Soul Screaming

I was at Planet Fitness when I heard about Sutherland Springs
Screen #8, in-between NASCAR and the Food Network
Up to 26 dead in church shooting
I immediately become exhausted

Another mass shooting; another reason to feel sick in the soul
The word calamity should presume a rare occurrence
But I’ve already lost count of how many times it’s happened this year
What is the word we should use when catastrophe becomes routine?

The exercise machines around me continue to pump and buzz
But everyone shares in the same silence
A troubling cognitive dissonance permeates the atmosphere
No one looks away, but like in life, no one wants their rhythm disrupted

A dark question on everyone’s mind  no one wants to acknowledge
We, who have been lucky enough to maneuver the minefield of tragedy
We, who are forever distant to such a crestfallen community
How much should we care?

The globalization of news often feels like Sisyphus’s curse
We have unlimited access to the world’s problems
With finite power to fix them
Push the boulder enough and you’ll want to believe it doesn’t exist

But this shooting hit close to home
One stray bullet travelled 1,000 miles and grazed my apathy
A pregnant women, multiple young children, 26 innocent people
While worshipping the God-man who told us to turn the other cheek

I open my mouth to say something
And send a wordless breath into the ether
I realize that I’m not even sure of the questions
Let alone the answers

Some people are calling for less prayer and more action
As if these two things are mutually exclusive
Others are claiming that gun control will never work
A tacit admission that we’ve let this problem get too big to control

Some are saying we shouldn’t even talk about it
As if dialogue and political gain are the same thing
A cheap excuse to dodge the proverbial bullet
When justice demands some kind of retribution

Complexity gets reduced to simplicity
And dividing lines kill progress
Those in the middle experience crossfire from both sides
And become enemies to two states of extremes

I like guns – guns are fun – guns save lives
I hate guns – guns are dangerous – guns destroy innocence
I lie to my conservative friends and tell them I own one
I lie to my liberal friends and say I do not because of morals

But the truth of the matter is
I’ve never wanted a gun more than I do now
While at the same time
I’ve never wanted them abolished more than I do now

I open my mouth to say something
I feel like it’s important
Not because I have anything new to contribute
But because my soul needs to scream

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