Whenever tragedy strikes America, mostly in the form of mass shootings, I have taken time out of my curriculum to foster a class discussion of the events. I have done this so regularly now that friends have started coming to me for advice about or to share their experiences with fostering such discussions in their own classes. Today, someone told me about a class conversation on this weekend’s Orlando shooting; my friend explained how the students were (as usual, and understandably) reluctant to speak out about how that tragedy made them feel, but then my friend made them write about their feelings, and the results were profound.
It reminded me that I had once done something similar with writing about a different mass shooting, and I had blogged about it. So I went to look up my old blog post and reread it.
And I noticed the date: February, 2008.
More than eight years ago.
And even then, my students and I were talking about how frightening it was that these things were happening with such increasing regularity, and how frighteningly blasé we were becoming about the horror we visit upon ourselves.
Eight years ago. And we’re still having — or refusing to have — EXACTLY the same conversation.
This is our complicity. This is our fault. This is our blood, in our streets and on our hands.
It is long, LONG past time for saying “Enough!” It has been enough for years and years. And we’ve known it, all this time.
I’m not going anywhere with this. I offer no insights, no calls to action. You know the insights. You know the actions. We have spoken out, we have demanded action, we have acted ourselves, and we will continue to do so.
But in the meantime, look at us. Look at who we are. Look at who we’ve become comfortable being.