I've been sitting here staring at the blank "new post" screen for several minutes now, unsure how to begin, or even what to say, really.
My heart aches - literally, my chest hurts and makes breathing difficult - with horror at what happened today. May the souls of those who were killed find peace, in whatever way is best for them. May the shooter's soul never find rest for the rest of eternity. I cannot imagine the kind of pain the parents of the murdered children, their siblings, grandparents, extended family, as well as families, friends, and partners of the adults who died, are feeling right now. I hope they can find some kind of peace, solace, and healing.
I am disgusted almost beyond words at the way those who want to reopen the conversations around gun violence and gun control legislation, in order that massacres like this don't happen again, to anyone, ever, are being chastised for "politicizing" the issue. Is it politics to say "This is an awful tragedy, and we should do something so that it doesn't happen ever again"? If so, then I'm 110% willing to "policitize" the issue, if it means a reduction or cessation of loss of life to incidents like these. A big, hearty FUCK YOU to those who use such tactics to silence a conversation that we obviously desperately need to be having in this country right now. They know that for as long as they can keep kicking the can down the road, hiding behind the victims' pain and trauma to hold on to the status quo, they win. And if that's not politicizing the issue, I don't know what is.
On that note, the first person to try to frame this in terms of "crazy" or "lone nutjob" in my presence is going to find their face suddenly, and forcibly, intimately acquainted with a fucking BRICK. I am "crazy", after a fashion. I am not always particularly stable. And yet somehow, I've managed to get through 27 years on this earth without massacring children. Funny, that.
Same goes for any claims that if more people had been armed at the school, this wouldn't have happened. To quote commenter aphra_ben at Shakesville, "The sooner the US debate accepts that being able to shoot a gun is not the same thing as being able to effectively neutralize an armed threat, the better off we'll be." Unless this country is willing to go to the collective time, effort, and expense of educating and training every single gun owner in not only target accuracy, but also tactics and police/military procedures for such instances, not to mention psychologically preparing them to fire on and possibly kill another person, simply increasing the number of firearms present in a given location at any given time isn't going to do fuck all. "Has a gun" != "Knows what to do in a situation of gun violence (and can do so effectively, without inadvertently causing further casualties among bystanders)".
I'm a lot more gun-friendly than most progressives tend to be - comes of living with a collector and pistol instructor for a couple of years and regularly going shooting with friends in a very gun-friendly state - but even I will say, there is no amount of "I enjoy recreational target shooting" that justifies the overly-free availability of firearms, when the result is this much death.*
We didn't have the conversation after Virginia Tech. We didn't have it after Aurora. We didn't have it after Portland. All because nobody wanted to "politicize the tragedy". We promised we'd revisit it later, once the wound wasn't so fresh. And yet we didn't. We don't. When are we going to finally just goddamn well do it?**
*I still disagree that reinstating the old assault weapons ban is even remotely helpful, for a variety of reasons that begins and ends with "this is why we don't let legislators write the definitions of things they're not experts in", much like most reproductive health laws. But that's a specific issue with the how part, not the whether or not we should do something part.
**There's a sick part of me that could kinda see the shootings as being on a timetable - "Okay, it's been long enough. Quick, let's have another shooting before anyone tries to talk gun control, to give us another excuse to avoid it!" When they're happening so horribly often, well, there will simply never be a time where it's far enough removed, because another one will have taken place in the interim. It works out so nicely for the pro-gun lobby that one begins to wonder if it's not perhaps a feature, rather than a bug.