thunderstorms, fireworks, and mass shootings
It's Monday today, the Fourth of July.
I was out walking this evening and people in my neighborhood were setting off fireworks in the middle of a brewing thunderstorm. It's admirable (?) I guess, that people have this much will to celebrate what to me seems like a particularly dark year in our country's history (even to my myopic eyes).
What might be even more American is the mass shooting that unfolded in Highland Park, Chicago today during a Fourth of July parade. It seems like they all follow the same script: a large event with lots of people; an extremist with an unnecessarily powerful firearm; and subsequent partisan bickering and handwringing. And then we forget about them within a week's time, because how can we not when they happen week in, week out? Just hearing fireworks today put me on edge; their loud bangs remind me uncomfortably of gunfire. The only way to not go on living life on high alert and in constant fear is to numb our shock by desensitizing ourselves to the news.
What's more, the casualties in the Highland Park shooting didn't even comprise the bulk of the casualties of gun violence in Chicago this holiday weekend. But only this one made the news because it occurred in during a public event in a wealthy area. The vast majority of gun violence in Chicago isn't even newsworthy anymore.
Six, seven people were shot in Denmark yesterday, too, but that was their first mass shooting in many years. To think that we topped that number in a matter of hours! And the outburst over Europe has already eclipsed our short-lived, weary reaction.
Do things really have to be like this? It's hard not to lose hope when things like this happen over and over again and nothing ever changes.