Death is Trending

I want to be funny. I scan through the trending topics on social media, looking for a red cup fiasco or, at the very least, a child falling into an animal pit.

Instead I find photographs and stories of senseless murder. I see a country reeling on so many different levels.

I want to write a tell-all of the conference I went to. Be you at BlogU! The people I secretly didn’t like and the people I couldn’t believe I ever thought were anything short of wonderful.

Instead, I find myself reading article after article. Putting faces to forty-nine people who impacted someone’s life and are now impacting my life with their tragic and terrible fate.

I don’t want to be sad or make others sad. I don’t want to get into the never-ending fight.

Over guns.

And politics.

And Islam.

And homosexuality.

And religion.

And and and and and.

There is always another and. Another nasty fight. Faulty wording there for someone to pick apart, because diving into the depth of content is too much work. There are some who might read this and they will take from it I fight about gay political guns that practice Islam, because they are trying to pick something apart to deflect from the saddening sense of defeat we are all feeling.

Where can my children and I go today? Obviously we weren’t planning on going to a gay nightclub, although my wife and friends will go once in a blue moon to the local gay bar, where the woman my kids affectionately call Auntie Morgan helps those dressing in drag do their make up.

I can’t take my kids to school. That became clear on December 14th, 2012. An hour and a half away from where I live, to children only a few years older than my children are now.

I can’t take my kids to the movies. That became clear July 20th, 2012. At a movie I saw in theaters as well, with my wife on a late night.

But, all that happened in 2012, right? It has been four years, surely taking my kids out in public is safer now and I am grasping at straws to paint a history of gun violence.

April 15, 2013, the city of Boston, which happens to be my favorite city on the east coast, became the victim of an attack. The bomb detonating at a spot I have stood at on multiple occasions. I stood there as the Boston Bruins marched the Stanley Cup proudly through the city. I stood there cheering, with a sense of security and safety.

December 2, 2015, The city of San Bernardino, which happens to be where I was born and lived as a small child, became victim to a senseless and violent attack. Guns being drawn blocks away from where I sometimes envision revisiting as an adult.

November 29, 2015, the city of Colorado Springs, where I stayed as we laid my mom to rest. Senseless violence, in the city I told my wife I would like to move to. Where my brother lives the next town over with his wife and son.

These dates are all over the place and I apologize. I only name them as they come to mind and hurt the heart.

I don’t mention color. I don’t mention creed. And why would it matter? If it matters to you, it’s a pretty even spread of angry ranging white to brown. Off the top of my head its White American, White American, White Russian (not the drink, although I am starting to need one), Muslim American, White American. When we add Orlando, June 12th, 2015, the day before my birthday, it adds another Muslim American.

I believe even the Russian was a naturalized citizen. I can’t be sure, my head is beginning to spin at the thought of taking my children out into a world where there are so many different people angry and ready to kill others who are strangers to them and guilty of nothing more than wrong place, wrong time.

I don’t feel safe at the grocery store. Or the mall. I am sure I can find dates for those places being shot up. I am sure there are people out there, still reeling from loss who can remember those days from the moment they woke up to the moment they lost a child.

I don’t claim to know the answer. I don’t want to get into the never-ending fights, with all their ands attached.

I want to be funny. To make fun of trending content.

I want to feel safe when I take my family in public, not just scanning the surrounding area for places to shield my family in case of senseless violence. I want to say hello to a passerby without scanning them for the possibility of a hidden weapon.

I don’t know the answer and maybe that means I should shut up.

I do know I am afraid. The general consensus is so are many others. Because this trend of senseless murder isn’t going away, it’s getting worse.

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5 comments on “Death is Trending
  1. It’s so deflating and defeating to have this overwhelming sadness feel common. For the former anger to be replaced by an acceptance I hasten to reject as soon as I recognize it, only to realize it’s too late. It’s already normalizing. If there were one thing I wish they’d change its that I wish they’d at the very least treat these monsters, these bogey men, like streakers at the game. No airtime. No fame. No name or face. Remove any chance that they can become a symbol. But I’m sure someone can tell me why that’s wrong and I’m sure they’re right.
    Thanks for this. It’s really great.

  2. Oh Briton.
    As always, you put my thoughts into words that I couldn’t find.

    When I drop my daughter off at school, or stop at the grocery store I scan the faces. I locate the exits.

    Just last week (before BlogU) I had to take my daughter to the Emergency Room; she’d hurt herself badly enough that she was begging to see the doctor. Something she never does.

    It was busy. It was insanely busy. Busy enough that the Hospital was forced to see patients in the hallways as all the exam rooms were taken. This meant my 9 yr old daughter, seated on a gurney, was examined in the hallway.

    To say I was uncomfortable would be the largest understatement I can think of. Aside from the obvious: Minor – Medical Records – Busy Hallway with People Passing us by. Rushing to the next emergency. Rushing to the next patient.

    Just two doors down from where we were left, a woman was locked in a room, on a Security Hold. Over a dozen Security Officers, six ER nurses, three EMTs and countless other professionals were stationed outside her door.

    Sadly, my thoughts didn’t go to her well-being; they didn’t swirl around to what her health situation may be – I didn’t consider whether she was a heroin addict, or whether she was a threat to herself and only herself.

    No, sadly, my thoughts went to how fast could I find a room that would hold my daughter, my husband and myself. A room that had a thick door, a room that would shelter us from this woman and her threat.

    Sadly, my thoughts went to whether or not I could get us safely through the exit door, just beyond my line of sight.

    My empathy for that woman was there, but fleeting. It was there … and then it wasn’t. My empathy was replaced by my fear.

    Summer is here, and with it a new fear. Theme parks, traveling families, more people joining us here in the Picturesque North East. More threats? Maybe. But unlikely. Or at least, that’s what we used to think.

    Now? Now we immediately begin to feel the fear, to locate the exits. To consider a threat that might not be there, but worse.

    A threat that in Reality – Might actually truly be there.

    (sorry for the blog post comment; it sort of just… poured out.)

  3. I feel the exact same way. I told my husband last night I wanted to move to Montana, take all of our money out and put it in a safe, and live on a self sustained farm. I am terrified of what we are becoming. We are going backwards almost 50 years in terms of civil rights and unrest. Rapists going free. Racists heading for the White House, and we are ALLOWING it. What can we do? We need to protect our families. I’ve been up since 4am so worried about our kids and their future. Thank you for writing this, you articulated what so many are feeling.
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