When my wife told me about the shootings at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, I didn't answer. I didn't really have a response. I suppose I knew what my response would and should be, but in some way it felt like anything I said would be trite and insufficient.
A little while later, while ironing our clothes for work, I told my wife that what really blew my mind about the shooting was that this is the way our country is now. These things happen. This is our reality.
Sure, the entire country will obsess over every detail of what happened for the next few weeks, but eventually they'll grow bored with it and it will be forgotten. Then a while down the line, it will happen again. And we'll react the same way and the pattern will play out.
What's incomprehensible to me is why. Why don't we do anything about this?
I'm not going to go off on a political rant. In fact, political rants are part of the problem.
It seems like the reactions we get from these shootings are either generic platitudes from our elected officials or ideological rhetoric from the talking heads in the media. And somewhere in that gulf in between those two extremes lie answers, answers that no one is even looking for because they're too busy either avoiding the issue or only worrying about which side they're on.
You're anti-guns? You're pro-guns? You're against universal health care? You're for it? That's all well and good. But you know what? Nothing should be off the table now. Nothing. Every side of this problem should sit down in a room and do so with the full knowledge that even the opposite side of their issue is on the table. You want to get rid of guns? Then you need to sit down with people who want to keep them and say that, if we can find some way of stopping this from happening, you'll let the gun thing go on this.
Finding an answer for this is all that matters.
We need a solution regardless of what might be. But we're not even having that conversation. No one is, certainly not our political leaders.
It also struck me how uniquely American this tragedy is. I read a lot of foreign newspapers after 9/11 (and translations of foreign newspapers) and aside from sympathy, many of them offered empathy. A lot of coverage was given to the tragedy as the moment America lost its innocence. So many other countries in the world were fighting -- and often losing -- terrorism every day.
But this isn't something that happens in other countries, at least not like this. It might happen every once in a while, but here it happens often and it can happen anywhere. Yes, there are reasons for this, but I don't know that we need to get into that.
I suppose I could go on and on. This whole thing has been up in my head since it happened. I just wish people would stop taking sides and start looking for solutions.