Other People’s Death

I can’t imagine what you’re going through.

You hear that over and over and over again, like a hamster running on a wheel, there’s no aim to it. Just something to say, something to do. And you’re hear it so many times it almost feels like there should be a response. Something like…

If you can’t imagine it, why do you talk like you do?

It’s a numbing feeling, to hear of people dying, all together, seconds apart. We don’t want know to know the names, we don’t want to hear the families, we don’t want to connect our conscience to the reality and rawness of it. When our children come back from school, we don’t want to thank God, because that would mean facing the possibility that this won’t always happen. We don’t want to run to every phone, feel our hearts beat faster in our chest when there’s a knock on a door, we don’t want to feel helpless. But death after it’s happened isn’t something you can help.

Death is theoretical until you see the holes it creates. So we talk about it like it’s a theoretical problem, not real, not really happening. Like there aren’t coffins being ordered and graves being built. We get mad at others and say it’s because we feel the loss boiling the blood in our veins, but that’s not really true. When you take in the reality of death, it drains every ounce of energy from your body, makes your thoughts run slow, your movements mechanical, you keep breathing out of habit, you keep living and wonder how you’re doing it. If you’re even really doing it.

I’ve never thought every argument was worth dying over, yet we still treat our arguments like they’re worth other people’s deaths. And we spread out the burden of our uselessness on other people’s families, like bees spreading pollen, no way to discriminate or track the projection. I know the screams come from the need to not feel helpless, but how can we not when our words aren’t actually helping? We say people don’t care, and I don’t believe that’s true, but I always thought necessity produced results. And now I’m not so sure, because I see this happening and happening, so much so that not every shooting is reported anymore, and still there’s no sense of urgency. Just more people talking like we’re inside a philosophy classrooms, just kids playing with ideas, instead of adults playing with lives.

See, I can’t imagine it either and I’m still talking. I get it, I do. But I don’t want the pattern to continue at the rate it’s going now, I don’t want to repeat useless words to my friends if it happens to their children. I don’t even know what to say to them now, because I can’t imagine the terror when you see the statistics growing like a new plague that’s harder to cure because there’s no science to this.

I know you care, I do, I’m just telling you to care enough to try something new. Because this? It’s not working anymore. It never actually was.

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