We know about Florida. We know about the school shooting in Parkland. We know that the shooter trained with white nationalists and that the gun was legally purchased. There are currently 17 dead, with the toll possibly rising within the next few days. We also know that the current administration revoked mental health checks for gun purchases.
As a nation, we have become numb. These mass shootings happen, people offer thoughts and prayers and a few wrings of their hands, then they go back to their lives, the recent tragedy pushed to the backs of their minds.
For these people, life resumes as normal. To them, it’s little more than a news story, of little to no consequence to them.
For others, things will never be the same. Ever.
For others, the pop of a balloon at a party will trigger a panic attack. For others, the sound of a siren, wailing in the distance, will cause an anxiety attack. For others, the sight of police cars, their lights flashing, will result in hysterical sobbing. For others, a simple bedroom becomes an elaborate, yet empty, memorial. For others, the mention of someone’s name is physically painful. For others, finding a casket and planning a funeral, or dealing with tens of thousands of dollars of medical bills and weekly physical therapy, is the new reality. For others, there is a hole in their hearts that can never be filled, a piece of their family that is lost forever, a voice that was once strong and clear, now forever silenced.
For others, their lives will never be the same. Nothing will ever be the same ever again.
I freely admit: the shooting at my store nearly five years ago was not a mass shooting. It unfortunately, did bear those markers, as the shooter brought two weapons and multiple rounds of ammunition. To this day, there are still rumors that she had a hit list, a group of names of associates that she was planning to kill. I cannot tell you if my name was on this list, if it exists. I have all ideas that my name was among them; she and I didn’t see eye to eye on things and she didn’t seem terribly friendly towards me. Besides, if she really wanted to shoot only one person, why bring two guns? That makes no sense.
Even now, almost five years later, I can remember the sound of the gun shot. I can remember the heavy silence that filled the store afterwards. I can remember the wailing. Primus, I can never forget the sound of that wailing.
For me, nothing will ever truly be the same.
Each time I hear of another shooting, I get angry. I become upset and anxious. But after a day or so, I simply become sick and tired of it all. None of it ever changes; people are too anesthetized to the violence, to the tragedy.
And I, for one, am sick and damn tired of that fact.