I’m glad my son is only a toddler. That way I don’t have to explain recent events. I don’t even know if I could.
How do I explain someone murdering two people and posting corresponding video on Twitter? How do I explain the fact that I knew what happened, were already repulsed and horrified and knew that watching is exactly what the killer wanted, yet still watched?
How do I explain someone easily obtaining a gun, even though the place where his victims worked had him removed by police on his last day? It seems like that should be a major red flag.
How do I explain that the day before, a student held his classroom hostage? That this isn’t the first time something like this has happened, either. I’m glad my son isn’t old enough for school yet, or I’d have to worry about bullying, cyberbullying and a maladjusted youth getting fed up and taking it out on his schoolmates.
The largest chain of movie theaters in America is ramping up security measures after multiple atrocities. How do I explain that once he’s a teenager, worrying about drunk drivers and drugs won’t be enough? Now, I’ll be worrying that some crackpot is going to go off.
Is it about guns? Maybe, maybe not. Lots of people own guns, not all of them are murderers. Does it seem like it’s rather easy for someone clearly off his or her rocker to get easy access to a gun in certain states? Yes.
Our culture is certainly a part of it. The social media era certainly emboldens people to ratchet up hateful rhetoric and further ostracize people who already feel marginalized. When those people get pushed, bad things happen, with or without a gun.
How do I explain that the field of presidential candidates talk about ISIS and Russia and foreign menaces, when in the past year Americans have murdered each other at their jobs, church, the movies and on the streets? No Syrian or Iraqi has killed someone on American soil, yet I’m supposed to tell my son to fear the foreign boogeyman before looking at his surroundings with trepidation?
How do I explain a billionaire fraud seeking our nation’s highest office thinks it’s acceptable to take that dignity away from 11 million people and forcibly extricate them from our nation’s borders and there’s a sizable contingent of hateful folks claiming moral high ground, thinking that’s both feasible and right? It’s not.
How do I explain the dozen or so candidates that think refusing gay couples the right to live equally under the law is an acceptable campaign plank?
All I can explain to my son is that the most important thing we have is life and the joy that should entail. Every life matters. Every life has dignity. Every life should be treated with humanity. But how do I explain that there’s so many people out there willing to to take it away? That every second of life is so important and so precious, but can be taken away in an instant?