In the last couple of weeks, my oldest son and I have taken to playing a game we call "Where Would You Hide?" We take in our surroundings at the restaurant, the movie theatre, in the department store and devise a plan for a tuck-and-roll under a table, a belly-crawl behind the counter, and a dash for the exit. In case of an active shooter, you know.
So. It’s come to this. We discuss it with an air of humor, and often our playful debate goes off the deep end with wild plans for kicking down doors and super-human feats of athleticism and gymnastics over and around any obstructions between us and safety. We banter back and forth in much the same way we used to devise our fantastical plans to survive the coming zombie apocalypse. It’s fun and funny, but with a grim hint of seriousness. We have given thought, however briefly, to an escape plan. A matter of 21st century practicality, like marking the location of the exits at a movie theater.
Movie theaters, where we used to feel safe. Shopping malls, the most ubiquitous of locations. College campuses. Elementary schools. Prayer meetings, for crissake.
Another 14 today, more or less as the numbers finalize, were surprised by violence in a social service agency. On top of the 12 in the navy yard, the 12 killed and 58 injured at the movie theater, the 27 at the elementary school, the 32 in Virginia, the 13 at Columbine, a news woman murdered on live TV. Each ripped from life by a gun in a terror-filled, bloody, violent end. And from each of these deaths—not all listed here—screams of horror, grief and agony from those who remain echo out into the stratosphere like ripples on a pond—never silenced.
“A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”—Jeremiah 31:15.
What is happening in our country is more than any of us can bear, should HAVE to bear, more than any of us should bow to accept. Our voices must join the agonized howling heard in Ramah and Aurora and Columbine and Sandy Hook, with the wives of husbands, brothers of sisters, mothers and fathers of the children left behind in the wake of violent and murderous death. And we must not let up, we must not fall silent until something gives.
And all of you who would argue with me the finer points of background checks and waiting periods, assault rifles and armor piercing bullets, don’t bother. I will not give you the satisfaction of a response. Your arguments are invalid to the last word.
I do not profess to have the answers or any words of wisdom. I have no great knowledge or ideas of how to change our frighteningly and increasingly violent society. I only know that something, SOMETHING has to give. It has to. It must. Enough is enough.