These Shootings Beg Us To Live

What do I think about when I hear of another shooting? First, my stomach. Because it hurts. Bad. It flips on itself – and did this morning – whenever my brain allows it to feel what happened.


It happened yesterday morning, when I already knew of the El Paso shooting and heard about the Ohio shooting after dialing into CBS Sunday Morning as I began writing for the day.

Ugh. Again. Dammit.

There’s probably no one who isn’t fed up with it. Okay, maybe there are a few people – the nutjobs who cheer for these sick massacres – who wait with anticipation for the next one or accelerate their planning for their big moment in the headlines.

But the overwhelming majority of us don’t want to hear of this happening ever again. Ever. That’s a safe bet – whether we’re gun rights advocates or gun control advocates.  We’re on the same page here – people need to stop killing other people.

Saying it out loud doesn’t change anything. Thoughts and prayers don’t change anything. We all know politics literally changes nothing except stoke anger and resentment among whichever perceived disenfranchised party someone belongs to.

Let’s just say politics does nothing positive for this problem. No one is solving this. No one. Not your Tweet, not your donation to the NRA, not the emergency room nurse, not the prosecutor, not the activist. Nothing is changing – except the death toll.

That’s one of the reasons we need to live. Big. We need to live big and do all the things. Now.

We live in a society where we may die while buying parmesan cheese at Wal-Mart. That’s fucking stupid. And, we’re in America, not Beirut.

We live in a place where kids are dying while hiding under their desks at school. Where young people are left for dead while dancing in a night club, where families are forever changed because a new movie in theaters seemed like a fun way to burn a couple hours.

Where the sound of country music was shattered by deadline gunfire, and the aroma from a garlic festival was forced to be filtered through the screams of people fleeing a a torrent of bullets.

So we just need to live. Maybe that sounds drastic – this living thing. But maybe not. We don’t live in an active war zone, but I mean, we kind of do. We don’t live in a place where landmines are buried, but we do live in a place where those same dangers are above ground.

We live in a place where we are not currently fighting a designated war, but individual terrorists are waging war against the rest of us. It is at-once unbelievable and expected. Like, we need to expect this shit now.

So live. Go do the things now.

Climb the mountain. Run the race. Eat the cake. Buy the shoes. All that shit. Do all of it. Learn the instrument. Camp in that one park you’ve been wanting to see, swim off that one beach you want to feel, hear the music from that one artist who makes everything right for you.

With any luck, you won’t die tomorrow. You’ll get to continue buying parmesan cheese at Wal-Mart, and seeing movies, and sending your kids to recess, and going to county festivals without any problem.

But we’re involved in an undesignated war. With no defense, really. And no solution. So you just don’t know, do you?