Yesterday in Boulder, 10 people were killed in a grocery store after a shooter decided to enter and open fire.
It is tragic and horrific. It is a struggle to not feel completely desensitized and apathetic.
But what can we possibly do if we want to preserve the sanctity of free market capitalism and skyrocketing profits for the gun industry? We live with the tacit understanding that gun lobbyists write the very laws by which the government supposedly regulates the gun industry. We are reminded by pro-life conservatives about their love of freedom and the importance of shareholder value. Capitalism dictates that the right to profit supersedes the right to live.
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This is the norm that I have lived with for nearly my entire life. In the US, they condition us early to live with fear. Along with fire drills and tornado drills, I remember practicing “intruder drills” beginning in elementary school. From at least the age of 9 or 10, our teachers would periodically have us gather in the corner of the classroom, turn off the lights, close the windows, and lock the door.
We waited. Anxiously. A few quiet whispers from my classmates, hushed by our instructor. Huddled together, we continued to wait. Abruptly, the doorknob aggressively shook. Was someone trying to get in, or was this part of the drill? Then silence again. This time, no whispers. We avoided the small rays of sunshine peaking through the curtains into our dark classroom, afraid we might be seen. Still, silent. This is a drill… right? Moments later, a voice on the intercom would announce that the drill is over. The lights turned on, and class resumed as if nothing ever happened.
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After two decades, “intruder drills” are the most ingenious and most effective solution we have developed to address gun violence, but there is one critical flaw — we never practiced them in grocery stores. (Nor in movie theaters. Nor at hotels and festivals.) If we had, who knows how many lives could have been saved yesterday in Colorado.
This is America. Returning to normal.
Stay tuned for Part 4, I am sure it will not be long.
Update 24 March 2021
Apparently, Boulder was the 7th mass shooting in 7 days in the US. I did not see the others in the news. I suppose this has become such a common, mundane occurrence that only a few are able to make national (or international) headlines. I decided I will not be publishing a Part 4. I think it is clear that America is back.