I am a broken person. I feel like an alien on my own planet; I do not know how to fit into a world that is so perpetually filled with horror: suicide bombs and perpetual war, poverty and starvation, bigotry and greed, and the shootings, the endless string of mass shootings, random shootings, accidental shootings, the innocent dead filling morgues. I don’t know how to go on in such a world without being broken, without my already too fragile heart simply shattering.
And I am among the lucky, the privileged. I know that I am safe; my horror is always at least several steps removed from those that are intimately connected to the atrocity I merely see. But still I am not sure I can carry the weight of all that I do see. I am afraid for my children, not that they are not safe because they are lucky enough to have inherited my privilege, but simply because they are going to grow up in this world, come to see and understand what I know. I look at them and do not want them to ever understand and then weep because I know they must inevitably see this world as it is, that they too will likely break.
I do not understand how anyone can see this world and believe in a god of mercy and love. What god could create such a world or allow it to be like this? What greater plan could include such insanity? If there is some greater plan I want no part of it if it must be like this. I can see no justification for the unjust death that surrounds us, that daily mounts, yet is invariably surpassed with new horrors that leave us just trying to keep up rather than actually fixing a thing. I cannot see the value in a plan that involves children shot down, targeted even. I cannot see any purpose to a plan that leave people vulnerable because of the color of their skin. I cannot see sense in a plan that leads to those meant to protect us being slaughtered because of the actions of others, their bodies broken as a result of the manifold injustices that pervade our systems. I cannot believe in a god who could create souls with so little power for compassion, so incapable of seeing people as individuals rather than types, souls that instead seem infinitely skilled at malice.
I cannot believe in a nation that chooses powerlessness in the face of death, that refuses to devote itself to the more perfect union it once swore to become. I cannot believe in a nation that will not own up to its past, learn from history, and become something better. And I cannot believe in a nation that has given up. I have known countless people that astonish me, individuals of remarkable intellect and bottomless kindness, but it seems all too clear that this collective We that is humanity is capable of nothing more than hate.
I am broken. And I am tired. I am tired of the death, and I am tired of the guns. Nothing good ever comes of murder for that is what every shooting is. Every time I hear someone say, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” I want to weep. I feel just that more alien because I don’t understand a world in which that makes sense. Heroin doesn’t kill people… Cars don’t kill people… Toxins doesn’t kill people… Tanks, bombs, nuclear arms, nothing kills people… I cannot understand a world in which guns seem to hold higher privilege and greater rights than the lives they take; I cannot understand a world in which the shooting continues; I cannot understand a world that does not simply stop and weep and put aside everything else after each and every senseless death.
I do not want to live in a world of slaughter. I do not want to live in a world of bigotry, of hate, of cruelty, of willful ignorance, of pointless death. I do not want my children to inherit such a world. More than anything I do not want to live in a world where it is so easy to predict who is more likely to be a victim. For the death is all too predictable, but we seem unwilling to see the pattern. Ultimately that is what makes so little sense to me because I cannot but see those patterns. That is why I am broken, that is why I feel so alien, abandoned.
I am tired of arguing, tired of trying to make sense of it all, tired of selfish demands coming before the common good; perhaps it is selfish of me to want a better world, but I do not know how to stop wanting that. I am tired of thoughts and prayers, tired of vigils and support, tired of trying to heal…
I just want it to stop.