The oldest person to ever live (that we know of) died at the age of 122 years and 164 days. Her name was Jeanne Calment and she never moved out of Arles, France for any of her long lifespan. Having a life reaching from the late 1870s to nearly the 2000s, Ms. Calment outlived both her daughter and her grandson. Today, in Newtown, Connecticut, a gunman killed at least 26 people at an elementary school. Eighteen of them were children. The years these children were allowed to live, as it feels necessary to phrase it anymore, barely account for the entirety of the life of one French woman who met Vincent Van Gogh at the age of thirteen and thought he was "dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable."
Eighteen lives barely as long as one.
I'm not very political, if you haven't noticed. I think that if a person gets a place where I could vote to elect him, chances are he's a person who's done some things or made some compromises or has some motive that would make me not want to elect him, so I keep my mind out of that business as much as I can. Who I vote for may not directly cause anything bad, but it certainly doesn't seem to cause anything good either.
Today, I'm sadly reminded that I'm not too far off in my cynical opinion of politics. Mass shooting after mass shooting and there isn't a useful change to gun purchasing laws to stop this from happening. I could never understand what would make a person think that shooting a room full of people is a solution to any problem, but I can't understand what makes the political world think they should do nothing to stop it either.
I've never been particular in standing up for gun control laws before. I don't know for sure that they work. People in Switzerland have an awful lot of guns and fewer homicides, so maybe legally obtained guns aren't the issue. Maybe it's mental health or childhood bullying or video games. Any of these could certainly be the problem, but I think you'd have to be willfully denying the obvious to say that if it were harder to obtain a gun in the United States, this would still happen with the same frequency.
And let's talk about mental health for a second. How do we fix that? How do we even classify that? Wouldn't the ones most in need of help also be the ones incapable of asking for it? All I can think of to do is be a little kinder than my nature guides me to be, but I know that can't be enough. It seems an impossible task to try to help everyone hurting at once when, from what I've seen, everyone alive has something they're likely hurting from. Something that, at any minute, could overwhelm them. How do we fix that?
And how do we make sure that eighteen young doctors and writers and dancers get to grow up to be what they're made to be instead of whatever this all is? Because this isn't life. They didn't get to see 10 years, let alone 122.