As I type this post, it’s Valentine’s Day. I spent the day caring for my baby granddaughter Maeve. It’s raining and raining, damp and chilly and gloomy. Meanwhile, I’m sitting in front of our fireplace, my partner gone to band practice for the evening, and thinking about what an un-Valentine-y day it felt like.

It wasn’t the childcare or the non-stop rain or that Mick’s band really needed to keep their weekly practice on the calendar (upcoming gig) that made this day feel un-Valentine-y. It was the pall cast over this sweet day by Monday night’s shooting at Michigan State University. Another shooting. More lives lost. Another story that should horrify us all. The knowledge that nothing is going to change right this minute, no matter how ridiculous it is that the United States is locked into its love and defense of the right to carry guns.

I try to remain hopeful, to carve out sanctuaries with art and literature and family time, and to support efforts to change the national conversation about Second Amendment interpretations. All the bloodshed that has occurred in just the last 10 years alone should have sparked significant change in our laws, but that didn’t happen.

What the hell is wrong with us? The way that people line up on one side or the other of this whole issue, digging in and refusing to think beyond their own little cranial cavities, puts us at a stalemate. Meanwhile, people die every day from guns in this country. According to the Sandy Hook Promise website, 12 children die from gun violence in America every single day. That comes to 4,380 kids a year. Teachers die. Parents die. Co-workers die. Bystanders die. All of these people were loved by someone.

My last post talked about keeping One Minnesota Crone a sanctuary, but today I just couldn’t. There has to be a way out of this vise-grip of an idea that America’s freedom is entwined with the ability of every single person to have access to firearms. It has done us no good. Violence is not going to be solved by the ability to carry concealed weapons so that the bad guys will be deterred (news flash: they won’t), and we are numbed to the scale of what is happening here. Eye-for-an-eye thinking just ramps everything up.

Every day I worry about my son, who teaches at an alternative high school, and about my daughter-in-law who teaches at a charter high school, and about my daughter who works in HR at Target. All of them are potential targets. I worry about my oldest granddaughter who is now in middle school. And then I have to do something with all that worry, which is why I write, paint, take photos, meditate.

But I have to do more than that. I was on Facebook earlier, commenting to a friend who is on the faculty at Michigan State, about taking my anger and concern to the voting booth, using my dollars to support those who are able to shift the national conversation around gun access. But that doesn’t feel like enough in this moment either. Mick and I marched at the Minnesota State Capitol after the Parkland shootings, listened to others who were victims of gun violence, felt hopeful that something would happen. That was five year ago. Five years. How many lives have been lost since then?

CNN reported today that there have been 67 mass shootings (meaning 4 or more people shot in one attack) in the United States so far this year. That’s more mass shootings than there have been days so far in 2023. In checking the Gun Violence Archive, I discovered that there were two mass shootings today and another one yesterday that I wasn’t even aware of. And as for my question above about how many lives have been lost to gun violence in the past five years? The answer is 91,247, not including suicides (source: Gun Violence Archive).

This is unacceptable. On this rainy Valentine’s Day, my heart hurts.

Published by Kathleen Cassen Mickelson

Kathleen Cassen Mickelson is a Minnesota-based writer who has published work in journals in the US, UK, and Canada.

13 thoughts on “Unacceptable

  1. It seems that there are sea changes in basic beliefs and attitudes that need to happen before legislators will begin working on this issue. I’m afraid it’s going to be a very slow process with thousands more gun-caused deaths before anything really positive happens. Sometimes I’m thankful that I’m not putting my child through school now; it would indeed be scary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very heart-hurting post. I’m thankful for people like you who put words to the heartache so many suffer. Thank-you for sharing ways others can take action on this topic – voting, using our dollars, and using our voices. As a nation, we have to keep seeking better solutions, we can’t be ok letting so many people die every day.?.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I share your frustration and I, too, wonder when will this end? What can we do? It doesn’t feel like enough. A few years back, Randy and I were hiking at the local nature center when we met a guy openly wearing a gun. Why? There it was, on his hip, for all to see. Why? I called the nature center the next day and I was told guns are not allowed on the property and that they would put up a sign saying such. I have yet to see a sign. But that’s small in the light of the mass shootings/murders. I am so weary of the pro-gun perspective/rights. Thank you for writing this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I hear you. It’s hard to know how to respond despite canvassing, voting, showing up to rallies, posting our concerns. Hard to know how anyone can support politicians and pundits who wear assault rifle lapel pins, promote legislation giving gun holders more rights than everyone else, even take holiday photos of the whole family holding guns.

    Liked by 2 people

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