I don’t have a lot in me right now; the shooting at Arapahoe High School has wiped me out. I wasn’t there, it wasn’t my school, but it is my state, and it is another exhausting instance in a long line of waste.
The terms were familiar. I remembered the drills, preparing teachers to lock the doors, students to move away from windows. We treat school shootings the way we treat tornadoes or fires, as acts of nature that we cannot prevent or control, something that is bound to happen somewhere sometime. The students walked out of the building in orderly lines, their hands above their heads, and I remember seeing students filing out of Columbine the same way. What hasn’t changed in fourteen years?
What I felt most when I read the LA Times article on the shooting was regret. Here was a person who could not see any way out of his situation, his anger, without violence, and once the wheels were turning, he could not see any way out except his death. What life, what possibility, squandered.
I’m sure there will be talk, again, about arming teachers and putting guns in schools, as though adding more weapons would have ameliorated this tragedy. This will not be a popular or common opinion, but I would rather hear about a complete weapons ban in Colorado. I would like our country to treat gun violence not as a natural disaster, but as a human act impacted by other human acts. I would like to see us respond to gun violence not like a tornado or a hurricane, with platitudes and relief aid, but with concrete actions. We cannot prevent tornadoes or wildfires. We can keep kids from killing themselves and each other.