On October 1, in the southern part of my home state, there was yet another mass shooting on school grounds. At Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR, 9 people have been confirmed dead, including the shooter. My feelings are unclear. My initial reaction within my first few moments of hearing this are “Holy sh*t. That’s f*cking terrible.” However, after those moments subsided, I was overcome with a sensation far more disturbing.
To be honest, when I saw the headlines on my Facebook feed about the tragedy- hell, I almost can’t type because I feel ashamed. I am ashamed because my interest had a distinct flavor of curiosity rather than grief. I was hungry for the graphic details and ready to swallow whole the reaction of the nation. There was no pain yet. And I wasn’t anticipating any pain at all. Another day, another shooting. That’s what life is like here. And it’s not even foreign to us Oregonians.
I am no heavyweight proponent of gun control nor am I especially gun-happy. My parents own guns. I’ve gone to shooting ranges and have fired a variety of weapons – and it was always a good time. I do believe there needs to be something done about gun education if access to guns is going to be so easy. However, I do not have strong, specific feelings either way about the state of guns in the United States. The shift to focusing on mental health is a good start, but again, I am not yet informed enough to have very pointed opinions on the matter.
But now, as I’m writing this 7 hours after the shooting happened, I am sad. I am sad that those 17 people and the surrounding community had to experience that. I am sad that shooting people can be so easy. I am sad that I have felt numb. It is a selfish feeling, but a nagging part of me fears for my own humanity. Wouldn’t a more compassionate, human person have felt more appropriate feelings? My rational mind can tell me about systematic desensitization, but my heart still wonders. It still wonders if it does enough.
I cannot say with complete truth that my heart goes out to all affected by this terrible event. I am still not entirely sure what I do feel. But I am learning, listening my hardest to hear the sounds of that inevitable thump in my chest. There is no reason such atrocities should continue to happen so often. We deserve better. I just hope we – I – can learn fast enough.
- 10 dead, 7 hurt in school shooting in Roseburg | OregonLive.com
- Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon: what we know | Vox
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