I like to think of myself as a writer. Words have always come easily. Often, it seems I couldn’t stop them even if I wanted to.
But today I have no words. Today, I must ask if someone, anyone, can give me the words. Help me.
How do I find the words?
How do I find the words to comfort the next parent of a child they sent off to school and had to pick up at the Medical Examiner’s office?
How do I find the words to comfort a seventeen-year-old girl whose biggest concern one moment was the color of her shirt and the next moment seeing her best friend’s blood staining the once perfect color?
How do I explain to a group of high-school seniors that their most memorable moment in school will be their terror at the sound of weapons firing, people screaming, and the coppery smell of blood and death?
How do I find the words to explain to the world how great America is when we let our children die for a concept no longer grounded in reality?
How do I find the words to make people understand our unwillingness to seek a solution to the violence that plagues this nation?
How do I find the words?
The truth is there are no words, no prayers, no political slogans, no constitutional arguments that will do this.
So, we have a choice.
We can either find the will to seek a solution or accept the reality it will happen, again and again and again, until we become so numb to the horror we no longer notice.
Then our lack of words, like our inertia in finding a solution, will say it all.
You could almost hear America breathe a sigh of relief with the “good” news of the latest school shooting. The sounds of high-fives echoing from the NRA serving as a rhythmic background to the glad tidings. Their fondest dreams come true.
A gun solved the problem. A police officer shortened what could have been a much more severe situation. Just two wounded kids, one in good condition and one in critical, and a dead bad guy is a cause to celebrate.
Nothing is good about this story.
A police officer faced his worst nightmare. He had no choice but to kill the 17-year-old suspect. The personal cost to his emotional well-being is something our ‘shoot’em up, kill five before breakfast’ flooded TV and movies don’t show.
There are no Dirty Harrys on Police Departments, and if there were we’d do everything we could to get rid of them.
Killing someone because it’s your job, be it a cop or a soldier, does not lessen the trauma. You can learn to live with it, but your humanity suffers. Only sociopaths enjoy killing a fellow human.
The NRA and those opposed to any review and restructuring of gun laws will point to this with a smile and say, “see, we told you. Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns.”
The implied message is two kids with bullet holes is better than five, or ten, or twenty.
But, like friendly fire as a cause of death in battle, those lying in the hospital might have a different perspective.
The outcome of this incident, through the brave actions of that police officer, is better than the possibilities if the officer had not been there. Let’s make sure that officer is both recognized for his courage and supported in his road to reconciliation with the trauma.
That some would take this as proof positive that guns solve violence is a sign of just how embedded the problem is.
The officer did what we expect cops to do, stop crime and prevent loss of life. The shooter is dead, understanding what drove him to such actions will be more difficult to understand but no less critical.
A seventeen-year-old should not be able to get his hands on a firearm. Laws already restrict that, but they can only go so far. Getting to the heart of the matter will take more than new rules. It will require a fundamental change in our approach to this phenomenon of gun violence.
Change starts with research and study. Backslapping celebrations of “problem solved” by a gun battle won by the good guys ignore reality. America should not be willing to merely hope for the same outcome on the next one, betting the lives of innocent victims on chance.
We can do more than be grateful for the limited number of victims here. The outcome was better than Parkland, better than Sandy Hook, better than Columbine.
It doesn’t make it a good outcome.
No law, no police force, no army of armed civilians can prevent every incident just by their existence. Until we understand the culture of violence seen here, something absent in most other modern societies, and work toward permanent solutions, nothing will change.
I, for one, see this as just as tragic as Parkland; more so, if we take this as a win.
Our nation is embroiled in a search for a solution to the problem of gun violence. As much as I hate to admit this, perhaps the answer lies in our vaunted Judeo-Christian tradition.
Maybe the solution has been here all along, but in our rush for the toys and pleasures of modern society; cell phones, Cable TV, drive-up fast food, America’s Got Talent, semi-automatic weapons, we’ve lost sight of the obvious.
All we need do is look to the Bible for the answer. Thoughts and Prayers, while comforting, are not enough. They are just a part of the solution.
They are the warm-up act for the real petition to the Almighty. The full invocation seeking holy intercession requires one more simple gesture.
The sacrifice of Virgins.
In the Old Testament, it tells us 37 times the Lord loves the pleasing aroma of burning flesh. Look it up; some are even in the red words.
It is the missing piece for a divine solution to our problem.
Think of the possibilities.
We can hold it twice a year on special holidays, Christmas and Ground Hog Day. Add one more memory to childhood.
We can have a torch run and a contest for the chance to “light the fire.” Jose Feliciano’s version of “Light My Fire” can be the soundtrack.
We can have corporate sponsors. “This year’s sacrifice is brought to you by Armalite.” Sort of a mea culpa for contributing to the problem.
We can have a food truck contest. Nothing like barbecue at the Barbecue.
We would make it humane. We’re not barbarians. It would give us something to do with all those Opioid painkillers Big Pharm couldn’t dump on America.
We can use a combination of wood and all that new coal we’ve been mining since the rejuvenation of the coal industry.
Selecting the Virgin could be the next Mega-hit, kicking my 600-lb Life to the curb.
Of course, like athletes having to pass drug tests, the aspiring sacrificees (if that is a word) would need certification to ensure we have a “virgo intacta.”
Male virgins cannot participate since it would be difficult to confirm their status, although you can usually tell by looking at them. Funny how life has made it so easy to place women at the forefront of our sacrificial needs.
If Virgins are too painful a choice, we might consider trying to sacrifice a member of Congress or the loser in the Presidential election. Undoubtedly among them are no virgins, certainly a harlot or two, but would God care if the “aroma” of the burning flesh is not “fresh meat?”
It might bring out the vote. We’d kill two birds with one….never mind.
Then again, now that I think of it, for the offering to be compelling it must be meaningful. Abraham’s almost sacrifice of his son serves as a guideline. Nobody would grieve Roast Member of Congress or former candidate.
Isn’t the main act in the second half of the Bible a hint at what we need to do?
At the very least, sacrificing a virgin reduces the death toll to a tolerable level. I mean, isn’t one or two killed a year better since we can’t stop it all? If there is something to this Judeo-Christian tradition, isn’t the Second Amendment an inspiration from God?
Maybe it was on the stone tablet Moses dropped as he backed away from the burning bush? (I might be mixing up my Bible stories, but you get my point.) Because, if it was a Commandment instead of an Amendment, you anti-gun weenies might feel a bit foolish.
Go ahead, mock my idea. But think about it. Not one civilization where the practice of Virgin Sacrifice took place ever experienced a school shooting.