Tired

 

I’m tired, boss…mostly, I’m tired of people bein’ ugly to each other.

John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), “The Green Mile”, 1999

 

I’m tired, too, John.

By now, I’m flat wore out, as we say around here.

Lately, as you know, people are being ugly to each other in all kinds of ways, and I’m plenty tired of all of it, but especially…

I’m tired of people taking it upon themselves to go and shoot several other people, for any reason or for none at all.

You can’t go to church, you can’t go to the grocery store, you can’t go to a bar, you can’t go to school, you can’t f****ng go anywhere that there isn’t the possibility of getting shot to death.

The American flag may as well be flown at half mast from now on.

And the sadness of that is absolutely overwhelming.

This is how bad it’s gotten: One of the survivors from this week’s shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, was also in Las Vegas, Nevada a year ago, when that shooting occurred.

But another survivor of the Vegas shooting was killed this week in Thousand Oaks.

When people are present at more than one mass murder event…

The really cynical among us probably wonder what these gunmen have against country music, around which both these events centered.

The rest of us know it’s no laughing matter at all.

 

All these people. All these precious, beautiful, innocent people. Attending their classes. Worshipping their god. Enjoying a night out with friends.

Unaware.

Then, in the blink of an eye…

Utterly incomprehensible, unspeakable tragedy. My God, the tragedy.

I’m not gonna trot out all the gun violence statistics we probably could all recite by now. I’m not gonna bring up the gun owners and their Second Amendment rights. I’m not gonna rage against our government’s continued impotence over this crisis as the body count just keeps going up. I’m not gonna point out how the phrase “thoughts and prayers” is, by now, as empty and hollow as the barrel of a spent gun.

Because I’m tired.

I’m not numb to it, mind you. I haven’t quit caring about it; not at all.

I’m just…tired. Physically, mentally, emotionally tired.

First, the horror, then the sorrow, then the anger and frustration. Over and over and over. It wears you down, I tell you.

John Coffey, I’m right there with you, brother.

 

Thoughts and Prayers…Then What?

 

Dear Las Vegas,

I can’t tell you how deeply sorry I am, how much my heart hurts, how horrified I am, at what happened Sunday night at a country music festival on the Strip.

At how some nitwit 32 floors up in a hotel room opened fire on the crowd, killing, at last count, 50 people and wounding over 400 others, making this the largest mass murder in recent American history.

At how what should have been a night of fun, music and camaraderie turned, just like that, into a real live, real-time nightmare.

I can’t begin to imagine how chaotic, unnerving, terrifying and ultimately senseless the whole scene was as it unfolded. People knew they were in danger, but had no idea where to run, as this monster continued his all-out assault, motivated by who knows what.

It’s heartbreaking. It’s sickening. Unfortunately, though, it’s not especially shocking.

It’s simply our modern-day culture. Somebody kills a bunch of innocent people. Again.

 

We all know what happens now.

“Thoughts and prayers” come in from well-meaning people around the world. Which is entirely appropriate. After a tragedy such as this, many of us feel too helpless to do anything other than let the victims know we care, but that’s important for them to know.

Then, the gun control advocates and the National Rifle Association and its acolytes have a shouting match over what the proper response should be. About all I’m saying about that is, “Guns don’t kill people; people do.”, definitely ranks in my Top Three for single most asinine statement I’ve ever heard in my life.

Then, ultimately, nothing changes, the story becomes old news in our 24/7 news culture, and things go on as before, until the next mass shooting.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Somebody, please, prove me wrong. I would love for someone to break this cycle, and soon.

I know you’re hurting really bad, Las Vegas. I wish you comfort, healing and strength.

And one other thing. To those of you whose compassion and courage moved you to rush to the aid of victims before the first responders could reach them: you were, by far, the brightest lights on the Strip last night.