Why I Didn’t Write a Blog Post Yesterday

Yesterday was a weird day.

It was weird, but it was also normal. And the normality made it weird. And sad. And frustrating.

Yesterday afternoon, I was playtesting a game in my home office in St. Louis while a teenager used a legally purchased semi-automatic assault rifle to kill 17 students and teachers at a high school in Florida.

It was a tragic act of violence that left me filled with sadness. But I continued on with my day, and eventually I sat down to write a blog post around 10:30 pm. I perused my usual backlist of topics, but I just couldn’t find it in myself to write about one of them. It didn’t feel write to ignore the tragedy.

Instead, I searched back through my blog entries to the post I wrote about Sandy Hook 6 years ago. The Sandy Hook killer also used an AR-15 rifle, same as the guy in Florida. I remember thinking in 2012 that after the shooting, there was no question that something big would change regarding gun laws. Surely Congress wouldn’t sit idle while kindergartners are slaughtered.

But you know the story. You’re in the future too.

I paced around my room last night, trying to think about what I could say that could make a difference. But I felt helpless. I literally couldn’t think of anything I could say or do that would result in any time of change. I paced for over an hour, and finally I just resigned to go to bed.

Today I Facetimed with my niece. This is her:

 

Anna is the most precious little girl. She’ll turn 5 in a few months, and next year she’ll go to kindergarten. That’s when, in the eyes of Congress, she’ll be eligible to come face-to-face with an AR-15, just like at Sandy Hook.

That absolutely crushes me. It devastates me. Just as I’m sure the friends and family of victims in Florida are devastated today.

I don’t know the demographics of my readers, but I have to ask: If you use your vote to protect the second amendment, would you consider using your vote so that kids like Anna can’t be killed in the classroom by AR-15s? I know there are lots of variables in play, but couldn’t we at least try that for a few years to see if it helps?

My heart goes out to those in Florida. I’m sorry I didn’t have the words for you yesterday.


8 Responses to “Why I Didn’t Write a Blog Post Yesterday”

  1. Candy Mercer says:

    Something about this one just…it is just too much. It has been too much since Columbine. Today I made a commitment to being a single issue voter. If you take any money from the gun lobby, or they support your campaign, D,R or I, I will not vote for you. Line in the sand. If our generation refuses to, it is up to the next generation to vote them out, and get elected. I can only hope the wave of women running will cause a change in perspective. Moms were successful in organizing against drunk driving and caused societal change, I think it is going to be up to the moms again.

  2. Eric Dow says:

    I’m saddened about this, but I’m sadder still that the root cause of these incidents is still being overlooked. Sadder in fact that people I respect and love are still being misdirected to a political hot button rather than focusing on root cause.

    Can we either put emotion directed by mass media and social misdirection aside, or give proportional time to this issue as its due?

    If statistics hold true, drunk drivers kill over 200 children in this country annually. Mentally ill people kill way more with cars than any other weapon, second most used weapon is a knife or sharp object. Third is bare hands. Guns if added all types together come in 4th.

    I’m for gun control, but first this county needs a serious mental heath reform. Every mass shooting in this country in the last two years has involved anti-depressants or other drugs the we should all agree were being prescribed to people who should NOT have been allowed access to any sort of weapon.

    I’m sorry this argument isn’t more concise, but I’ve personally lost more friends and family to Alcohol related vehicle death than any other weapons, and I’d rather see proportional time in the media rather than my friends cave to social engineering.

    I’d also like to see the issues take back seat to morning for at least 48 hours if not more 🙁

    Again, sorry if this rubs anyone the wrong way, but I can’t ignore what I know.

    Below is the data about impaired driving stats.

    https://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812231.pdf

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Eric: I appreciate you sharing your perspective. It brings up an important event that happened nearly a year ago: One of the first bills President Trump signed was one that made it easier for mentally ill people to obtain guns.

      https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-signs-bill-revoking-obama-era-gun-checks-people-mental-n727221

      I think there are lots of issues at play here, and I’m glad you’re passionate about some of them. Can you also add AR-15s to that passion? Would it hurt to see if things were better or worse without them in the hands of normal citizens, whether or not they’re mentally ill?

    • Candy Mercer says:

      From Why We Sleep – sleep deprived drivers kill more people than drunk driving. So how does that figure in to your argument Eric? Respectfully, I think you are engaging in some fuzzy math and logic. the issue has taken a back seat since Columbine, to not talk about it now is to minimize the loss and anger of the parents who lost their kids. They are talking. They are mad. They will organize. That is what happens. A tipping point of outrage is going to happen. We thought it would be Sandy Hook. We were wrong. But it is going to happen. Some people joined in after Pulse, some joined after Vegas. When enough people have lost their lives, a movement will become unstoppable. This is my hope, even though it is a bitter one because how many more kids are going to have lifelong PTSD because of school proving to not be safe for them?

      I agree w need more mental health reform, but that is not going to solve this problem. It needs to be a societal change that gun violence is a public health issue. The CDC is prohibited from even collecting statistics that demonstrate this. I think the only way change will happen is for society to make it “uncool” to collect assault rifles and glorify gun culture. I am old enough to remember life before drunk driving was a “thing,” weed was shamed and illegal and you could smoke on an airplane, ashtrays built into the armrests. All of those things were changed by societal forces, people being angry at the results and agitating for change. I can only hope gun violence follows a similar trajectory. I do think it is going to be women who lead this change. It is going to be the kids who grew up with active shooter drills.

  3. Me too to Candy’s comment.

  4. Tom Wright says:

    Thanks for this post, Jamey. Ashamedly, in the past, I never felt much empathy toward any victim or survivor of violence. It all happened “to other people”, even though my own sister had been witness to a school-bus shooting. Even that close to home, it was still so distant for me that today was the first time I thought of my sister in that shooting in years.

    But now that I have two daughters, everything is different. I used to think, “I’ll get what’s mine and that’ll be that, other people can try and get what’s theirs,” but now I actually want the world to be a better place, for my daughters, and for everyone. I mean, if the world is awesome for everybody, and I’m part of everybody, then I’ve got it made, right?

    I’m with you. I’d like to see some change. Any change at all, just to see if it’ll help. Any change for the better, no matter how few people it helps. Thanks again for your post.

    • Candy Mercer says:

      Tom, kids really change my perspective, and I feel I HAVE to work for a better world now as well. Also doing activism of any sort I have felt has taught my daughter some level of agency in the world, that she can be a part of change. My 19 year old does not really identify as an activist, but she lives in an activist way, she uses critical thinking, and I was really proud of her yesterday for setting some boundaries. So getting involved, it really only does need to help one person, and you feel good too! Each voice that gets added to an issue brings it closer to the tipping point. And Tom, try not to be too hard on yourself w/r/t the reactions around your sister, it could be possible it WAS traumatizing to you and you had to repress it. Not trying to diagnose or anything, but putting it out there that numbing is a common response, especially when you are young and do not have more developed coping skills.

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