I had planned to update on Rhest for the Wicked, and how that ever-delayed project was coming along and what progress was being made. But then I woke up to news of a shoot in DC, where multiple were confirmed dead and still more were injured.
It’s hard to talk about one’s art projects in the face of such an event.
There are two things I always notice during tragedies like these, going back to 9/11 and Columbine, and through the multiple mass shootings that have taken place (more than their fair share in DC itself). The first is the United States’ concept of a tragedy. If even a few people are killed, we call it a tragedy and rightfully so.
And yet, if literally hundreds of people are killed in a day in another country, that often doesn’t even get considered headline news. Make no mistake, body counts alone do not define a tragedy; tragedies come in many shapes and sizes. But we in the US enjoy a very unique fortune that such small tragedies can be considered earth-shaking. That isn’t a bad thing at all – quite the opposite – but it would do us good from time to time to remember what is a tragedy for us can be a good day for others elsewhere in the world.
The second thing I always notice is how quickly people jump on their political soapboxes. Monitoring the Facebook feeds of these events, I saw people in both the pro- and anti-gun control camps leap eagerly upon this tragedy to push their own agendas. And it isn’t the political discussion I mind; it’s the timing. There are people still dying in the wake of this chaos and the tactless position-pushers insist that stronger gun laws would have kept this from happening, or that if someone else had a gun, this would have been stopped. One may be true, or both may be false. But that discussion can wait.
‘What could have prevented this’ is a conversation that is held the day after a tragedy, not as one is happening. The time and efforts for prevention have passed, at least for this event. And so all that matters is confirming safety, limiting damage, and making sure everyone who can be okay is okay. There will always be time to figure out what went wrong once things have calmed. But when the Titanic is sinking is not the time to complain about the iceberg.
My thoughts and hopes go out to those in DC, and to their loved ones.