Round and round in circles: Gun violence in the USA
To make one mistake is human. To make the same mistake twice is normal, to repeat the same mistake eighteen times is what exactly? Round and round in circles.
And so another school shooting in the United States of America, another suspect youth showing outward signs of instability destroying seventeen families in the eighteenth such incident in 2018, an average of one incident every sixty hours. Another scene of terrified teenagers running screaming for their lives from a school building, another psychopathic sociopath having access to automatic weapons. Another massacre, another tragedy.
More tears, more families destroyed, some of which will split up unable to take this most violent assault to their collective womb, more questions unanswered. More rage, more disbelief, more denia before the gentle cloak of acceptance comes with time. No more Christmases or Thanksgivings, more empty places at the table, more bedrooms left empty with unfulfilled promises and disused computer games and soccer shirts and baseball bats standing in the corner, as if composing a shrine.
More shaking hands, more shaking heads, more heads bowed in utter defeat, more broken hearts, more broken homes, more silence, more funerals, more unfinished lives, more early graves. Seventeen bodies carried to their last resting place in a crematorium or in a graveyard, in coffins bedecked with flags and emblems and colors now irrelevant.
More mothers reduced to human wrecks, trembling and unable to face the daylight, hiding terrified behind drawn curtains, the pride of their lives and the reason for their being torn away from them in the cruellest of ways slain in a place they were supposed to be protected, more fathers unsure of their role in a half-empty family, aware that they could not protect their kids when they were most needed, aware that their own flesh and blood was slaughtered, absolutely terrified beyond comprehension, panic-stricken, defenseless as the bullets ripped through their bodies and made their blood vessels and organs explode inside them as they collapsed to the ground in a torrent of blood.
More siblings questioning themselves and why were they not the ones taken and how do they deserve their place on Earth if their brother or sister could not even finish high school in safety, questioning whether their grieving mother and father would mourn them in the same way, more mothers and fathers asking silently and guiltily why it was Mark and not Adam who did not come back that day, why it was Maggy and not Anne?
Round and round in circles.
To make one mistake is human. To make the same mistake twice is normal, to repeat the same mistake eighteen times is what exactly?
More rosy cheeks suddenly wan and sullen and sunken, strangely gray, more pairs of eyes at the same time defiant and defeated and asking why, glazed over with a haze which fails to cover a broken heart. More unopened letters, more bags of clothes delivered to the local church so that other kids can wear them when they are murdered next week or month or year.
More desperate telephone calls, more tearful messages on social media praising the son or daughter who just that morning walked off confident to what was supposed to be a sanctuary but in just a few minutes became a morgue and a slaughterhouse. More memories of those trusting hands which ten years before had searched the hand of the mom or dad as the road was crossed or as a shopping trip began.
More memories of holidays spent in bliss, more missed kisses, more broken plans, more destroyed futures, more poring over old photographs lovingly tracing the short life, stolen, more laughter heard at an ever-increasing distance, silence now, and crying and tears and hollowness and emptiness.
A void, unbearable pain, nothing to hold on. It's all gone. Shall I take that bottle of pills and be done with it, shall I drive the motorbike into a tree, shall I smash the car against the wall and end it all right now? They say I must keep on living and loving... Will you see me now from Heaven and just let me know how?
Round and round in circles.
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.