life has been moving at warp speed, and I need to recharge with my family. I need to hold my guys close, and hear them laugh and chatter and argue and fill up my empty, hopeless parts with their impossibly beautiful existence.
And then, next week, I’ll start the work.
If you are in a better head space than I am (and omg I hope someone is), Glennon Doyle is working with Mom’s Demand’s Shannon Watts on how to turn this thing around.
Gang, I don’t have my usual fun links in me right now. If you need a distraction (and I get it), we’ve been working on a page for Memorial Day Sales. It has our top picks by category (dresses, jeans, etc.), as well as all of our articles on the topic, including some try-ons.
If you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by those you love this weekend, give them a squeeze.