America cries again, this time from Jacksonville.
Lives shattered, dreams stolen, futures robbed.
Again, we endure another mass shooting and more deaths in a public place designed for party and pleasure, not shelter from a storm of bullets.
Our eyes close, our lips tighten, and we ask, when will the self-inflicted brutality finally come to an end?
How have we become what we have become?
When will the senselessness and slaughter stop?
Will sanity ever be restored again?
Aeschylus once wrote of “the pain we cannot forget” and how it will ultimately bring “wisdom to our souls.”
Where is the wisdom we have lost in living?
Each shooting brings more pain and agonizing memories to the students and parents of Parkland, sending tremors from Columbine to Newtown to Vegas.
It is a summer Sunday, and news crews should be covering sailing regattas, weekend barbecues, charity car washes, and county fairs where kids eat cotton candy, not more slaughter in public places.
Lives taken too young, and more scars on the face of our state and nation, and in homes where the private agonies can’t be shared.
More dreams snuffed out, more lives lost, and more tears flowing too early, too soon, so unnecessarily, so unjustly.
It’s inexplicable. A world of vast beauty and incredible majesty. Technology and industry to make our lives healthier and easier. Opportunities and dreams that can be realized and fulfilled. Love that can be found and lives that can be cherished.
As human beings who can reason and rise, we have been blessed with so much. How with all the reservoirs of compassion and genius in our country can we not arrest this virus of our own making?
How can our leaders, teachers, and legislators not be working around the clock with one common purpose that is not poisoned by partisan politics and not subject to personal differences, but governed instead by our common humanity?
We as adults have failed, too often, too many times, in too many places. If we thought we had answers, they have not been the correct ones. Whatever we did was not enough. We are where we are today because somewhere we all failed yesterday.
What was it T.S Elliot wrote before he passed, if it was him: “this is not what I meant at all; that is not it at all…”
It’s time to look beyond what we have done and start thinking about what others can do. It is time to hear new voices, engage new paths, open new doors, and walk down roads less traveled. As a poet once wrote, that will make a difference.
It is time to pass the torch to a new generation; to listen to what they have to say; to see if they can find the clues we missed, the answers we have not found.
“March for our Lives” comes to mind, standing up, being counted, criss-crossing the country to be heard, seen, and shake us from apathy to action.
What they have said and what they say is not just for kids. It’s to save our souls. We should pay attention. All of us.
They may be kids in some of your eyes, but their message is universal, their faith is that justice will come and life will be restored. They see more of the future than the past. We should know they are right. The pendulum swings back and forth. Always has, always will. Time to spin it again.
The lives we save may be our own, our brothers, our sisters, our society, our civilization and our planet.