Is It Okay?

Is it okay to talk about it now?

How about now?

Not yet?

Okay.

But I would like to know how long a child must be dead before we can discuss what killed them. Is this a function of their temperature? Is it rude if their blood is still on the schoolroom floor? Or does it have something to do with their burial rites? Should we keep a respectful silence until they’re consigned to the earth? Maybe just until they’re no longer on our TV. When their names and the images have just been tossed into the public’s trash-heap memory. When the misery of their absence is only felt by the people who loved them. When the NRA has resumed normal operations. When the detailed memory of the incident lives only in its damaged survivors, waiting only until the next time to flare up into advice for the next batch of students hiding beneath their desks.

Maybe then we can talk about it.

Maybe not.

That’s fine by me. I’m not sure I have anything left to say. At least, nothing new. Nothing that you haven’t read a thousand times before. Guns caused this. Guns should be banned. Yes, given the choice, I would come for your guns. I’d come for all of them. I’d melt them down and have them turned into tools that can actually do some good. Hammers. Screwdrivers. That sort of thing. And, yes, it’s true that you can kill someone with a hammer or a screwdriver too. But you can’t kill as many and you can’t build anything with a gun. Except a bloodbath. So, yes, ban the whole fucking lot of them.

But why bother saying it?

The number of children that need to be murdered for us to do something is as vaguely defined as the time that must pass before we even have the conversation. It’s not twenty eight. It’s not seventeen. It’s not thirty seven, nor is it eight a day every day. Some people say “one is too many.” That’s obviously untrue. So how many then? Just how big does this pile of dead children need to get before we do something about it? And how long do we need to wait after making this pile to talk about it?

Will we have to step over their little bodies on our way to the store?

Will we be allowed to talk about it then?

I doubt we’ll have anything left to say.

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