I want to follow up my previous post with a commentary on the true cost of shootings. As we now know, 2 Kentucky high school students were killed and 18 injured by a 15 year old with a gun on Wednesday. Let me say that again- 2 killed and 18 injured by one 15 year old with a gun.
There is no logical or reasonable explanation for what happened that day. Nor is there ever an explanation that makes any common sense for why a young person with access to a gun they should not been able to access takes it to a school and shoots peers. Surely they are not thinking about the consequences of their actions. They are in the moment of whatever was in their heads to cause them to massacre other innocent human beings.
The true cost of this culture that exists almost exclusively in America, is, of course, death and devastation that affects families and friends for the remainder of their lives. The true cost is the phone calls that change lives forever.
A Kentucky mother got a phone call from her dying daughter during Wednesday’s massacre- a call no parent should have to remember:
“She called me and all I could hear was voices, chaos in the background,” Bailey’s mother, Secret Holt, told ABC affiliate WKRN on Wednesday. “She couldn’t say anything and I tried to call her name over and over and over and she never responded.”
A daughter whose last act was to try to talk to her parents. One cannot imagine what that would be like for the young girl whose life was violently snuffed out senselessly and avoidably.
A father spotted his son’s socks in an ambulance and knew what that meant:
Brian Cope knew it was bad when he spotted Preston’s socks in an ambulance as he and his wife, Teresa, reached the chaotic scene at the school, he told the Courier-Journal.They arrived not long before Preston, sprawled on a stretcher with a head wound, was pronounced dead en route to a Nashville hospital, the newspaper said.“Just senseless. it was just senseless,” Brian Cope told the Courier-Journal.
Senseless. How many times have we said that and I have written that?
For one family, the phone call will forever be a nightmare. It is only one part of the cost of shootings and gun violence in America that far too many families experience every day. My family has experienced the phone call- a phone call I will never forget. I will never forget the voice of my sister’s son telling me to sit down while he delivered the news of my sister’s death in a domestic shooting.
For the other, hearing about a school shooting via media ( not sure how) or some kind of message that they should not have had to hear wondering if their own son was a victim.
Those killed will never experience another sunrise or a sunset. Families and friends will grieve and try to deal in the best way they know how with the devastating loss of their son, daughter, sister, mother, brother, aunt, friend, husband, wife….. In time, they will be able to enjoy the simple things in life like enjoying a sunrise, eating out, traveling, family events, holidays, etc. It will be very difficult and nothing will be the same. The tears will flow unexpectedly in a moment of a fleeting memory or something to remind one of their lost loved one. A scene, a look in someone’s eyes, a person who looks eerily like the loved one, going to a place loved by the victim, a toast to the person killed at a family event, etc.
The true cost of gun violence and shootings is unimaginable. There are economic costs. There are emotional costs. There are court costs, health care costs, law enforcement costs, even the cost of cleaning up a horrific crime scene. Sandy Hook Elementary school was torn down after that massacre. Emergency responders suffer from PTSD after some of these deadly and bloody mass shooting. Too many memories.
The one article about the economic costs asks if America can afford the cost of gun violence? The answer is a resounding NO.
This is what gets lost in the ludicrous debate over gun rights. Those on the side of never agreeing to common sense laws that could save lives don’t get this reality. For them, it appears to be the cost of “freedom”. They are free to enjoy the sunrises and sunsets. They have no memories of a loved one whose life was violently and suddenly taken by someone with a gun in his/her hand loaded with bullets intended for innocent people whose only fault was being in the right place at the right time going to school, work, or wherever shootings occur suddenly.
It is not inevitable or normal for so many parents to lose children so violently in senseless and avoidable school shootings.
That is why I have been and will continue to work to make sure Americans get to see the sunrises and sunsets and enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We are better than this.