Have you seen this image by Vancouver illustrator Pia Guerra? A friend linked it yesterday on Facebook and I could barely breath after seeing it- it was like an elephant sat down on my chest. “So many of us want to meet you” says the little girl. So many of us.
Much like the twenty-four-hour news cycle we’ve all become accustomed to, as has become the saturation of mass shootings in America. We don’t even have the time to pause to reflect (aka “thoughts and prayers”) before the boots of the media are on the ground of the next location, collecting thoughts and prayers like the donation plate that gets passed around in church. As an American living elsewhere, I feel pretty impotent when it comes to being able to help in any way (non-bipartisan or not), other than by way of my pocketbook, which although is in fact the tiniest bit of something, feels like handing an anonymous body a floatie, when an entire country is drowning.
There’s not much more to say on this matter, as its all been said after each and every shooting, restated and regurgitated for so long that the words feel meaningless. Those who feel deeply saddened or enraged, or likely cycle back and forth between the two, are exhausted of their arguments ignored by those who are too busy counting their money or kissing their liberty guns to listen.
Watching the CNN clip of Emma Gonzales, a seventeen year old survivor of the latest mass school shooting at a student lead gun control rally, I felt ashamed that what is being labeled and marketed as courage is in fact a young girl who has been backed into a corner, pleading for her life and the life of her friends. Friends who are still of the age to make friendship bracelets like those on her wrist- the kind that young girls give each other at summer camp. It is extortionate and nauseating at best.
The UK has its own deficiencies to wade through when it comes to schools and government, and that can keep me up at night as well. There are sacrifices you make, conveniences you give up when you leave the US and choose to settle elsewhere. But gun control is not one of them.