By Briton Underwood of Punk Rock Papa
I want to be funny. I scan through the trending topics on social media, looking for a red cup fiasco or, at the very least, a child falling into an animal pit.
Instead I find photographs and stories of senseless murder. I see a country reeling on so many different levels.
I want to write a tell-all of the conference I went to. Be you at BlogU! The people I secretly didn’t like and the people I couldn’t believe I ever thought were anything short of wonderful.
Instead, I find myself reading article after article. Putting faces to forty-nine people who impacted someone’s life and are now impacting my life with their tragic and terrible fate.
I don’t want to be sad or make others sad. I don’t want to get into the never-ending fight.
And and and and and.
There is always another “and.” Another nasty fight. Faulty wording there for someone to pick apart, because diving into the depth of content is too much work. There are some who might read this and they will take from it that I fight about gay political guns that practice Islam, because they are trying to pick something apart to deflect from the saddening sense of defeat we are all feeling.
Where can my children and I go today? Obviously we weren’t planning on going to a gay nightclub, although my wife and friends will go once in a blue moon to the local gay bar, where the woman my kids affectionately call Auntie Morgan helps those dressing in drag do their makeup.
I can’t take my kids to school. That became clear on December 14th, 2012. An hour and a half away from where I live, to children only a few years older than my children are now.
I can’t take my kids to the movies. That became clear July 20th, 2012. At a movie I saw in theaters as well, with my wife on a late night.
But, all that happened in 2012, right? It has been four years. Surely taking my kids out in public is safer now and I am grasping at straws to paint a history of gun violence.
April 15th, 2013, the city of Boston, which happens to be my favorite city on the East Coast, became the victim of an attack. The bomb detonating at a spot I have stood at on multiple occasions. I stood there as the Boston Bruins marched the Stanley Cup proudly through the city. I stood there cheering, with a sense of security and safety.
December 2nd, 2015, the city of San Bernardino, which happens to be where I was born and lived as a small child, became victim to a senseless and violent attack. Guns being drawn blocks away from where I sometimes envision revisiting as an adult.
November 29th, 2015, the city of Colorado Springs, where I stayed as we laid my mom to rest. Senseless violence, in the city I told my wife I would like to move to. Where my brother lives the next town over with his wife and son.
June 17th, 2015, the city of Charleston. A church, similar to the one my wife and children visit every Sunday. Senseless violence knowing no sense of sacred space.
These dates are all over the place and I apologize. I only name them as they come to mind and hurt the heart.
I don’t mention color. I don’t mention creed. And why would it matter? If it matters to you, it’s a pretty even spread of angry ranging white to brown. Off the top of my head it’s White American, White American, White Russian (not the drink, although I am starting to need one), Muslim American, White American, White American. When we add Orlando, June 12th, 2016, the day before my birthday, it adds another Muslim American.
I believe even the Russian was a naturalized citizen. I can’t be sure; my head is beginning to spin at the thought of taking my children out into a world where there are so many different people angry and ready to kill others who are strangers to them and guilty of nothing more than wrong place, wrong time.
I don’t feel safe at the grocery store. Or the mall. I am sure I can find dates for those places being shot up. I am sure there are people out there, still reeling from loss, who can remember those days from the moment they woke up to the moment they lost a child.
I don’t claim to know the answer. I don’t want to get into the never-ending fights with all their ands attached.
I want to be funny. To make fun of trending content.
I want to feel safe when I take my family in public, not just scanning the surrounding area for places to shield my family in case of senseless violence. I want to say hello to a passerby without scanning them for the possibility of a hidden weapon.
I don’t know the answer and maybe that means I should shut up.
I do know I am afraid. The general consensus is so are many others. Because this trend of senseless murder isn’t going away. It’s getting worse.
This post was originally published on Punk Rock Papa.
About the Author
Briton Underwood, better known as Punk Rock Papa, is a parent above all else. When he gets sick of being at their beck and call, he likes to escape to his page or site. He writes about any and everything he wants, but mainly about his twin boys or his newest addition- another boy. He also would like the world to know he has a beautiful wife, because the couch isn’t that comfy.