Last year around this time, I wrote about my close encounter with a shooting at a club. The summary is one you’re probably familiar with. Crazy-ass niggas started fighting most likely over dumb shit that ended up with one of them pulling a gun popping into a crowd and injuring a person or two, some who probably weren’t even involved but was in the line of fire.
I’m sure you heard this bullshit before by local news or word-of-mouth. Some of you may have even witnessed it, have been victims yourself or knows someone who is or was. But it doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times it occurs, where it happens or how many people are shot and killed.
On the first Sunday evening of October 1st, Stephen Paddock unleashed a hell-storm of firepower on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas killing at least 58 people and wounding over 200 more. Media outlets would christen this as the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
I’m going to skip all the usual liberal observations. I’m not going to talk about how this was another tragic incident of white men with guns. I’m not going to talk about the privileges attached such as him being described as a mentally unstable lone wolf that doesn’t represent the entire whole. And I won’t bring up any double standards and what if scenarios if he was nonwhite. It’s not that I don’t cosign with such analyses. It’s just that I’m tired of the whole broken record.
Let’s be honest, mass shootings in America are more common than we would like to believe. Each time, a heavily armed terrorist, a white male most of the time, would unload gunfire into a group of unsuspecting people taking out as much of them as possible. Each time, the news would report on the incident and dig up as much about the shooter, particularly any history about his mental history. And we are urged by politicians to pray for the victims and their families and friends affected by the tragedy.
Yes, praying is always the go-to solution for gun violence. While I’m not against prayer or anyone who practices it – hell, I do it too – what has praying done so far, and what exactly are we praying for?
We live in a nation obsessed with guns and gun safety. We’re fed the same spoonfuls of NRA bullshit that having weapons will make us safer. We’re told that having a gun will protect us from, ironically, a “bad guy with a gun.” We’re even told what those “bad guys” look like. And we’re told that it’s your unalienable right to use it. Protect your life while snuffing out others is the American way.
Only the neverending stream of mass shootings and gun violence in general just proves how quick this nation plays fast and loose with firearms when men with burning hatred can obtain a gun and decides who lives and who dies. The hollowed pleas for mourning and prayer masquerade the compliance of leaders not to act and instead, heed those who profit the most not to impose stricter gun laws. And after days, weeks and even months of grieving, we will move on with our lives, until history repeats itself with another shooter in another place taking out more lives.
I live in an area where gun violence has happened and will likely occur. I remember one such incident where there was a drive-by shooting outside a club around the corner from my home. That club has long since been closed, and in its place, a church is installed. But I still remember hearing those gunshots as if it happened yesterday.
People in poor neighborhoods struggle to stop the violence. In low-income black communities, there have been movements and groups committed to ending the killing of their residents no matter who the killers are. Those people are familiar with the crisis that guns present. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the hands of “good guys” or “bad guys.” All that they know is that they’re in the hands of guys. Period. And any guy with enough rage in his heart and a loaded gun in his hand will make sure someone suffers. Whether they’re good or evil doesn’t matter. All that matters is that lives are being snuffed out as if they’re worth nothing.
Close to 60 lives were taken in one night by one man hellbent on taking out more. But don’t think this is isolated. As stated earlier, gun violence is frighteningly familiar in the U.S. As you read this, lives are being erased, and more lives will follow suit. Soon, another mass shooting will occur. Mourn. Pray. Move on. Repeat.