When something tragic – like the events of last Friday – takes place, people start trying to make sense of it all. We point fingers, we attribute blame, we try and rationalise acts that cannot be rationalised.
In London the story broke early and stole the laughter that impending weekends bring right out of people’s mouths. There were tears, there was disbelief and there were intermittent bouts of silence. And then the rage came. As reports flooded in about the tools that were used to carry out the attack, there came the inevitable outcry of a nation unused to gun culture.
I read pages and pages of comments when the blame was assigned to lax gun laws and the President; to America’s unwillingness to do this and to stop doing that and I won’t lie, I can’t lie; I thought some of the same things. I dipped my toes in the same pool of utter confusion and fear and came to the conclusion that it is the weapons that are to blame.
Because in a world where planes are flown into buildings and scores of people are taken in seconds without warning, the alternative is too terrifying to face. That these acts are carried out by human beings is sometimes too much to bear.
He’s nothing like me, I thought more than once as the photos I had seen and the interviews I had watched played on a continuous and terrible loop in my head. Then, as bewildered questions about the motives of parents bringing their children to a late showing of a film began to filter in and as discussions began to splinter and eventually broke down into polarising slanging matches, I turned off my television and closed my browser tabs and thought not now, not today.
Sometimes, it is important to bow out of the politics and sit with your confusion, with your panic and with your disbelief and dispense with the “what ifs” and the “they should haves”. It is important to feel sad about a society that accepts violence as the norm and it is not only appropriate but necessary to mourn those (that we know or do not) whose lives have been cut short.
And in the midst of it all, it is important to remember that behind the gun, behind the monster, was a man; someone’s son, someone loved by people; someone that seemingly had no “issues” and who I thought was “nothing like me”. That perhaps he’s more like you and me than we would like to admit is what makes my heart heavy.
Thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Aurora shooting and to their friends and families.
This post was supposed to be my stance on all manner of things surrounding senseless tragedies like these: access to mental health treatment; gun control, even touching on those I have lost because of both. My feelings on both subjects haven’t changed but neither are they relevant here and that is a lesson in itself. I am glad that I can have those discussions with people I know will put forward measured opposition or who might think like me. People who are my friends regardless of what we believe. I’m thankful.
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Stereo. 20-something aspiring bon vivant. London based. Exceptionally Nigerian. Partial to snark. My default setting is "wry". Jeans and blazers are my uniform. Landlady. Speed reader, tuneless singer, hoarder of words, drinker of Schloer; I am suspicious of most people, have zero tolerance for tomfoolery, have a vast DVD collection, worship at the altar of Al Green, own too many bottles of nail polish, have small eyes, small ears and giant hair and owe approximately 86% of my awesome to the Parents Typewriter.
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