Mass Shooting

ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING: It’s Time to Change the Conversation

There was a loud noise in the back of my church Sunday. We were right in the middle of the service, so it was a little alarming. I still don’t know what it was. Maybe a hymnal falling on the floor or a door shutting, but it startled me.
That’s when I started to imagine it.
I saw us all jumping to the floor as an unseen person from the back took shots. I imagined my husband and I diving to cover our children. Then I thought of the aftermath, and how quickly a small congregation like ours could be decimated. How entire families would be lost.
That’s when I shook back to reality and mentally scolded myself for those awful, paranoid thoughts.
I hate to admit it, but I have them often now. Anytime I hear a loud noise and I’m in a public place. Like the balloon that burst during the Parkinson’s Foundation walk I attended Saturday or the falling chair at the mall last week. I hear the sound and then the What Ifs play out in my head.
I scold myself. I tell myself I’m being morbid and paranoid.
But yesterday, right around the same time that the What Ifs were playing out in my head, they were playing out in someone else’s reality.
My stomach lurched when I heard about Sutherland Springs, just as I’m sure yours did. We are all shocked and horrified, but are any of us really surprised?
We aren’t because, for some reason, this is what happens today. This is the world we live in and despite the legislation battles that will wage now, then slowly die off until the next shooting, nothing will change.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Nothing. Will. Change.
Is that really what we want? And before anyone takes this opportunity to spout some pro or anti-gun mantra, let me remind you that it isn’t working. Every comment about guns that’s been screamed into the void of social media or printed on a bumper-sticker has changed nothing.
We have to change this conversation because the one we’re currently having is allowing people to die.
But what if there was a way to work together to stop this madness?
What if there was a way to stop the killing that had nothing to do with Gun Legislation, Politics or the NRA?
I’m not saying that I have any ideas. I don’t. We still know too little about this whole phenomenon. What drives a person to do this? How do they go unnoticed? How are they able to amass enough firepower for a militia without someone catching on?
I don’t have the answers but I do know one thing:
It will happen again.
I don’t know what to do to fix this, but I do know that this country is filled with some of the brightest people in the world. Maybe if we stopped fighting long enough to talk, we could agree on something ourselves, instead of waiting for a law to fix things.
There has to be a way to stop the madness and we have to stop fighting long enough to find it. When cooler heads prevail, Americans can do anything we want. This is the greatest country in the world and we are capable of anything when we put our minds to it.
But as of right now, I don’t feel safe here anymore.


  1. Julie, this piece is so powerful, soul-touching. Your vision of cooperation as opposed to all the fighting undoubtedly echoes the prayers of so many. (And you are really a good writer. I want to say so much about that fact, and someday I will.)

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