"I felt so much, that I started to feel nothing."
Last night a gunman opened fire at a concert in Las Vegas, killing over 58 people and injuring over 515. When I woke up this morning, I looked at my phone and all I saw was breaking news alerts that said, "With more than 50 dead, the Last Vegas shooting is the deadliest in modern U.S. history."
I've gone through a lot of emotions today. The first thing that went through my mind? Nothing. Then I thought, how sad? When did I start to feel "numb" to tragic events like this? People's lives were just turned upside down. Mother's and fathers's lost their sons and daughters. The survivors, first respondents, the Las Vegas community - will NEVER be the same, and my first reaction was nothing. Then I got to work and started to feel shock. It wasn't until tonight, when I let myself watch an interview from a witness who was there, I let myself feel it. She described her experience and I couldn't hold back the tears. She mentioned there were children sitting on the shoulder's of their parents. CHILDREN. A woman was screaming she couldn't find her daughter. I can't freaking imagine how that felt. I don't EVER want to know how that feels. The witness described the scenes out of a terrible movie. Alone on my couch, I finally let myself feel the emotions my brain blocked all day. The numbness disappeared and the fear and incredible heartbreak for the victims and their families by another tragic gun shooting set in.
It's like a broken cycle. Something tragic like this happens. We take to our Instagram and Facebook feeds and post words like, "My heart goes out to the families and those affected by these tragic events." We get past the sadness and get mad. We start actively debating politics and gun control. People make powerful, heart wrenching speeches, about how they lost their child, mother, girlfriend, husband, friend to a mass shooting. You read articles, see satirical raw flow charts, COLD, RAW facts are presented...
AND NOTHING CHANGES!
Guns are an heated debate in America. I don't care who you are or what side you are on. There is NO REASON someone should have their hands on a military rifle unless you are in the Military. No-one should have 18 guns, explosives and thousands of rounds of ammo in their home. I DON'T CARE WHO YOU ARE. Yeah, yeah - second amendment, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." But here's the thing - it's not 1789. And people don't have to arm their homes with riffles from enemy militia. And the guns people used back then aren't the same as the guns we have today. If you are a person of sound, mind and body, and want to go through the correct background checks and are responsible with your guns at home, want to go hunting, etc. etc. - have at it. This message ISN'T FOR YOU. I don't want to take away your rights as a citizen. The simple fact is the more guns we have, the easier they are to access, and the more tragedies we will have in the future.
I saw this image today and it really struck me. Then I read further in the comments, about how there were over 750 gun shot deaths in Chicago last year. 750. deaths. in Chicago. last year. In 2016, gun violence caused 762 murders, 3,550 shooting incidents and 4,331 shooting victims. That is one of what happened today, every month - just in the city of Chicago. This issue is more than just what happened today. It's happening every day. In every state. All over the United States. How have we let it get this far? How have law makers not taken some kind of action yet? It's not time to take action. It's too late!
The best quote I saw today, "Let's stop acting like we don't know what's going on. We do. Let's stop simply praying. Let's start working. How many people must die? Hundreds more? Thousands? It's not political. It's logical. The founding fathers didn't imagine a world with automatic and semi-automatic weapons. They had muskets. We are the only developed nation in the world without sensible gun laws. It's time for sanity. Now." - Josh Gad
Another HUGE side of this problem that NO ONE EVER TALKS ABOUT: Mental Illness. Guess what - people of sound mind- don't kill other people. Funding for mental health programs, hospitals, and clinics continue to be cut because they don't make any money. There is a stigma around the term, "Mental Health" in our country. We've got to move beyond that and start talking about it. We need to have access to programs and resources to help those who need it. I am by no means the expert on this topic, but I work in health care and I hear about how this problem continues to grow on a daily basis. We can't ignore it.
I know I can't scratch the surface of how big these issues are here on my blog in a little opinion post. I just needed an outlet. Because Yes. I AM heartbroken. Yes. I AM praying for the victims and the families of those effected by today's events. Yes. I WILL look to God to give me and the people who are hurting strength. Yes, I WILL continue to put good out into the world and be kind. But I WILL ALSO be angry. I WILL also be fed up. I WILL NOT ignore we have a gun issue in this country. I WILL use my voice to talk about it. And I WILL hug my son extra tight tonight, kiss his cheek and continue to pray for a world where he NEVER has to know pain and worry like our country faced today.