I was going to write something passionate, about gun violence, gun control and the simply incomprehensible continuation of this morbid fascination with weapons in the United States. Not that the US is alone in this; I believe all of the elements which contribute to these recurring massacres exist elsewhere, and yet the US manages to provide the perfect conditions for it to thrive—conditions which it seems reluctant to change.
But I’ve written about this before.
I’m at the point where I can’t get angry about it anymore, and I deliberately remove myself from the internet when they happen, because I can’t get as sad about it as I used to, either. Why bother? I think. It changes nothing. Have I really become so cynical, as I advance in years? Or is this way of turning inward, of switching the world off, just a safety mechanism, just a means of survival so the grief of this world doesn’t cause me to cave in and collapse?
I saw the familiar anger and distraught outrage emerging on the internet and over the radio, of course. However, this time, there’s a difference I’ve noticed about the reaction to Orlando, and it is that I am not alone in my resignation. There is a sense of despair which wasn’t there after previous shootings. There is the realisation that if Sandy Hook changed nothing, why would this one be different? Despite being the biggest mass shooting in the US to date, the fact that it occurred in an LGBT nightclub, a club attended by a group of people already vilified by so many, means that this will simply be yet another shooting.
This time, here is a sad acceptance: This is the way it is. It’ll always be this way. This changes nothing.
That is perhaps the biggest tragedy of all. That all these deaths will be simply added to the list of names of those already gunned down, and that they will precede those who will be gunned down in the future. There have been protests and anguished pleas, but this time, there are shrugged shoulders and broken sighs, and a despondent public who finally feel they are utterly powerless to stop this disease of hate.
So well done, NRA. Congratulations, gun manufacturers. You spread the fear and the lies and the hatred, and we are broken. We still love, we still care, but we are tired, and sad, and nothing changes, and this cycle never ends.
But before you celebrate your victory, perhaps you’d like to wash all that blood off your hands?