NEVER AGAIN

The “whys” and the “hows”
were almost immediate.
Followed shortly thereafter,
were the smattering of “thoughts & prayers”
accompanied by hashtags
and politicians’ faux broken hearts.

This one was “the worst”,
but haven’t they all been?
Haven’t they all been
the worst for someone?
Someone’s mom,
Someone’s dad,
Someone’s spouse,
Someone’s child,
Someone’s sibling,
Someone’s best friend?

The makeshift memorial
stretches across the astroturf
winding like a trail of tears,
a road of sorrows.
Messages, coins, candles, roses;
gestures from those who knew them personally
and those who know them now,
because we let this happen again.

I bend slightly
to read each name
adhered to each white cross.
They are from various locations:
Southern California,
West Virginia,
Canada,
Idaho,
Las Vegas.
I reassure them silently that they won’t be forgotten,
but when I look at the paper,
less than a week later,
it seems some are already trying not to remember.

Is it too soon to talk about this?
Is it ever too soon to talk about
Someone’s mom,
Someone’s dad,
Someone’s spouse,
Someone’s child,
Someone’s sibling,
Someone’s best friend
and why they should still be living and breathing?
Is it too soon to talk about
this broken society
that has created an admiration for senseless violence
and has prioritized gun ownership over a love of human beings?

When should we talk about
Austin (’66),
Columbine (’99),
Virginia Tech (’07),
Aurora (’12),
Newtown (’12),
Charleston (’15),
Orlando (’16),
Las Vegas (’17)?
Should we wait until more than 60 innocents die at once?

We shouldn’t be talking,
We should be shouting!
And before the questions of “why” or “how” are raised,
we should be emphasizing, “Never, never again,”
and taking immediate action.
Vegas Memorial2.JPG

Photos taken: 10/6/2017

MORE THAN THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS

I have lived in the Las Vegas area for the last 18 years. I’ve lived here longer than I have lived anywhere else in my lifetime. This morning, I woke to a flood of text messages and emails from friends asking if me and my loved ones were safe and accounted for. Unfortunately, Las Vegas is not alone in its grief. We were preceded by the University of Texas, Columbine, Virginia Tech, the movie theater in Aurora, CO, Newtown, San Bernardino, Washington, D.C., PULSE Nightclub — the list goes on and on.

Thoughts and prayers are nice, but they are clearly not enough during this time. We need action from our law makers. There is currently a bill that will soon be up for vote to make it so that silencers can be more easily obtained. Why? Why do we continue to protect gun owners over the rest of the citizens of this nation? I cannot imagine how many more lives would have been lost last night if the psychotic gunman would have used a silencer. There is still a loophole in background checks for guns. People can still purchase guns easily at gun shows. If people want to own guns, we should be vetting them much more thoroughly than we do someone who is applying for a driver’s license.  In addition, we need better mental health care in this country. Everyone should be able to easily see a therapist, a psychiatrist, a grief counselor, get treatment for PTSD, and the like. The system is broken. It needs fixing. If now is not the time to make this political, then when is? I don’t think anyone’s second amendment rights should be more important than the rights of everyone in this country to feel safe when they are at school, at a concert, or going to the movie theater.

I fully understand that guns are like drugs. If people want them, they will find a way to get them, but it absolutely couldn’t hurt to put more laws and better laws in place. Let’s follow the example of Australia where there are now strict gun control laws. They haven’t had anything of the caliber like what we are continuing to see in the United States since 1996.

I am irate that this keeps happening. I am sad that it happened in my community. I am beyond enraged that it keeps happening over and over again. We send up thoughts and prayers, and then it happens again and we repeat the cycle. This should NOT be our new normal. We need more than thoughts and prayers. We need actions! We need unity in that action. We need peace of mind. We need more kindness and understanding. We needed it decades ago, and we need it now more than ever. If you are able to help victims of this tragedy, I recommend donating to this gofundme page that was created by the sheriff and Steve Sisolak, who is currently the Clark County Commission Chairman. I have many additional thoughts, but there is a lot that is still processing at the moment. My main thought is more of a hope. A hope that we can see an end to this type of senseless violence and soon; and also that lawmakers will start putting their constituents needs above their own needs and discontinue receiving donations from organizations like the NRA.