We are traumatizing ourselves. As long as guns are easily accessible, there will be no change – not after the latest school shooting or the next or the next after that.
I have never touched a weapon, not even skeet shooting – despite living in the United States, notoriously obsessed with the principle of the right to bear arms.
Yet they are always present in the back of my mind, guns. When I’m at the movies, I check the room to see where the nearest exit is and remind the children to play dead and throw themselves on the floor if something happens. When I toured my son´s new school last week, one of my questions was how they made sure outsiders did not have access to the building.
When we moved to the USA, my children were six months and two years old respectively. We regularly passed fenced in schools, reminiscent of barbed wire at borders and prisons buildings. We were very clear on the fact that our children would never go to a school that looked like that.
But something happens when you become part of a society where guns in the public sphere is the norm. Earthquake exercises, exercises on what the students should do if there is a bear in the area, and exercises on an “active shooter” at school becomes part of the children’s everyday life. My kids and American kids starting in Kindergarten know exactly where to position themselves in a classroom to avoid getting hit if there is an active shooter at their school.
“I am nine!” reads a sign, a child is holding. A group is protesting after the latest school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, where three children aged nine and three adults lost their lives. Since I moved to the US, there have been more than 400 school shootings. “We’re traumatizing ourselves as a nation,” someone said on NPR the other day. Over and over we hear the phrase “thoughts and prayers.” They will not help. Common sense politics have been cast to the side, despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of the population is in favor of restrictions on access to fully automatic firearms.
Still, nothing happens. Money and politics have never been a good cocktail. The fact that the craziest barrels rumble the most has not proven to be good for the country either.
Yesterday in our local park I met an elderly lady. She looked after her sister’s grandchildren. Her own children had no intention of bringing children into the world. The conversation touched on the school shooting at the Catholic private school this week. As a kid, she had attended a Catholic private school, as had her children. She was angry – and she felt hopeless. The attitude of giving up has set in, people don’t understand that this is where we are – and they don’t know what to do to change it.
One in four weapons produced is a semi-automatic weapon – i.e. the ones we see in school shootings, which can fire 30 shots and range 400m. With such a weapon, you don’t have to “waste” time reloading your weapon, but can mow down one elementary school class after another.
As long as there is virtually free access to guns, we will see school shootings – and experience children and adults with lasting trauma. The trauma has spread to the whole country, regardless of whether you are directly affected or “just” hear about the shootings on the news. The heartbreaking thing is that it doesn’t have to be this way. In the United States, the leading cause of death among children and youth is now gun violence. Every single day a mass shooting takes place. Gun violence is part of very young children’s everyday life. A five-year-old shoots his one-year-old brother, a three-year-old shoots himself when he finds a gun on his parents’ bedside table, a person goes berserk in one school shooting after another, teenagers with hurt feelings and crushes shoot each other, the list goes on and on in a country, that have more guns than inhabitants. It does not require a lot of brain power to see the similarity between access to guns and the catastrophic consequences on our souls and bodies.
Is it really that identity we want to pass down and normalize?
All Americans can do is to vote and hope for political change. But as long as access to guns easily accessible, change will not happen. Not after this school shooting or the next or the next after that. Meanwhile, the population sinks further into hopelessness, fear and hatred.
Bosat i USA: Masseskyderier er en del af hverdagen – her hjælper hverken ”thoughts” eller ”prayers”
USA traumatiserer sig selv. Så længe adgangen til våben er, som den er, sker forandringerne hverken efter dette skoleskyderi eller det næste eller det næste igen.
One thought on “When Mass shootings is a part of everyday life we need more than “thoughts and prayers””
Thank you for discussing this important topic, bringing light to the matter, and awakening hearts and minds to be more aware and reflective. Let us continue to pray, collaborate and strategize how we can collectively heal our nation and stop the violence. I’ve written the following books to help – BREAKTHROUGH FOR A BROKEN HEART, HATERS, RACISM, MURDER, OIL FOR THE TINMAN, PATIENCE. I welcome interview and speaking opportunities to work together to improve our nation. ~ Paul at https://PaulFDavis.com/