“Too soon.” That’s what we are always told every time some deranged individual goes off and shoots up a school, church, work place (oh hell, take your pick). People will accuse you of being indecent. They will say “the bodies are still warm,” or “this isn’t a time for politics.” And you know, I would agree with them under normal circumstances. It’s fair to suggest that when we are hit with a tragedy of such an awful kind that a deep breath, mourning and sober reflection are warranted.
Except for this: It happens all the fucking time.
Tucson, Aurora, Newtown, the Navy Yard, Fort Hood, etc. (how many did I miss?). If we always wait until the “right time” to discuss a remedy, to talk about political solutions, then we will be fucked. You know why? Because by the time we hit the sweet spot of inoffensive discussion for the last mass shooting, we will already be dealing with the next one, and once again, it will be “too soon.”
Don’t believe me? Look at the ‘mass shootings’ map (what a horrid phrase) that Huffington Post put together recently. Please take note that all the shootings detailed here happened since Newtown.
Look at that. Who can keep the fuck up? At the current pace, it will always be “too soon.” By the time you catch your breath, it’s on to the next one.
I understand the need for sensitivity and basic decency when unthinkable events like these occur. However, I believe there is a greater risk here, because the truth is, it’s no longer “unthinkable,” it’s the new normal, and that may be the far greater concern than whether it is polite to talk about what to actually do about all this horror we seem to be visited by on a regular basis. It seems to me that we get real worked up when a mass shooting takes place and we all get so sad and send out our useless fucking thoughts and prayers when god damn it, we should be doing something. Aren’t we tired of this shit? This sickness that pervades our culture? I’m afraid that we aren’t. I’m afraid that we are just a little too used to it. Hell, I’m not so sure some of us aren’t bored by it. In Chicago alone, there were 200 homicides by the 4th of July this year. That’s the equivalent of 16 Navy Yard shootings plus 8.
So sure, we give a lot of attention to these multiple shooting incidents when they take place in one location, and well we should. But the truth is, they are the equivalent of plane crash fatalities versus car crash deaths. “My goodness, how tragic” we think as we look upon the latest spectacle, while at the same time, scattered across our cities and states, there are so many shooting deaths on a regular basis that they make the death toll in any single occurrence statistically quaint. But here’s the thing that makes it even worse. Plane crashes are relatively uncommon, whereas this shit seems to happen all the time.
So what do we do? Just get used to it? God knows, looking to congress hardly brings any hope to the equation. We can’t even pass a fairly mild background check law that 90% of Americans support. Will this latest mass shooting make a difference? Probably not. If 20 dead children in Connecticut can’t get congress off their ass to pass even the most modest of proposals then there is no reason to believe that 12 more dead adults is going to flip the responsibility switch in that governing body.
But we must not quit. We have to keep pushing. In the face of congressional intransigence, gun manufacturers, and the NRA. Quitting is not an option. Maybe all we have left is shame. We must shame them relentlessly, and if that doesn’t work we need to vote them out regardless of party.
Which is why I say fuck “too soon.” Fuck it all to hell. At least 8255 people in this country have been shot to death since Newtown. This is an epidemic.
For those poor souls it is not “too soon,” it’s already too late.
This article was originally published on The Big Slice.