Thoughts and Prayers…

When I first started this blog I wanted to use it as an escape from the toxicity of daily life and the horror of the world around me. However, this afternoon, unfortunately my worst fear came to fruition when another shooting occurred in Florida at a Madden tournament. This is a horrible, tragic, and most importantly, avoidable incident. The huge outpouring of love and support from the video game community has been nothing short of astounding as many, many major outlets have expressed sympathy and condolences to those harmed in the events of today’s tragedy. The broad reaction from the community in regards to what happens from here is the most worrying aspect, however. Instead of mobilizing a vocal audience and acknowledging that this issue goes much further beyond video games. This is a major problem throughout the whole country, where the next mass shooting doesn’t feel like a matter of “if” more so than it is “when.”

My day job. The one that I use to pay the bills and ultimately keep me fed is in a school. It is such a fun job, however, there is always that fear in the back of my mind looking at my students that today may be the day where I have to give my life for theirs, every single day. And, while I would do so in a heartbeat to keep my kids safe, I shouldn’t have to. I shouldn’t have to worry about each and every single adult or child walking through my door wondering if they have a weapon on them. And this theme is everywhere you go in America, movie theaters, night clubs, churches, and now video game tournaments. It ultimately feels like nowhere in this country is safe anymore. An essential piece of the fabric of this nation has slowly been ripped away from the people of this country as more and more people believe that the only way to feel safe in this country is to stock up yourself. It is terrifying and days like today make me terrified of even leaving my home.

Thoughts and prayers are not enough, nor will they ever be enough. Real action is required to put an end to this gruesome and terrifying chapter of American history. Every other modernized country in the world has effective gun control that at least reduces on the sheer volume of gun violence, while the US government sits on their hands and pray. Something needs to be done, literally anything at this point. The American people overwhelmingly agree that common sense gun control laws would benefit the greater good in this country. However, the US government refuses to do anything and gives a false sense of futility when they are the only people in the position to actually do something about it. This is by far the most frustrating thing to see in the aftermath of these events. Seeing high profile senators and Congressmen acting like there is nothing that we as a country can do to fix this sickness that has seeped into the country. These are the men and women who have been chosen by their peers to be the ones to take action and try something when problems like this arise. And they look into the cameras and suggest that there is nothing to be done and we should just accept it as a facet of daily life.

The most horrifying imagery I have ever heard in the aftermath of a shooting was on CNN when describing the scene in the Pulse nightclub after their horrific shooting. An anchor described the sound of cellhphones contstantly ringing, with the calls of concerned family, friends, and others hoping, praying that their connection to this event has been spared, unfortunately many of those people’s worst fears were proven true. When a mass shooting happens, it isn’t just the people that are shot that die. There are little bits of these people that have affected many other people in their lives that have a hole in their heart because of gun violence. And, I genuinely pray that my family or myself never have to go through that. I am genuinely afraid of my nieces and nephew going to school because it could be their town next. The gun issue resonates in every single town and city in America and it truly is inescapable. Which is why something needs to be done, anything. During times like these, when I see a mass influx of people going online to comment “Thoughts and Prayers” I always choose to remeber what Stephen Colbert said in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre. “…Think about what you need to do, and pray for the courage to do it.” This isn’t an impossible problem to fix, many other countries have virtually solved this problem, with only a few months until November, I strongly encourage anyone reading this to register to vote. Democrat, Republican, Independent, your voice and vote matters. The only way to stop this problem is to acknowledge it and fight it head on, and if Congress won’t act, then it is time for the American people to vote in someone who will. Most importantly though, my sincere condolences to the families affected and I genuinely hope that those affected are able to find some sort of sense of peace soon.

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