I don’t know how you do it.
Maybe you’re faking it really well.
But it seems like lots of you are pulling it off.
Going about your day, acting like everything is okay.
I get it. I’ve only seen your social media. I’m sure you’re tweeting from your bed or updating Facebook from under your desk.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming you. I’ve been trying to do it too.
I went to therapy. We didn’t even talk about the shooting. In fact, we talked about all the personal progress I’ve been making. Happy times!
I listened to podcast driving into work. i laughed.
But I sit down and any time I stop to think, any time I try to push it out of my mind and get to work, there it is.
Someone walked into a church, opened fire, and reduced the population of a small town by 5%.
They say it was domestic violence, not terrorism.
They blame his mental illness.
Most of the mentally ill people I know, my self included, are more likely to hurt themselves than others.
I blame our easy access to military grade weapons.
But it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who we blame.
There will be no accountability.
There will be no sweeping change.
There will be no grand societal shift.
People will deflect from the issue of guns.
They will blame mental illness while defunding mental health.
They will blame domestic abuse while refusing to protect women.
Nothing will change.
We will have vigils and think pieces.
I wanted to write a think piece. I can’t. I wrote one three mass shootings ago.
Because we pretend this is okay.
Because we go back to work.
Because we don’t let these tragedies affect our productivity or our bottom lines.
Because we can’t miss that deadline. Because we have to make those widgets.
Because the show must go on.
Because this is normal.
That’s not okay.
Shame on me. Shame on us!
We should have all gotten up this morning and screamed at the top of our lungs:
THIS IS NOT NORMAL!!!!
We should have all called in to the office and said, “I can’t come in, I’m outraged!”
We should have taken a national day of “fuck this shit!”
This keeps happening because we don’t let it interrupt the flow of our day, we keep a stiff upper lip, we keep on truckin’.
There’s no room for grief, sorrow, or lament.
There’s no room for interruption of our regularly scheduled program, no room for deviation from our present course.
There have been more mass shootings in this year than there have been days.
I didn’t have time to get over Vegas.
We’ve let this become normal.
Through our numbness, through our apathy, through our hopelessness, we let this become normal.
Because we’re cried out, because of compassion fatigue, because it’s just all too much, we let this become normal.
Well, fuck that!
This can’t be our normal. It can’t be.
I work at a church. It doesn’t need to be my church for me to be outraged.
My kids go to a school. It doesn’t need to be their school for me to be outraged.
I go to concerts. It doesn’t have to be my kind of music for me to be outraged.
We’ve decided collectively that this is okay.
THIS IS NOT OKAY!
So close you computer screens.
Turn off your phones.
Go hug your kids and promise them they’ll be alright even though there’s no way you can ensure that.
Take time out to feel the fear, the anger, the sadness, the grief.
Make room for the big feelings that should accompany big tragedy.
Don’t bury your head in the sand.
Don’t do business as usual. Business as usual is what got us here.
Shed your tears, pound your desk, scream to the heavens,
“WHY GOD???!!!! HOW MUCH LONGER???”
Then, only after you have caused a bottleneck in the conveyor belt,
after you have missed the calls, after you have cried through the morning meeting,
then… only then…