I’ve mainly watched the aftermath of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas shooting play out on Twitter, 280 characters at a time and in fits and starts.
I have all but entirely shielded myself from televised coverage of this atrocity. On some level that’s a cop-out, but on another it’s self-preservation. I cannot bear to hear the same talking points. I cannot bear to see the anguished students who we’ve put through hell. I cannot watch footage of caskets being placed in hearses. I just cannot. Not even in fits and starts.
And yet, I joined millions of other Americans and watched last night’s town hall. Kind of. For me to have watched it in one uninterrupted sitting would have put undue strain on the world’s zoloft supply, so I watched it, once again, in fits and starts.
From my limited intake of media surrounding this event, this picture is the image that is seared in my brain.
I realize that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. We’re supposed to remember those lost and pay no mind to the perpetrator. Give him as little press and exposure as possible. In my head, I understand this line of thinking. I have less trouble getting my heart to act appropriately, though.
Perhaps if I would put my big girl pants on and watch the news and read all the available information and get the whole story on this kid, I’d feel differently. Based on my limited scope of the situation, though, I’ve gleaned that he’s orphaned. He’s troubled. Prior to last Wednesday he had cried out for help. Maybe not in the ways society would have liked for him to, but he cried out.
When I initially saw his picture, I cried. And looking at it as I write this, I could cry again. I don’t need to know the whole story to know we failed this kid, because I can see it in his eyes. And I know how our society treats the outsiders and undesirables.
So, last night I cringed each and every time the NRA lady (yes, I should look up her name; no, I’m not going to) referred to this child as nuts and crazy and a madman. And wanted to cry all over again.
I cringed because she couldn’t simply label him as mentally ill, she had to call him names.
And, I cringed, because on some level, we did this to him. We made him into this and then failed to help him. And then we made it really, really easy for him to get his troubled hands on a weapon designed for mass casualties.
My faith and heart, which both feel really, really fucking inconvenient right now; make me yearn to take this child into my arms and tell him he is a beloved child of God. And, upon the end of that embrace, I’d like to look him in the eyes and apologize.
I’m pretty sure the societally appropriate thing for me to do after telling you all of this is to once again apologize. For feeling this way. For being sympathetic to this kid. Or maybe not. I don’t know.
I don’t know if I’m sorry I feel this way. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be sorry I feel this way. All I know is I’m telling you my truth for today.