Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m only wishing. Maybe it’s the higher level of compassion coming from people who’re at last expressing why they hurt so badly. Maybe ‘cause I’m wanting it to end right now, though I know it won’t. But, it just feels different.
We’ve had school massacres before. Too damned many of ‘em. Too many riddled bodies. Too much fibre and muscle and blood splattered all over school desks and walls where the only legitimate task at hand was supposed to be learning - not surviving. Too many futures ripped to shreds by a psychopath with no grasp on reality.
But the Florida shooting. The Florida tragedy. The flat-out Florida killing. There seems - at least to me - something different in the sorrow-filled aftermath. Almost a sense that “enough is finally enough!” That enough is, at last, too damned much!
Maybe it’s a sense of national disgust with a lot of things we’re facing at the moment. Maybe it’s the border-to-border feelings of revulsion felt by thinking Americans who love this nation, love their families, love their children and do so without waving around an assault rifle.
Media - commercial and “social” - are filled with something akin to rage. Editorial cartoons, in papers large and small, are attacking targets with a deliberate viciousness usually reserved for wartime or other national, world-changing events. With the lone, embarrassing exception of Fox News, we’re seeing and hearing from Americans truly in mourning. Searing descriptions of what those kids saw, felt and feared while classmates died next to them.
Even some of the loyalists of our cowering, self-serving, lying “commander-in-chief,” are expressing almost rational thought as they seem to realize that something "may be" different this time. That some sort of coda has been reached. Finally!
And the “thoughts-and-prayers” B.S.. Those who pipe up with those words are seen as playing “Whack-A-Mole” with their own head. Attempting to get off the hook by throwing out “thoughts and prayers” isn’t working anymore and those words are oft responded to by a foul epithet and a promise to “see you at the ballot box.”
But, the frosting on the cake is the thundering silence of the N-R-A. Not a word. Not a peep. Politicians who’ve drunk the kool-aid of hundreds of millions from that out-of-control cancer on the body politic are cowering even as the dollars fill their rotting pockets.
Still, most of all, it’s the kids. The Parkland kids who’re not only allowing themselves to be interviewed in the tragic aftermath but who’re seeking out national media for a platform from which they can express their outrage. Promising to aggressively take whatever actions they can to stop the killing.
While I doubt they can do much by themselves, they can - and I pray they will - be a continuing, outspoken catalyst for others who can be effective. Who can vote and who WILL vote to eliminate political N-R-A junkies. If the rest of us will pay attention, get up off our asses, stop complaining and DO SOMETHING, those kids can make an historic difference.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe the ghastly, bullet-filled time warp we seem to be in will continue. Maybe all this will die in a few weeks. Maybe we’ll forget. Again.
But, this time, to me, it just feels different.