The website-generated prompt today is, When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Well, I wanted to be a superhero, and I’ll tell you why in a minute.
Earlier this week, yet another mass shooting happened at a Christian school in Nashville. Actually, according to current statistics, probably around 10 happened this week, the one in Nashville is the only one we’re talking about every day on the news and setting flags at half-mast.
A mass shooting is considered any where at least 4 people are shot and injured or killed. As of 2 days ago, there have been 129 this year so far. That works out to be roughly 10 per week. In Nashville, 3 of the deaths were 9 year-olds, the others were administration.
The shooter was a transgender male with 7 legally obtained firearms and a long, complicated mental health history. This is all according to the specific reports I read. Maybe some of it isn’t true, entirely or at all. Or maybe it is. We don’t have his manifesto yet, it hasn’t yet been released, or at least anywhere that I can find.
On another note, my son began the games that count in his senior baseball season this week. They lost the first one. After this post, I will no longer be discussing my thoughts on this program, unless they are positive and/or illustrate growth and beauty in the wild.
But that’s after this post. The program is in ruins. The young men are being forcibly spoon fed gruel far below what they deserve, on any level. As you are well aware, I happen to not be a man who particularly values wins & losses. The W-L record might be in my list of the top 10 qualities of a successful program, maybe. But by any metric, this one is upside down, inside out, dead and stinking.
Now. As the baseball program slowly circles the drain, there doesn’t seem to be any interest in plugging said drain and rescuing the boys from this sinking mess. Everyone is obviously content to crawl along, looking at the dumpster fire, nodding, doing nothing at all but watching it burn.
I just looked up “albatross,” and when I did, the tab I had open was set on an article titled, “What’s behind the decline in teen mental health?” Yes, social media and stressful college requirements, of course, but it’s possible that another reason is that the adults in the room always seem content to do nothing at all except watch it burn, watch them burn. I don’t imagine it helps teen mental health to scream for help when none ever comes.
High school baseball is a trivial example, right? It’s just further evidence of what is either malicious violence on the human spirit or impotence. More kids get killed, we give “thoughts and prayers,” and then 9 more happen this week, and 10 more next week, and the next and the next and the next, ad infinitum.
I wanted to be a superhero for as long as I can remember because I didn’t like injustice. Watching people cry, in pain, living in fear or in despair, sits in my stomach and soul like acid, making it impossible to rest or find comfort. I wanted to fix all of it. But there aren’t real-life superheroes (as far as I know). I still want someone to show you, me and everybody else that there is someone who sees and will do whatever it takes to care for us. If we use that definition (and not simply people with cartoonish super powers), maybe we could all be superheroes?
Can we please stand up and say enough? Our politicians, CEOs, administrators, aren’t interested in extinguishing the fires that fuel benefit packages and lifestyles. Minding our own business hasn’t and doesn’t work, now or ever. The hope here is, right now, today, in our homes and communities, churches, workplaces, parks, fields, and grocery stores, to start to love each other, not only in more empty words but with hands and feet and our full, sad, broken hearts.