I’m so tired of these stories. I’m tired of the body count always increasing. I’m tired of constant inaction other than #prayersforsandyhook #prayingfororlando #thoughtsforlasvegas.
The prayers and Facebook filters don’t clean up the blood of the streets, or return the parent of a child. We claim to feel for the ever-increasing count of these victims all the while insulating ourselves from the reality through our screens.
There are problems in this country. There are problems around the entire world, but reveling in the fear and attempting to distance the truth by looking at trending topics rather than discovering the sources of the infection that are allowing these outbursts to become more and more common in our country.
It is not the fault of the liberals or conservatives. It is the fault of every single person who refuses to listen because they will always assume they are the smartest one in the room. The fault of every person who uses false patriotism or theatrical sympathy as a shield rather than trying to compromise.
We can’t keep saying these are “one-off” random events, because that obviously isn’t true since “the largest mass shooting in modern history” gets a new title owner every year.
We have to regulate our firearms in some way because what we have right now sure isn’t working. Handling a gun is not evil, but that skill needs training and knowledge of the weapon. Guns need to be treated with the utmost respect and caution, and I’m not sure why the idea of more responsible and educated gun owners is one that is so contentious.
The mental health system in the United States is improving, but the limited resources and social stigma of “being broken” exacerbates already tenuous mental well-being during these already over stimulating times. The pressure of “smiling through it” or “manning up” allow the degradation of the sense of self and limit people from seeking the help they need.
Watching the world crumble through the lens of social media without critical analysis of the information you have being jammed down your throat is breaking apart the country. Inflammatory opinion pieces, unverified reports and online surveys are not factual and are not viable sources no matter how much they validate your own feelings. Someone thinking differently from you does not mean that the experiences and information they have is wrong. We all are more similar than you would think, and despite what some extremist trains of thought may lead us to, these differences will not destroy the country.
Whether you “take the knee” or stand with your hand on your heart, the only thing that is not patriotic is plugging your ears so you can only hear your own voice.
Last night I laid awake thinking about the usual fears that creep into your mind when there is only darkness to keep you company. The climate is changing, the oceans are acidifying, people fight over personal beliefs of celebrities without looking at their own, vitriol and ignorance shred any possibility of beneficial discussion across comment sections of the internet, all while a person’s face and name are paraded around with new-found infamy as the new high score holder for fear and chaos.
The population is growing at an unsustainable rate, overfilling this planet with mouths, many without enough food and even more that spout blind and venomous ignorance. Maybe this is the next great plague. The closing off of minds and walking the same path we have always used until we insulate ourselves in a canyon of only what we want to hear.
Marta Schaub grew up in a small town in northern Utah where she attended Utah State University, but has since lived in Salt Lake City to pursue her career in biological research.