On December 14, 2012, I thought, "Maybe this is what it will take for things to change." I had thought that after Virginia Tech and after Aurora and after Gabrielle Giffords and each time, I was wrong. But this was a whole new level of horror and I thought, "Maybe now, we can at least talk about it."
I was wrong.
A few people tried to talk about it, tried to reach for solutions, offered to make common-sense compromises and they were punished by the zealots. Everyone else retreated into polarized rhetoric.
A few people tried to change the subject. "Let's talk about mental illness and mental health instead." I welcomed that conversation but it never got very far. Caring for the mentally ill costs a lot of money and requires a system overhaul. In my red state, the politicians are so worried that the current occupant of the Oval Office might get credit for something that they are making sure that nothing about health care improves in our state as long as he occupies the office. We have significantly less access to mental health care in my state than we did before.
But honestly, the blue and purple states didn't address it either. And so here we are, a year later. Almost 200 children under the age of 12 have been killed by guns this year. Those who care for the severely mentally ill are a year closer to despair.
On December 14, 2012, we said, "This has to change. Whatever it takes." Then we said, "Well, anything except that." Then we said, "Never mind."