This is not the appropriate time to write. The appropriate time to write would be after deliberate reflection, studious investigation, and thoughtful processing. This is not that time.
I cannot deliberately reflect. I cannot find the peace of mind or the space or the energy to come up with pithy summative statements encompassing all I know and believe.
I cannot studiously investigate because the facts are not in, and even if they were, our current media design does not allow for pure truth. Half-truths by omission are the journalism standard. No longer can satire be recognized as a separate entity; our talking heads only know sarcasm. Our debaters only speak in “gotchas.” We The People only know how to point at others. We do not seem to know how or want to know how to look at our own reflections in the mirror. We cannot bear to stare hard enough into our own eyes.
I cannot thoughtfully process because there is no time. There is no silence. There is no breath. Moments before the idea of one more murder sinks in, another senseless killing occurs. I cannot catch my breath.
There are not enough words in the English language to describe this cesspool of emotion.
This is not how people should be. This is not how we are.
And yet, it is so clearly how we seem to be. We insist that All Lives Matter. But the evidence proves otherwise.
If all lives mattered, we wouldn’t arm ourselves so eagerly in order to destroy our perceived threats. If all lives mattered, we wouldn’t shoot first and ask questions later. If all lives mattered, we would make the personal sacrifices we needed to make in order to keep us all safe. If all lives mattered, we wouldn’t be tempted to say “all lives matter.”
All lives don’t fucking matter. It is clear.
Only my life.
Only my life matters. That is what we really mean. That is what we really believe. We pretend that we are arming ourselves in order to protect our families, even though the statistics alarmingly show that more people die in houses with guns. We are not protecting our children. We are putting them in arm’s length of their own suicide. We are putting them at the mercy of the whims of their hormones. We are putting ourselves at a terrible risk.
But, we have hubris. We believe that we are rational at all times. And we believe that, in any event (robbery, arrest, psychosis, depression, loud noises in the bathroom) we will be the rational one, with a calm head and a steady hand, and we will save our own lives. Because only that: only our own singular insular lives are what truly matters.
I dare you to prove otherwise. I dare you to put down your gun and stop insisting that you have all the answers. I dare you to turn off the pundits and put down your phone and sweat in the silence and stare into your own eyes. I dare you to hold your child’s hand and tell them the truth, the honest truth -- all of the terrible truths -- about our nation. I dare you to face the horrors that we have inflicted upon so many and the horrors that we continue to perpetuate. Do not wait for the appropriate time. There will never be an appropriate time. This is not the appropriate time.
Do it anyway.