It’s too late

The weeks following the shootings in Parkland, Florida have seen desperate conservatives frantically hiding their immorality behind the shield of time. “It’s too soon” and “don’t politicize the tragedy.” The same tired rhetoric from the same useless politicians as the same story rears its ugly head again.

But it’s not too soon. It’s too late. It’s too late for the 17 dead in Parkland. It’s too late for the 26 dead in Newtown. It’s too late for the thousands dead across our nation.

It’s too late for Sutherland Springs. For Columbine. For hundreds of towns eviscerated, ripped to pieces by the horrors of a mass shooting.

It’s too late to change. Too late for the useless politicians who have made their position clear. Too late for Paul Ryan, who sold his soul and 17 children’s lives to the NRA. Too late for Mitch McConnell, who forestalls a vote on gun control to maintain political power.

Too late for the next town, where the boiling of rage in some lunatic is building. Too late for the next families who will send children off to school and never see them again. Too late for the next teacher who dies desperately trying to save children they were supposed to protect.

Too late for the survivors haunted by night terrors, for the first responders branded forever with the memories of children’s bodies ripped apart by a hail of lead.

It is written as if by God that this will happen again. It is decreed, it is certain, it is wholly uncontested. We know that there will be another shooting. The only question is how many will die.

It’s too late to stop it.

It is too late for America. Too late for a nation so entranced by guns it would see its children sacrificed at their alter. Too late for a nation so ensconced in capitalism it would let the NRA facilitate mass murders. So bound by partisanship it would ignore the criminal negligence of the Republican Party.

Make no mistake. This is the issue that will destroy our country. With each broken body carted from our schools we grow weaker. With each politician’s callous shrug we grow colder. With each murder we grow nearer to our end.

If this is our nation, then it is too late. If we are so far divorced from empathy that we can cast children’s bodies aside, then there is no hope for and no point in saving America. If this is who we are, then we will merely watch these periodic bloodlettings played out until our nation dissolves.

When you watch children massacring each other inside schools, what more can be said? This is the primal scream of a nation in  it’s death throes. We have devalued human life totally, and, I fear, permanently.

Turn on your TV. You will be greeted by images of children begging adults to listen. Begging them to protect us. Begging our leaders to do something, anything to keep us  from being mowed down in our classrooms. 

But they will not listen. They have ignored every shooting before now. They will ignore every one to come. The killings will continue until these men are dragged from power forever.

It’s too late because for some it will always be too soon. Because for some, bullets will be forever more valuable than the bodies they tear apart.

It’s too late for a nation of psychopaths, who will watch and kill and die with impunity. And we know it. The nation is exhausted and infuriated, screaming out against the gears of politics that drag us forward inexorably. We’ve built something we cannot oppose. A status quo so great, so entrenched that it cannot be undone. The power and the fury of the NRA and the gun lobby is ruthless. It owns the lives of our children and freely trades them for profit.  

We must understand, there are only so many shootings our nation can withstand until we break. Only so many tragedies until we lose something. I cannot say what. Perhaps it’s our minds, perhaps our hearts. Or perhaps it’s something less explicit. We’re losing the human bonds that make a nation function. Losing whatever respect for life we had left. The very fabric of community is dissolving.  

Every new killing asks us what sort of nation we will be. And every time, the answer is the same. We are a nation that values guns more than any person. We are a broken nation. Cold and heartless. A dying nation, pale, fading and bleeding out on the floor. Cynically smirking at those who would take action as we hide behind our fear and our hate.

We have no answers. We have no solutions. There is no end in sight. Just the empty vastness of an eternity of murders, a weight of hopelessness and fear that brands a nation. The heat of hate molding a nation into something unrecognizable. The end of America, signed and sealed with blood. 



Opinion articles represent the beliefs of the author, and not the staff of, or West Linn High School.