When Is It Enough?

Paul & Steve

I first met Paul Buschbacher at the local blues jam. The initial impression was his comfort with the guitar. It looked like an extension of his arm… “a natural.” I’m certain he could have chosen any idiom, but “blues” was his calling. When my friend Steve was with his son on stage, it was always a joyful noise. They never used a set list. “Play this” said Paul, and they were off.

Love is eternal.

Steve sends a message:

Have any of you lost a child? I did. I lost my first born 11 years ago. He was an adult when he passed. After all this time, the pain is still almost unbearable.

At the time, once I was over the shock, I became aware of an emptiness that took over. I was devoid of any feeling. My actions were mechanical at best. Maybe it was my coping mechanism. I don’t know, I’m not a psychiatrist. I’m a musician.

Gradually, my life began to fill up again. I returned to activities from before. I was returning to my life … except …. for the last 11 years, there has always been a hole in my life. There is always one puzzle piece that is missing. My brightest blue sky has one cloud. Nothing is ever the same. Nothing can ever be the same.

One school shooting after another has happened until it becomes almost common place. Parents send their kids off to school only to join the ranks of those of us who lost a child. Our children are lost before they ever achieve the greatness we were sure they had in them. The children we lost will never realize their dreams.

Why does this happen? A lone gunman, with an axe to grind, a score to settle, or a sick desire to inflict mayhem and pain can take away our children in a heartbeat. They can turn a music concert into mass murder.

What will happen in Washington? Nothing. Not a damn thing. Oh, some will wring their hands and offer “thoughts and prayers”. How much consolation is that to a parent who just lost a child to gun violence? Will Congress do anything? Over the last 6 years, has Congress done anything?? We know the answer. They haven’t done one thing to stem the tide. When something as common sense as background checks was brought up, Republicans filibustered it to death. It wasn’t like they were trying to take someone’s guns away from them, the idea was to stop bad people from getting guns and hurting others with them.

They parade the Second Amendment around like it is the only constitutional amendment that really matters. Any kind of restrictions will be made to seem like a direct violation of their right to own a killing machine.  Even President (Agent Orange? What’s Agent Orange?) Reagan favored an assault weapons ban. This is one of the patron saints of the Republicans but, did you ever notice how not even one Republican ever brings that up? Republicans these days do not have the courage to have their own points of view. They do as their told and they are handsomely rewarded for it.

How many more parents will have to feel the pain of burying their child? How many more times will Congress offer “thoughts and prayers” and then go deposit the campaign contribution that they just earned?

Today is February 14, 2018. 17 families are now feeling what I feel. It is avoidable. It is preventable. And it makes me damn mad.


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