In the literal wake of the tragedy at Las Vegas, I offer my condolences and thoughts. But, because I am a writer and lover of stories, I also offer a version of an allegory I once read in The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer:
“A farmer is sitting on his porch in a chair, hanging out.
A friend walks up to the porch to say hello, and hears an awful yelping, squealing sound coming from inside the house.
‘What’s that terrifyin’ sound?’ asks the friend.
‘It’s my dog,’ said the farmer. ‘He’s sittin’ on a nail.’
‘Why doesn’t he just sit up and get off it?’ asks the friend.
The farmer deliberates on this and replies:
‘Doesn’t hurt enough yet.’ “
And these two facts alone, more than even the shootings, illustrate to me that America is ill. Addicted to guns, it continues to go back and sit on the nail, and it literally gets paid to do so.
It didn’t hurt enough in Columbine.
It didn’t hurt enough in Virginia Tech.
It didn’t hurt enough in Aurora, Colorado.
It didn’t hurt enough in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
It didn’t hurt enough at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
It didn’t hurt enough in Santa Monica College.
It didn’t hurt enough in Washington, D.C.
It didn’t hurt enough in Isla Vista, California.
It didn’t hurt enough in Charleston, South Carolina.
It didn’t hurt enough in Colorado Springs.
It didn’t hurt enough in San Bernadino, California.
It didn’t hurt enough in Orlando, Florida.
And so, I can’t help but ask, in the wake of at least 58 dead and 515 people hurt at the hands of one man and a possible accomplice…
Does it hurt enough yet, America? Does it hurt enough for you to finally want to make meaningful change? Are we going to keep blaming shooter’s mental health? Are we going to keep the current laws we have in place? Are we going to keep avoiding the conversation we need to have?
Or are we going to keep sitting on the nail?