Los Angeles There’s a point when people get numb. Not so much used to something as feeling it is inevitable. Reading the news about another school shooting, this time in suburban Houston where more young people were killed, I was most struck by a young woman who was interviewed while sheltered saying, “we wondered when this would happen here.”
How chilling. To think that part of the current generation’s experience of their time in a suburban public high school includes not just football games, endless exams, proms, and the questions of what happens next in life, but wondering if you could be killed by random violence. That’s part of the package now, and after watching the protests from young people in Florida after the tragedy there, there seemed some hope of change. Even Florida seemed to be getting the message. Maybe now, Texas might.
I say “might” because although this constant expectation of random violence is now an increased part of public school education, it is not a new phenomenon in the suburbs. Worse, the expectation of potential violence has been a common part of the program in many large, urban high schools for years, and other than finger pointing from the conservatives, it never prompted reforms or gun control.
The President ordered flags at half-staff in Texas and elsewhere, but that’s neither program nor prevention. In fact, the little said in the wake of this most recent tragedy makes me feel that the level of resignation has risen. It has probably gone past young high school students watching friends and classmates killed for no reason to have now infected all of us. This is the way America is now. This is what happens and will keep happening.
Where is the tipping point that forces changes in mental health programs and support for alienated and troubled young people? Where is the program that makes it harder to access guns and restricts them sufficiently to insure both public and private security?
I don’t know, but I can’t believe we are going to continue to watch the body count rise without demanding and forcing change.