Being American

Being an American is pretty scary right now. I don’t watch the news, so I’m isolated from the fear-mongering that dominates our news channels. (More so on the right than the left, but I’ve noticed that even the left-leaning news sources I might otherwise agree with still try to sow division among us and to fear “the other.”)

Of course, what’s prompting this is the fact that we had two mass shootings this weekend on back-to-back days. There’s so much suffering among the victims’ families and the communities where these occur.

But even more than that, it’s both the frequency and the randomness with which these mass shootings occur that makes them terrifying. You truly don’t know when or where it could happen.

Will it happen to my kids at school? Will my husband or oldest child be shot at work? Neither of them work in dangerous environments but that doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Hell, any one of us could be gunned down anywhere we go, from church to the grocery store.

As I’ve seen many times online, it’s like the country keeps asking why this keeps happening, in the only nation where this does keep happening.

More than anything, it makes me want to leave the country. This is bigger than which president is in office. Nobody seems willing to do anything to stop this. Those of us who really want reform to our laws to make this stop happening are outnumbered by the people and lawmakers who don’t want this to change.

The fact that there are so many people who value their guns over the lives being lost says something very scary about the state of America these days.

It’s very different from when I was a kid. Back then, I really did think America was the best nation in the world. Now when people say “if you don’t like it here, just leave,” I actually wish I could. But instead I’m trapped here.

My kids have grown up with active shooter drills as a normal part of life. My husband had active shooter response training at a former job. And I hate that these things are just normal.

I hate that there’s essentially nothing I can do about this except vote for the candidates who want to change it. But I know that they probably won’t win, and even if they do, their efforts will probably be pointless in the face of those committed to maintaining the status quo.

But the status quo really isn’t acceptable. And at least at this point in my life, there’s not a damn thing I can do to change it. I just have to hope and pray that neither the people I love nor I will happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time the next time this happens.

Because the one thing that’s certain is that there is going to be a next time. I hate that it’s now so common that people are becoming numb to it.

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