by Steve Buschbacher
Just about a year ago, in the wake of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting, I wrote a very personal piece drawing parallels between the feelings I had on losing my first born to those feelings that the parents of the murdered students were experiencing.
I wanted to take that tragedy and provide an insight into the profound sense of utter loss that comes with the death of a child. I wanted everyone to see that lives are forever affected even after the story ceases to be the lead on the nightly news.
During the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter, Jamie, was killed in the shooting, attempted to shake the judge’s hand and initiate a conversation with him about circumstances surrounding the murder of his daughter. Kavanaugh stared blankly at him for a second and then turned his back and walked away. This was not just a well-intentioned protestor, this was a father enduring grief most of you will never know. I felt that pain and I felt anger.
Since Parkland, there have been 350 mass shootings in the United States. Just about one per day. So tell me, regarding the “thoughts and prayers” that were offered up with phony solemnity after massacres hit the news, how much good did they do? With 350 mass shootings since, I suggest that they haven’t done squat. Background checks … a ban on assault-style weapons … a limit on the size of magazines. All of these are good ideas. “Thoughts and prayers” are easier, however, and they don’t cost donations from the N.R.A. Why, the very word “prayers” makes you seem religious to some.
I have heard it said, when we didn’t instantly tighten up gun laws after Sandy Hook, that our national conscience now accepted school shootings. If we weren’t outraged at the murders of six and seven year old children, then we were setting the table for Parkland. Hell, we were sending it a formal invitation.
11 people were killed and 7 injured at a shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Thoughts and prayers were offered again while the nation watched in horror, And then, in a few days, another shooting took its place so we did not have time to dwell on those people whose day of worship would turn into the last day of their lives. We have become desensitized to mass murder by the inhuman frequency with which it occurs.
Is this where we are now? Our children are at risk of a maladjusted teen with a grudge and access to a means to kill quickly? Hate groups convince their followers that a definitive action must be taken and so it is no longer safe to attend a house of worship.? Are people like us are at risk when we go to a club for music or when we attend an outdoor music festival? 350 mass shootings in 12 months and some people think a border wall is going to keep us safe?
What have we done? Nothing. Not a damn thing except, of course, to offer “thoughts and prayers”.
A year ago, I asked the question, “When is it enough?”
Is it enough yet??