But I can’t post a travel blog right now. I’m too sad, and I’m too angry about the latest in what seems to be a never-ending cascade of senseless violence in our country.
It is inexcusable to watch the same tragedy unfold, over and over, and to change nothing. Don’t try to tell me that arming teachers is the answer. Or that ‘hardening our schools’ will protect children and teachers. Or that posting armed guards at every school will help (because it doesn’t). Even if we do manage to barricade our schools, what about grocery stores, places of worship, movie theaters, shopping malls, nightclubs, subways, and all of the other public places where people gather?
I know that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” I know that mental illness and the popular culture that glorifies violence are huge issues. I know that there’s no realistic way to get rid of guns in our country. And I’m not advocating for that. But I’m angry that we don’t have legislation that requires adequate background checks, waiting periods, and age restrictions on gun sales. I’m angry that military-style assault weapons are readily available that make it all too easy to kill. I’m angry that our country is so politically divided that we can’t pass legislation for gun safety, even that which the majority of people agree upon.
Most of all, I am devastated looking at photos of those innocent children and teachers, and reading their stories. Don’t tell me not to dwell on it. We should all be dwelling on it. Don’t tell me that it’s a rare occurrence. It’s not rare enough.
When I was younger, I lived in Europe for a year. I came back to the U.S. because I was homesick for the beauty of our natural lands, and I was homesick for my people. Despite my love of adventure and travel, I felt like there was no place I would rather call home. But our country is turning into something that I no longer recognize.
In this time of turmoil and division, I’m hearing a few people saying that we can still turn this around; that we’ve been through times of great upheaval in the past, and that the darkest time comes before the light. I fervently hope that turns out to be true.