It’s difficult to know how to approach life after a tragedy. With my entire country reeling from grief, there’s a lot of finger pointing, a lot of anger, and a hugely politicized gun control argument. We’ve got people saying this is because we’ve moved into a secular society and removed God from schools. We’ve got other nutjobs saying that Connecticut deserved this because they offer marriage equality to their residents. We have people passionately calling for a ban on guns, with others passionately calling for armed teachers. At the end of the day, every single one of those reactions are coming from people trying to make sense out of the fact that twenty children are dead at the hands of a deeply disturbed individual.
I started a blog post with the intent to look at some aspects of the media coverage that make me uncomfortable. The rush to blame mental illness, the rush to divert gun control into a discussion about violence in videogames. The way that everyone gets up in arms about the tragedy of a school in a “safe” setting being targeted, but collectively we couldn’t care less about the gun violence deaths of children of color in our cities.
The more I wrote, the more mired down in depression, until I couldn’t do anything but stare numb at the tv and watch episode after episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer in my increasingly odorous clothes I hadn’t changed and, yes, had slept in. I recognized this as the beginning of a depression spiral that I can’t afford, and I know it’s having the same effect on a lot of you out there, because some of you have shared your struggles with mental illness.
So, with that in mind, for the next week, this blog will be all fluff. There may be pictures of baby animals (my husband says he can tell how depressed I am based on how many videos of cute baby animals are in my youtube history). There may be mindless chatter about stupid shit. But I won’t be mentioning the shooting, and I’m not going to air any big political opinions.
That might sound callous, but I assure you, it’s coming from a good place. There is no amount of analyzing we can do that will bring those kids back to life. No amount of cultural reflection will mend the families whose lives were irrevocably torn apart. But at times like these, when every channel is airing photos of the smiling faces of the deceased, when every facebook status update is lauding the heroes who laid down their lives, it’s very easy for people made vulnerable by mental illness to get overwhelmed. So, I just want to explain why it’s going to seem like I’m carrying on without a care in the world while the rest of the nation falls apart.
It’s not because I don’t care or I’m ignoring the tragedy. I hope you all understand.