*&%# Thoughts and Prayers
Positive CJ Thoughts, Positive CJ thoughts, Positive CJ thoughts. I was bound and determined that after last weeks gut wrenching ache that poured from my fingers, I would find something positive to write about this week. After all, I call these musings PCT's, POSITIVE CJ THOUGHTS. Then Parkland Florida happened and everyone shouted from the Facebook virtual world and from our nation's Capitol steps, ….THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS!!! THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS!! (Oh and the President tweeting that the blame lay on the community for not reporting this kid enough times- wow, how very presidential of you..to hell with compassion.)
'Thoughts and Prayers'….I'm so sick of that phrase. It rings hollow when there are no lessons learned and no changes on the horizon to stop it from happening again. And it WILL happen again.
So, in an attempt to find something, I began to examine my own heart. For the life of me, as upbeat as I try to be, I couldn't focus on anything positive or uplifting. I NEED to find that because I generally am a positive person.
I just couldn't find it. How do we justify, rationalize and minimize this to the point that we are frozen in place to do ANYTHING? I hear the phrase 'lets not have a knee jerk reaction'. By my standards, the knee must belong to a sloth because we haven't done a damn thing…and more children die. One life is too many and yet, we just won't talk about it.
I offered up honest angst for the families of the dead and for the teachers and students who would never be able to return to the school where they should have been learning to read, to write, and to grow up to be responsible adults, not dodging bullets and trying to avoid being another statistical number we put on a chart.
Because I've spent almost 30 years as one, my heart also breaks for the First Responders that will relive everything they've seen over and over and over. Some will end up leaving the service as this will certainly be one of the most horrific things they've ever experienced. For some it will be so traumatic, they will consider suicide later from the feelings of inadequacy and helplessness. The gunman will take another life by his actions that day, though not with a bullet.
Six minutes…six minutes was all it took for one disturbed individual to pull the fire alarm and wait for his victims to file out so he could shoot them like fish in a barrel. 150 shots in SIX minutes. What do we do? If it is out of the question to keep these type of weapons out of the hands of those who would use them to do harm, what do we DO? Do we put armed veterans outside the door with their own AR-15's in defense? Do we arm the teachers with their own 9MM handgun? We can't seem fund the education system enough so that teachers don't have to use a portion of their salary to buy supplies and yet we are going to find money to arm the teachers? Do we put our children in bullet proof vests, make them pass through airport-like security to get an education? Do we build our schools out of bullet proof glass and line the fencing with concertina wire?
This wasn't a terrorist that would have been kept out of the country by a travel ban or a border wall. This was a HOME GROWN, LONE WOLF MENTALLY ILL PERSON with WHITE SUPREMACISTS LEANINGS---and access to a AR-15. Many of the recent mass murderers were born right her
Oh wait, you are going to tell me that it's not the gun's fault, that guns don't kill people, people do…with the freaking gun in their hands capable doing so. The assumption is correct, a gun, sitting on a table with no one around it is not going walk into a school and fire itself. It takes a FINGER ON THE TRIGGER. And by that argument...this also applies???
Then we get the argument, it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun... until the good guy snaps and becomes the bad guy with the gun.
REASONABLE. Apparently that word has no place in gun control discussions because immediately any discussion of reasonable measures, are a direct assault on the second amendment. That reasonable background checks to keep mentally disturbed people from being able to walk into any gun store, or a gun show and purchase a gun. With that gun they are now capable of mowing down 50 people at a concert, 20 elementary school children, 17 people at a high school, and so on and so on…knee jerk reaction my ass.
Last night, I helped my nephew put glow in the dark planets and stars on his bedroom ceiling. We played with an app on my phone and some cards I'd bought him that showed things about space in 3D. We put plastic bowls on our heads and carried Nerf guns as we played astronaut in his bedroom. We played Mouse Trap and again, I listened to him read about a zombie trying to fit in at human school.
I hugged him tight to say good night after he ran across the room and jumped up in my arms yelling 'cannonball'. THESE were the ONLY positive things I could come up with as I was writing this. The time he's spending as an innocent eight year old boy that loves adventure and farming. Today he dreams of being a race car driver, tomorrow he might decide to be a heavy equipment operator, or an engineer. He can be whatever he wants. His potential is only limited by his own imagination.
I want to see him do whatever he wants to do and help make sure he has the opportunity to do so. Given today's climate, a tragedy like Parkland could take that chance away. It makes me sick that because society values the right to own an inanimate object made of metal capable of great destruction more than they do his life, he might go to school some day and not come home.
Tonight, I'll go watch him play basketball in his school gym worried that in the crowd, someone likely owns an AR-15. Worried that someone in that crowd might be suffering from mental illness and might have access to that AR-15 or has a child that will decide they are pissed off takes the "good guys" AR-15 to school.
You know what I want? I want to know that when my niece and nephews get on the school bus, that the worse thing they have to worry about is if they will like what they are serving for lunch that day.
I want to know that every night they will come home to those who love them. That should be a reasonable expectation. Not even just a reasonable expectation, it SHOULD BE A GIVEN!
You know what else I am fairly confident of?
I have little doubt that tomorrow, or next week, month or year, we'll be watching this play out again. Like a horrible version of Ground Hog day. And just like all the times before, our leaders and casual observers will offer up ^&*$# thoughts and prayers while silently thinking about how thankful they are it's not them that has to pick up the pieces after we bury the dead.