Those were the words said by my 16-year old daughter three hours after a shooter entered our local Kroger, killed one woman and shot 13 others, before taking his own life.
Just a few hours after the shocking tragedy rocked our little suburb, she was sad, but matter-of-fact about it. As we sat in her car, waiting the necessary 30 minutes after her allergy shot, I started the conversation by asking her how she felt.
“It was inevitable, Mom. We knew it would happen.”
When I said, “You never think it really will.”…
…. she said, “Well, we do, kids my age do… You grew up in a time when mass shootings were unheard of, or at least rare. We have never known a world without mass shootings happening all the time. We assume it will happen close to us in our lifetimes.”
I slowly shook my head, knowing what she said was so true and feeling an unbelievable sadness that she and her little sister lived this reality.
When we got home, I asked her sister how she felt. She first said it was so sad, but then shrugged and said, “If leaders aren’t going to do something about guns, then what should we expect? We have always had mass shootings, and nothing happens.”
We are living in this sad reality, stuck holding on to an archaic translation of a line in the Constitution, watching people take deadly weapons into crowded places, taking some lives, shattering others, and yet, we do nothing meaningful.
While my daughters spoke the sad truth, our governor responded to questions about the recently enacted “permitless carry” law that went into affect in our state July 1st, with these words:
“[The] constitutional carry bill applies to law-abiding citizens. What happened yesterday was criminal activity, violent criminal gun activity, and those are separate issues.”
I read this to my 14-year old child. Even she saw the problem with this statement.
I want to be clear that we don’t yet know if this new law helped the shooter in the Kroger shooting. We do know it didn’t hurt him.
I’m not sure when real action will be taken to keep people safe. I’m not going to claim to know all the answers.
I do know that when my 14-year old and I went to a different grocery store in a different town, she walked out with a confession:
“That was harder than I thought it was going to be. I was nervous it would happen in there.”
Schools, stores, venues… it can happen anywhere.
Doing nothing, or making it easier to get deadly weapons, does not seem to move us in a safer direction.
For those wanting their 2nd amendment rights to protect yourself, you know that you could get a permit legally and get a gun. You know looser gun laws are not necessary for you law-abiding citizens.
Most people I know that want changes to gun laws do not want gun rights taken away. We want training, universal background checks, waiting periods… we want mental health to be addressed… we want to DO SOMETHING.
I hope that my children’s generation will be able to come together and figure out real solutions. I hope they can find a way to take care of the mentally ill… of those who need mental health support… and also make deadly weapons harder to get.
However, I hate that I’m putting my hope on them. It seems we are leaving a lot for them to clean up.
And, in the meantime, they will continue to shrug off something that we all find shocking… because their reality is:
This happens all the time and our leaders do nothing about it.