Our daily bread: A new massacre, an image that strikes, sells; terrified children running and leaving their schools hands up, parents crying, beautiful pictures of youngsters dreaming of their future, photos that will fade in time and in our minds, but never in the minds of their parents. Cries of parents calling for action; cries that will be carried away by the wind, and which in the next massacre will seem familiar, a news already heard, a scream already heard but do not remember where, do not remember a name except for the generic massacre.
Tears and emotions that we cannot start naming, so familiar have they become!
Our daily bread: empty words: “The whole country is with you”. It may be true in the short run, in the very short memory, because it is better to forget. You cannot live with so much pain, with so much fear, with the feeling that we did nothing, that I did nothing, except to write a few words that the wind will blow away.
Politicians and authorities will wear their most serious look, some will even cry out “something must be done, this cannot happen again,” before returning to their lairs without daring to give a straight answer because the answer is obvious, but it costs them dearly. It costs them dearly in votes, in money given to their campaigns by the Merchants of death.
Some will say, it’s about the mental health of North America. True, we live times of madness and madness must be treated. I know, there is no disease, and madness does not define each case of violence but saying that we live times of madness gives us a clear prognosis of our society.
Others will say: “if anyone wants to do it, nothing can be done to prevent it, he will find ways to carry out his plans. And satisfied with this justification, they will receive another millionaire contribution to their next campaigns thinking in secret, I was successfully able to serve both God and the devil, the voters and the Merchants of death. I’ll be reelected.
The President proposed to arm teachers, with assault rifles, of course, if we want them to have the same weapons as the aggressors. Colleges and universities would have to take similar measures to ensure the safety of their students, supermarkets would have to arm their cashiers for the safety of their customers, and so on. And little by little, step by step we would start building the paradise of arms dealers: a country, a people, in arms killing each other to feel safe.
The country will be moved, and more than one indiscreet tear will roll down our cheek. We will exchange a few words of indignation with our neighbor. “How is that possible,” we will say, without daring to comment on how and why this is possible. How and why this has become our daily bread.
Empty words: “Never again! You are not alone! Our thoughts and prayers are with you!” A week later we will be thinking about something else, life goes on, and whatever does not hit us directly fades away and our prayers will take another course.
Those who hide behind ambiguous statements will wait and beg for the storm to pass before the upcoming elections and will cry out to heaven that it is a fundamental right, that weapons do not kill, that it is men who kill, forgetting to add that it is men with assault weapons, with weapons of war, of mass destruction who kill.
We’ll ask for a solution, and they’ll offer us, if we’re lucky, to increase control over guns–and here I am dreaming– to wait four days instead of three to check the buyer’s background, to limit the number of weapons an individual can purchase: three, four, five –how many are needed for a massacre?–, to increase the age when children can have access weapons, since they are children playing war, a game that is no longer a game, a game that gives the shooter absolute power, the power of life and death at 18 years old, or at 21 I can decide the fate of others, at 21 I can express my anger, my frustrations, my resentment since I cannot express myself in another way. And we are not counting here the massacres unleashed by adults, adults who do not have the limitation of age, adults playing war, sick adults venting their anger, their resentment. And each bullet penetrating a stranger body represents a discourse addressed to us and to those responsible for leading the country.
The latter will turn a blind eye. We, we will wait for our daily bread and when seeing the images of terrified children coming out of a school or a college their hands up we will try to remember: I have seen these images before. I do not remember when or where, I do not remember the number of victims, I vaguely remember tears, cries of pain, the call for an action of another mother, another parent, another brother, I do not remember a single name of any of the victims. And in the morning, I will leave home for work, and my neighbor and I will look at each other in disbelief while saying “how is this possible!”
Statistics are assaulting us. According to the Gun Violence Archive, in 2017, there were 545 children under the age of 11, and 2433 children between the age of 12 and 17 years old either dead or injured, the horror! If we add up the adults, in 2017 there were a total of 11,652 dead and 23,516 injured. But statistics are just numbers, they have no face, no name and are easier to ignore or forget.
And for a week, when sending their kids to school, to college, parents will worry wondering if they will return home alive or if on that day, they’ll have to go to a parking lot near the school to wait for the list of dead, the list of wounded; though to tell the truth no one will return home unharmed.
Take the weapons of war out of the market, they have no place in a civil society. The Merchants of death will cry out to heaven their right to sell death until the day they are the parents at a parking lot waiting for news and waiting, waiting, praying in silence, that the name of their daughter, of their son, is not in the list. #neveragain
“Pensar es como vivir dos veces.” - Cicerón