I almost quit my job yesterday. I don’t mean that I wrote a page-long resignation letter and prepared to hand it in to HR or my supervisor, offering two weeks’ notice. I almost walked out of work while I was preparing my part of our show.
Maybe “almost” is overstating it but the impulse to get up and leave was so strong, I had to cry myself out of it. Tough, ol’ news broad who’s covered child murders, 9/11 and all sorts of horrors, nearly cracked.
I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. This isn’t really about me. My reaction is about how horrible things have become. I’m not even in Las Vegas. I haven’t talked to anybody who was there, face-to-face. I’m only a detached witness like millions of other people around the world. My usual response is to dig in, get the job done and crack wise behind the scenes. But my defence shield is malfunctioning. There’s nothing to joke about, no lightness to be found. Yesterday, we spent a good portion of our show talking about the people who did extraordinary things for others. Strangers who held the hands of dying shooting victims and stayed with them so they wouldn’t be alone, acting as proxy family members, just because it was the compassionate thing to do. We had an interview with Heather Gooze who performed that act of selflessness for BC resident Jordan McIldoon.
The White House says now is not the time to talk about gun control. Then when is the time? Never, is what they mean. But they shouldn’t listen to me. They should listen to Caleb Keeler, guitarist with The Josh Abbott Band who ran for their lives when the madman started shooting up the country music festival where they had performed. Keeler was a staunch right-to-bear-arms kind of a guy. The whole band have conceal and carry permits. Their guns are always on their tour bus. But as Keeler wrote on social media, it made no difference when automatic fire rained down on them from the thirty-second floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. He said they were even afraid to go get their guns in case police assumed they were part of the chaotic scene – on the bad side – and shot before asking questions.
Not everyone changes their mind on guns after a situation like this. Keeler’s bandmates haven’t. Neither will the White House, I’m betting. This is the new reality, folks. Get used to it. Sadly, I don’t think this “record” shooting will even stand for very long. America seems quite content to cry, hold candlelight vigils and then wait for the next one to happen. How does that quote go? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If they change nothing, nothing will change.
Jimmy Kimmel is more optimistic. (I’m optimistic but I’m also a realist.) If you haven’t seen his emotional monologue, please watch it HERE.