Thursday, February 15, 2018


I'm driving southward on one of my jillions of business trips between home and Eugene. My nerves have been frazzled for days...sick dog, loan papers, taxes due, house hunting, retirement looming. I decide to take the long way, because driving on the freeway just...makes me nuts.  I drive in silence, snaking along the scenic backroads of Washington and Yamhill country. I feel myself unwind, relax, give in to the rumbling rhythm of the Cummins diesel...sigh!  Better now.

By and by, I decide I'd like a little company, because if I kick around my own thoughts, I end up edging back into that place of tension and jangled nerves. So I turn on the radio. NPR. And am immediately assailed by the news of yet another school shooting. This one in Florida. A nice suburban school. A quiet, safe community...except not today. Many injuries, many dead. Oh my god.

Not again.

I turn the radio off. I can't hear this right now.

I get to my sister's house, we put dinner in the oven and sit down in front of the TV. BIL is, as usual, tuned to Fox News. And they are doing non-stop coverage and analysis of the Florida school shooting. I can't watch...can't listen. We switch to the Olympics on NBC.

Do I hate myself that it's come to this for me--turn it off, don't listen, don't watch? Maybe. But...what's the point? Why get outraged? Why have the same conversations over and over again, why hear the same "thoughts and prayers" sent out over the airwaves, why care? Nothing ever gets done. No solutions are ever offered. The death match between right and left heats up and then cools down...with each mass murder, the argument is a little less heated; people care a little less and turn away a little more quickly. School shootings are just part of the new normal in our god-forsaken, crumbling world. You can only get so worked up about something what it is. 

A friend posts her shock and disbelief.  Really? I ask.  How can anyone be surprised by this, in light of the naked hatred spewed between groups with opposing ideologies in this country today? All we do on social media--and EVERYONE (including and particularly the POTUS) is on social media--is bully and threaten and demean each other. Our children are not growing up in a vacuum. They are being formed by the divided and violent society in which they are being raised.

Another friend posted--god help us...we've got it all wrong. All of it.

God help us indeed. Because we sure as hell can't help ourselves.

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