In what seems to be an all too often recurring theme, innocent lives were once again forefeit this weekend on American soil at the hands of domestic terrorism. Hatred was once again given a name and identity in the person of Wade Michael Page. As Page was killed in a gunfight with the police, we will never hear the story of what would possess him to enter a place of worship with guns blazing. However, having had some time to reflect on the incident now, I find myself asking the question, “Does it even matter why?”
Truth be told, I tried and failed to write this post yesterday. The last time I wrote on a serious topic was a mere 2 weeks ago following the Colorado theater shootings. I’d actually hoped for a longer reprieve than 2 weeks before the next mass shooting took place, but ain’t that America? When I wrote that post, I was filled with a lot of righteous anger. I didn’t think about what I was writing, I just wrote off of pure emotion and fury. This time however, when I tried to put my thoughts down on paper, I found that I didn’t have the same anger. Why is that? Is it because the people who were killed don’t look like me? Is it because the shootings happened inside a Sikh temple, and not a Christian church? As I started at the flashing cursor yesterday, I began to feel a lot of self-loathing. What the hell was wrong with me, that I shouldn’t be angry about what happened? What kind of person does that make me?
24 hours later, I’ve begun to realize the truth. I am angry. Furious even. Because those people that died don’t look like me, act like me, or believe what I believe. But the truth is, those people were living in the state in which I was born. Those people were living in a country that allows them to believe what they want to believe and say what they want to say. Those people were just like me. And now, because once again a maniac got himself a gun and started blowing people away for reasons that only he knows, those people will never get to do anything ever again. And so, I am angry. But more so than that, I’m tired.
Those who know me best know that in many regards, I am an intensely private person. I tend to hide that behind a suit of armor that’s comprised of jokes, sarcasm, and cynicism. Even beyond that, often times to avoid issues that I don’t want to think about or deal with, I tend to build up walls to hide behind. Walls that cannot be penetrated, and walls that prevent the bad things in this world from having an impact on me. Call it a defense mechanism; call it whatever you want to really. The point is, I’m tired of building walls. I’m tired of hiding. I’m tired of living in a world where the good things seemed to be outweighed by the bad. After the Colorado shootings, I posed the rhetorical question, “when will enough be enough?” The universe, in its infinite wisdom, seems to have answered that question simply by stating, “not yet.”
The truth is that without some radical change, this is going to keep happening. There will always be a psychotic son of a bitch with an agenda. In this case, the perpetrator was a former soldier who’d received a dishonorable discharge and had reported ties to white supremacist groups. I imagine the gun he used to murder people in a place of worship was acquired legally. Regardless, the how and why in this case are inconsequential. Once again, evil has personified itself in our society. Once again, we are left to mourn the fallen without having any answers. And once again, we are left with bloodstains that, without change, will never, ever be removed.
May the fallen find the peace in the afterlife that they were denied on Earth, and may their memories never fade. May their lives be celebrated by those who loved them, and may their deaths be paramount in the process that finally, finally stops the insanity in which we all exist.