heavy heart mass shootings

My Heavy Heart: Gun Violence in Our World

Before we get started, reminders: these are my thoughts and feelings. That does not mean they are gospel. This is not a forum to fight. Anyone who gets out of control will be promptly blocked, deleted, and otherwise ousted.

Every time there’s a mass shooting in our world, I’m completely devastated. It absolutely breaks my heart. While gun violence hasn’t totally hit home, it has gotten in my backyard.  In 2021, a mass shooting happened at a FedEx facility in my county. It made national news. Eight were killed before the gunman took his own life. One of those killed was my neighbor. Another was my brother’s friend. It was entirely too close to home for my comfort.

Recently, my second-grade daughter’s entire grade level was called in from recess because they heard gunfire in the area. A message was sent out from the principal and I tore the town up (I literally drove all over and was making calls at the same time) looking for the school resource officer demanding answers. When I finally found him, I said, “I hope you can understand in a world where mass shootings happen on a regular basis, it gives me great distress to know about anything gun-related happening near an elementary school.” He was understanding and cleared up what turned out to be a miscommunicated event.

I take this issue very seriously.

So, when a few weeks later a mass shooting happened at a school in Nashville, I was shaking.

I mourn the innocent lives taken so senselessly. I weep over the shooter who clearly needed help and wasn’t receiving it, but mainly, I pray on a daily basis for the former teammate. Averianna Patton received the troubling messages from the shooter and she tried to do something. She did everything right and it still wasn’t enough. I pray for her because I imagine this is eating her alive. I pray it’s not. This situation was out of control. She did exactly right, but the outcome of the shooter’s actions were devastating.

Gun Violence and Yelling Online

Right after the shooting happened in Nashville, I did a series of posts on my personal Instagram page begging people to stop fighting online and to get up and get out and do something. Make a change! Talk to your politicians and demand better! Better yet? VOTE THEM OUT if they aren’t giving you results. It, of course, didn’t stop. Many even resorted to saying “Tag your Senators and Congressmen in your posts.” Heavy eye roll. You think their social media person cares? You think they debrief their elected official on the social media happenings of the day? Um, no. They might block you if you get too nuts, but that’s about it.

There was a viral video going around about a woman who absconded the mic on Fox News and called out lawmakers. She was a survivor of gun violence. However, do you know what she also noted about gun violence? It’s not just affecting our children and mass shootings, it’s affecting our border problems and the drug problems in our country. She also said she’s been marching in Washington and banging on lawmaker’s doors. She’s a damn hero. She’s moving her feet! She’s not fighting online! She’s trying to affect actual change!

Gun Violence and What People Don’t Want To Hear

Here’s the real twisty part some of you may have to bail from this post: if you’re one of those people saying “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Or “It’s easier to carry out a mass shooting with a gun than a knife.” Please, oh please, STOP. Guns are a machine. Similar to a car, a motorcycle, or a robot. It requires human intervention. Okay, I did hear some wild story not too long ago about a dog stepping on a gun and it fired, but my point is, the machine doesn’t work unless someone pulls the trigger or turns the key, etc. Sure, a gun is a more effective mechanism to destroy than a knife. That’s why phrases exist like “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.” There’s always going to be something more destructive than something else.

What people don’t want to hear is: gun violence is a symptom of a much larger problem. Ask any doctor if solving a health issue by only addressing one isolated symptom ever really clears up the issue fully. I’m guessing the answer is no. My other brother is a doctor. Let me ask him.

I don’t know how you solve our problems. I really don’t. I’m also not saying that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. The weapons are out there. Criminals are still going to find a way to get their hands on them no matter what. The woman in Nashville was going to die that day. There was no stopping her, unfortunately. Our mental health crisis is out of control. So are so many areas in our world.

Please stop fighting online and everywhere else. Let’s be action-oriented. Let’s be specific. Let’s figure this out together. Fighting only stalls the war on saving our future.

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Heather Chastain

About Heather

(So, my web designer says I needed to include a bio, though I find this task silly because, if you’re here, you know me.)

I’m a writer. It’s what I do. It’s a cathartic mechanism when I need release from my anxiety. I’ve had blogs in the past; I’ve taken them down, but I never stopped writing. I simply can’t. My notes app is forever long as it’s filled with pages and pages of different topics. Sometimes I just write a few sentences. Sometimes I write paragraphs.

Recently, I've been writing long essays. My friends and others I hold dear have coaxed me into sharing my work again.

So that's what I'm doing, you wicked, pushy people. LOL

I have no desire to see my writing be anything more than an opportunity to share what I love doing most. I have no interest in this blog reaching the masses.

I thought it would be fun to call it My Spicy Disaster because that's often how I feel. A complete mess of epic proportion. So join me, if you'd like, and let's pretend we're not sitting amongst the chaos crying, but laughing instead.

Or maybe we do cry sometimes, but then wipe our tears and remember one person’s disaster is another person’s … well, who the hell knows …