Oregon Shootings: Thoughts and prayers are not enough

That’s what Obama said in response to the shootings at an Oregon Community College this morning. The President said “Thoughts and prayers are no longer enough in such situations because they do nothing to stop similar attacks.” As I write this, the Chicago Tribune reports at least nine are dead including the gunman. The story has changed three times since I read the headline late this afternoon.

“Shooting at Oregon College….” I began to well up and my jaw set into a firm lock. Again. We are here. Again. How is this even possible? I’m sick of it, I’m sad because of it, and I’m weary.

My first thought was of my two children. Teenage students. One two years from college. I refuse to worry every day they go to school – a pact I made with myself after Sandy Hook. There is already so much to think and worry about with kiddos. I remember thinking, while sitting on the sofa watching the horror of the Sandy Hook shootings, “If this can happen to these babies, it can happen to mine.” After a lot of bewilderment and tears, I decided to keep on going, to keep moving forward. I didn’t know what else to do.

My next thought was of the students I see every day. I work at a college and am surrounded by curious, smart, funny young adults. Everywhere I go on campus, including my own office, there are posters describing protocol on what to do if there is an active shooter on campus. I get the chills every time I see them. And I see them a lot. Every day. Am I immune? Am I desensitized? No. I still get the chills. I still ask ‘Why?’

And here we sit. Again. Tonight. The reporters with solemn faces. Bloggers like me writing. Politicians making comments without really saying ANYthing. And it makes no sense to me.

It makes no sense our country has mass shootings every few months in schools, movie theaters and churches. It makes no sense that we cannot find a way to change our gun laws so that people can obtain and own guns safely. It makes no sense to me and I feel helpless and angry and weary.

I listened to President Obama tonight and he makes sense. Can we take off the screens of Democrat, Republican, Independent, Conservative, Liberal, Christian, Muslim, Jew? Can we just listen to some common sense?  Just listen for a moment? Just a moment.

Does it make sense we are the only civilized country without sufficient gun regulations to prevent mass shootings? Does it make sense I want to live in a country where I don’t fear our kids are going to get killed when they go to school? Does it make sense I am even posing these RIDICULOUS questions?

I am sad and I am weary.  I read, I listen, I learn. I vote. I pray. It isn’t enough. I don’t know what to do. YET.

I want to focus on the solutions. Who out there can create a solution? Who out there is bold enough, courageous enough to find solutions and bring them forward? I don’t know the solution. I have to leave that to the experts, the people in politics, the lawmakers. I want to support you. Please take some action and let me.

I will think of the families of the victims of today’s shooting. I will pray for them too. It’s not enough, I know. I will remain hopeful.

Are you hopeful? Do you have a solution? Does any of this make sense to you?

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