We've been through this before. A news report of a school shooting. Several people shot dead. A community gathering together, asking questions, wondering what could have been done to prevent it, prayer vigils held, wearing special ribbons in honor of the dead, creating cute pictures on social media websites that say "we must never forget".
But what happens a week later? Maybe two weeks later? A month perhaps? We forget. We stop asking the questions, we stop posting messages, the news cameras go somewhere else, the grief couselors move on. We put an extra security guard at the schools and call it a day. We turn the television back on to our favorite sitcom and we act like it never happened.
That's who we are. We know the answer to our question means someone will have to act and we are so afraid that that someone might be us. Everyone begins their critiques with "someone should have" and not "I should have". You always hear "They didn't" but not "I didn't".
These things happen and we all nod our heads in agreement that more should have been done to prevent it, but by golly, we can't tell you how. We talk about how the suspect was weird and creepy and we knew all along he was bad news and yet, there we sat. In our perfect suburban lives with our perfect children and our perfect lawns and we did nothing. We waited for someone else to do something because certainly, someone should, right? It can't be us, can it? Can anyone seriously expect us to bring "imperfect, ugly, weird, loner" kids into our perfect homes? What would they do to our perfect kids? Our perfect homes? Our perfect lawns?
What will people say? No, certainly, it can't be us. SOMEBODY else simply must come forward and do what should be done for the kids that have been cast aside by others.
We live in a world where people spend thousands of dollars to own a small pig to put in their purse. That could one day become our nations motto. "America: We love pigs more than children".
So we stay away from the quiet kids whose parents are addicts and never home, whose grades are failing because they have nothing in their lives to care about, who run away from home because being on the street has got to be better. And we cross our fingers hoping they become a functional part of society. But boy, if they shoot up a school, there we are! With our pitchforks and torches demanding answers on why this happened. Looking for the "somebody" that should have done something.
What could have been done? Who could have done something? Could it have been prevented? No one knows when they are talking to a future school shooter, but you know when you're talking to kids. What are you saying? What are not saying? What are you saying without words? Are your words backed up by actions?
As a former child who was surrounded with lots of talk and no follow-up, I know that when someone starts a comment with "someone should have..." I know that's not the someone willing to go the mile.
Everybody wants action. Where is that somebody we're looking for? Is it you? Is it me? Everybody wants to be a somebody. I pray we start being that "somebody".