Wanting to retreat

posted by Jeff | Sunday, August 4, 2019, 12:51 PM | comments: 0

There was only one notification on my phone when I woke up this morning. It was from the New York Times, mentioning the shootings in Dayton, a day after those in El Paso, and a few more after the deaths in Gilroy.

This is not unfamiliar territory. On the morning of June 12, 2016, Facebook was encouraging me to check in and mark myself "safe," for reasons that weren't immediately clear. A few minutes later I was watching TV, where every local affiliate was on Orange Avenue, blocks away from where Diana and I work, reporting that someone shot a bunch of people at Pulse, and no one was really sure how bad it all was. Knowing that Pulse was primarily a gay nightclub, I frantically started checking the social media of my local friends, hoping they were OK. By Tuesday, I found all of my friends were not involved, but they were far from fine. It was their community that was attacked, and few people were more than one person away from someone who had died.

The next few days will be predictable. People rightfully outraged by the violence, especially given its hate and racist fueled origins in El Paso, will demand action. Gun rights advocates will insist that there's nothing anyone can do, that the guns aren't the problem. They might even suggest more people should be armed, which is a wholly insane suggestion when it happens in a Walmart in Texas.

And then nothing will change.

The same cycle will occur with the environment, which is also objectively in trouble. Money in politics will continue to keep the system broken, and it won't change either. The president will say something else that's racist, and people will cheer him on.

I look at my boy, and wonder how things are going to turn out for him. I'm not optimistic. I thought that after the last recession, we as a society were moving in a responsible and accountable direction. In the last four or five years, I've seen the opposite. It makes me want to retreat into a cocoon somewhere, sleep it off, and hope things are better when I wake up. Hope, unfortunately, is not a strategy.


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