‘How Did Any of Us Walk Away Unchanged?’
In the wake of the mass murders in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio this weekend, Joe Posnanski wrote the following poem and posted it on his site, where he usually writes about sports. This piece is called “This Isn't Sports.” It begins this way:
Didn't a little piece of you die in Newtown?
A little piece of me died there.
They were just babies.
Cut down like wheat
Six and seven years old
Still learning how to read and write
Big block letters
Unicorns and baseball cards
Jumping in front of a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle
A Glock 20SF handgun
Hoping to save one
How did we not all die in Newtown?
How did any of us walk away unchanged?
It's that last line that got me. How did the NRA/GOP get away with it? They evoked Hollywood (“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun...”), whom they also attack. They also made asinine suggestions like arming teachers. There's this thing that kills people, see, so the way to reduce the killings is to make sure more people have this thing that kills people. It's Illogic 101.
Yet they got away with it. We let them get away with it.
Joe goes on to mention other places now marked as places of mass murder: Tucson, Vegas, Virginia Beach, Chippewa Falls, Sebring and Aurora. He goes through Yountville and Paintsville and Nashville and Asheville. He ticks off so many places, so many tragedies, for which we did nothing. Half of them I'd already forgotten. That's how often it happens here:
In Cleveland and Chicago and Detroit
Just as in Lutcher and Gravette and Ascension Parish
In a Pittsburgh Synagogue
And a Charleston church
And a Sutherland Springs church
And an Annapolis newspaper office
And an Orlando nightclub
And Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
And an El Paso Wal-Mart
And just outside a Dayton Bar
How do any of us walk away unchanged? Yet bit by bit we are changed. For the worse.