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ESSAY: Another Day, Another Shooting

I propose America change its emblem from an eagle to the little girl captured in the powerful and heartbreaking photo (on this page)taken by Nicole Hester of The Tennessean on the day of the mass shooting — yeah, another mass shooting — at The Covenant School in Nashville on March 27.

Shit, when was the last time any of us saw an eagle anyway? Meanwhile, mass shootings are in our face every day.

Depending on the methodology used, 2023 may be the bloodiest year on record in terms of mass shootings in America. And, we’re not even halfway through.

When a gunman opened fire in a Texas mall on Saturday killing eight people, some news agencies reported the massacre was the nation’s 200 mass shooting of 2023 — an alarming but also incredible stat considering there’s only been 126 days this year.

The stat comes from the Gun Violence Archive, which classifies a mass shooting as any incident in which a "minimum of four victims are shot, either injured or killed, not including the shooter.” However, that total drops if we go by a methodology used by other agencies, which define a mass shooting as any incident in which four people are killed.

Blah, blah, blah, fucking blah. Does the definition really even matter?

The truth is, if you’re a school student, a bank customer, a mall shopper, a concertgoer, buying groceries, attending college, eating in a restaurant, out at a bar — basically anywhere out in public — you’re a sitting duck.

I’ve come to the morbid conclusion that it’s only a matter of time before I, or someone I love or some I know, is eventually a victim of the senseless carnage that now has become a staple of daily American life. (Call me paranoid. As an American, I think I’ve earned that right.) And I can’t begin to imagine what others have had to endure who’ve already had to live the experience.

Take solace in knowing though that there are politicians offering their thoughts and prayers — while wearing an AR-15 pin on their lapels.

I don’t know much. But here’s what I know:

Other countries have guns.

Other countries have mental illness.

Other countries have broken homes.

Other countries have transgender people.

Other countries have moved away from religion to secularism.

Blah, blah, fucking blah.

But no other country has this problem; this epidemic.

We know the cause. We can do something about it. But here’s what else I know: We won’t.

Jesus Lord, I hope I’m wrong.


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