It’s What We Do

Last night before bed I noted that the joint on my left hand is swelling again. It’s not terribly painful, and fortunately, that hand isn’t called on to do nearly as much as my right. I have medication I can take and I will soak it this morning and ice it later.

It’s what we do, isn’t it? We see a problem and we move swiftly to resolve it with the tools we have available to us. 

But this post isn’t about my hand. 

I’ve had a busy week so far. Nothing taxing or exhausting but it has required me to be attentive to things and people outside myself. Yesterday, I spent a good part of the day in personal mourning for the 21 innocents shot in cold blood in Texas. 

It’s impossible to neatly gather up all my feelings about that tragic hour on Tuesday afternoon. It’s like pouring hot coffee into a thin glass until it flows over and finally explodes. I don’t think a delicate heart is made to hold so much intense heat and heaviness. When I think of the fear and panic of those young children I am blinded by rage. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: After Sandy Hook, everything should have changed. Everything. 

I live within a block of an elementary school. I can sit on my front porch in the afternoon and hear the laughter and screams from the playground. Joyful exuberance. The school reopened last year after the old school was razed and a fortress of a building rose up in its place. There are few windows and tons of brick. It seems as though by design it was made to keep evil out. 

But what if the evil walks through that door?

The more I learn about what happened in Texas the more anger I feel. I watched the Texas governor last night say ” it could have been worse if not for the action of law enforcement”. Action? That isn’t the picture being painted this morning. Nineteen children and their teachers being gunned down inside a locked room while armed law enforcement “controlled the angry crowd outside” makes me sick in a way I have no words for. The shooter was in that building, unchallenged, for over forty minutes. 

Coffee exploding in my cup. 

90% of the people in this country want, at a bare minimum, sensible gun laws. Legislation that is stalled by 50 Senators. I finally saw some outrage last night by Beto O’Rourke. It is the beginning of what should be a constant challenge to those who have the power to protect our children and churches and communities but do nothing. I’m sick of hearing “now is not the time for criticism or dissent”. 

Now is exactly the time. Again. 

It was exactly the right time after every one of these school shootings. Need a refresher? Here is a list from late 1998 on. There have been 27 school shootings already this year. It’s May. 

Thurston High School (1998)
Columbine High School.
Heritage High School.
Deming Middle School.
Fort Gibson Middle School.
Buell Elementary School.
Lake Worth Middle School.
University of Arkansas.
Junipero Serra High School.
Santana High School.
Bishop Neumann High School.
Pacific Lutheran University.
Granite Hills High School.
Lew Wallace High School.
Martin Luther King, Jr. High School.
Appalachian School of Law.
Washington High School.
Conception Abbey.
Benjamin Tasker Middle School.
University of Arizona.
Lincoln High School.
John McDonogh High School.
Red Lion Area Junior High School.
Case Western Reserve University.
Rocori High School.
Ballou High School.
Randallstown High School.
Bowen High School.
Red Lake Senior High School.
Harlan Community Academy High School.
Campbell County High School.
Milwee Middle School.
Roseburg High School.
Pine Middle School.
Essex Elementary School.
Duquesne University.
Platte Canyon High School.
Weston High School.
West Nickel Mines School.
Joplin Memorial Middle School.
Henry Foss High School.
Compton Centennial High School.
Virginia Tech.
Success Tech Academy.
Miami Carol City Senior High School.
Hamilton High School.
Louisiana Technical College.
Mitchell High School.
E.O. Green Junior High School.
Northern Illinois University.
Lakota Middle School.
Knoxville Central High School.
Willoughby South High School.
Henry Ford High School.
University of Central Arkansas.
Dillard High School.
Dunbar High School.
Hampton University.
Harvard College.
Larose-Cut Off Middle School.
International Studies Academy.
Skyline College.
Discovery Middle School.
University of Alabama.
DeKalb School.
Deer Creek Middle School.
Ohio State University.
Mumford High School.
University of Texas.
Kelly Elementary School.
Marinette High School.
Aurora Central High School.
Millard South High School.
Martinsville West Middle School.
Worthing High School.
Millard South High School.
Highlands Intermediate School.
Cape Fear High School.
Chardon High School.
Episcopal School of Jacksonville.
Oikos University.
Hamilton High School.
Perry Hall School.
Normal Community High School.
University of South Alabama.
Banner Academy South.
University of Southern California.
Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Apostolic Revival Center Christian School.
Taft Union High School.
Osborn High School.
Stevens Institute of Business and Arts.
Hazard Community and Technical College.
Chicago State University.
Lone Star College-North.
Cesar Chavez High School.
Price Middle School.
University of Central Florida.
New River Community College.
Grambling State University.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ossie Ware Mitchell Middle School.
Ronald E. McNair Discovery Academy.
North Panola High School.
Carver High School.
Agape Christian Academy.
Sparks Middle School.
North Carolina A&T State University.
Stephenson High School.
Brashear High School.
West Orange High School.
Arapahoe High School.
Edison High School.
Liberty Technology Magnet High School.
Hillhouse High School.
Berrendo Middle School.
Purdue University.
South Carolina State University.
Los Angeles Valley College.
Charles F. Brush High School.
University of Southern California.
Georgia Regents University.
Academy of Knowledge Preschool.
Benjamin Banneker High School.
D. H. Conley High School.
East English Village Preparatory Academy.
Paine College.
Georgia Gwinnett College.
John F. Kennedy High School.
Seattle Pacific University.
Reynolds High School.
Indiana State University.
Albemarle High School.
Fern Creek Traditional High School.
Langston Hughes High School.
Marysville Pilchuck High School.
Florida State University.
Miami Carol City High School.
Rogers State University.
Rosemary Anderson High School.
Wisconsin Lutheran High School.
Frederick High School.
Tenaya Middle School.
Bethune-Cookman University.
Pershing Elementary School.
Wayne Community College.
J.B. Martin Middle School.
Southwestern Classical Academy.
Savannah State University.
Harrisburg High School.
Umpqua Community College.
Northern Arizona University.
Texas Southern University.
Tennessee State University.
Winston-Salem State University.
Mojave High School.
Lawrence Central High School.
Franklin High School.
Muskegon Heights High School.
Independence High School.
Madison High School.
Antigo High School.
University of California-Los Angeles.
Jeremiah Burke High School.
Alpine High School.
Townville Elementary School.
Vigor High School.
Linden McKinley STEM Academy.
June Jordan High School for Equity.
Union Middle School.
Mueller Park Junior High School.
West Liberty-Salem High School.
University of Washington.
King City High School.
North Park Elementary School.
North Lake College.
Freeman High School.
Mattoon High School.
Rancho Tehama Elementary School.
Aztec High School.
Wake Forest University.
Italy High School.
NET Charter High School.
Marshall County High School.
Sal Castro Middle School.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Great Mills High School
Central Michigan University
Huffman High School
Frederick Douglass High School
Forest High School
Highland High School
Dixon High School
Santa Fe High School
Noblesville West Middle School
University of North Carolina Charlotte
STEM School Highlands Ranch
Edgewood High School
Palm Beach Central High School
Providence Career & Technical Academy
Fairley High School (school bus)
Canyon Springs High School
Dennis Intermediate School
Florida International University
Central Elementary School
Cascade Middle School
Davidson High School
Prairie View A & M University
Altascocita High School
Central Academy of Excellence
Cleveland High School
Robert E. Lee High School
Cheyenne South High School
Grambling State University
Blountsville Elementary School
Holmes County, Mississippi (school bus)
Prescott High School
College of the Mainland
Wynbrooke Elementary School
UNC Charlotte
Riverview Florida (school bus)
Second Chance High School
Carman-Ainsworth High School
Williwaw Elementary School
Monroe Clark Middle School
Central Catholic High School
Jeanette High School
Eastern Hills High School
DeAnza High School
Ridgway High School
Reginald F. Lewis High School
Saugus High School
Pleasantville High School
Waukesha South High School
Oshkosh High School
Catholic Academy of New Haven
Bellaire High School
North Crowley High School
McAuliffe Elementary School
South Oak Cliff High School
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Sonora High School
Western Illinois University
Oxford High School
Robb Elementary School


In the US there are approximately 393 million firearms in the hands of private citizens. That equates to roughly 120 weapons per 100 citizens. 

There’s little else to say. The time for saying anything is long passed. Now is the time we are called to act.

It’s what we do, isn’t it? We see a problem and we move swiftly to resolve it with the tools we have available to us. 

And we DO have the tools.

God help us move swiftly. 

16 Comments on “It’s What We Do

  1. It’s hard to describe what one feels reading through this long, long list. Every victim had friends and family; the effect on so many lives is impossible to imagine

  2. Thank you for this. I used it this weekend in discussion and made someone cry. We know when there is a problem we find a way to fix it. The disconnect is unreal, heartbreaking, disturbing, demoralizing. Thank you for your beautiful writing and soul.

    • So glad you’re here. I can’t seem to get this all out of my head. I think there has to be a way out or through. Or something. And as I write this there was another shooting just hours ago. I am afraid for the future.

  3. Stunning piece of writing, dear Bonnie Rae. I weep and I weep and I weep as more of the details become known. Powerful service to all of us that you have written this so we can see the list and join you in the outrage.

    • Thank you, Ann. When I saw that list it broke my heart. While it’s easy to become numb to it, I went a fifferent way and signed up with Everytown yesterday. We are never powerless and never hopeless if we have the courage to step up to act. Even the smallest acts in the right direction matter. Thank you for writing.

  4. Thank you for being here. Hopeful that the low hum I hear is our collective outrage and that it becomes thunderous in the days ahead.

    “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” -Elie Wiesel

  5. I am sickened to think Uvalde will become the most recent addition to this list (and it took me seven swipe-ups to get to the last entry !!!) and nothing more. I am sickened to realize how long ago Columbine and Sandy Hook were, and nothing has been done. 80% of America wants sensible gun laws but that same 80% refuses to vote their aberrant and craven congress and senate reps out of office. Sickening. Americans are a sick society.

  6. Could not have put it any better…including the swelling joints! It makes me sick to my stomach to think of those children and teachers. NOW IS THE TIME TO STAND UP!!! Thanks Bonnie.😢

    • So glad to hear from you. I’m trying to understand how I can best make a difference. I know there is more I can do. I will reach out again soon 💔

  7. Thanks for your words. We need to continue being outraged at this violence and lack of responsibility by half the members of the Senate. As Rebecca Solnit said, keep preaching to the choir, it is important to do so, the others are not listening anyway. Paraphrased, but that is the gist.

    • Thanks for sharing her awhile back. I’ve been following her since you wrote me and yes, keep preaching to the choir indeed. Our voices like thunder … Thanks for being here.

  8. I can’t even form a response. Republicans won’t act because gun owner’s “rights” are more important than children’s lives. (And don’t even get me started on how this is not, in my opinion, what the 2nd amendment is about. Gun owners are not a militia. And there were no assault rifles in 1788.) Democrats won’t act because the mid-terms are coming up and they will lose. (Is it always the mid-terms?) Maybe it really comes down to the NRA-brainwashed voters. What is wrong with people? GDIATHAB. I’m afraid for the world. I guess I responded after all. Rage.

    • These acts must be met with more than rational thought. More than anger. More than prayers. These acts must bring an intense and palatable outrage. We need to look it in the face and see it for the evil it is. I share your rage.

    • Thank you, Gretchen, for the words I couldn’t find. I’m less sad and more angry, because I sense that for the reasons you list, nothing will happen and I feel guilty for having no hope. Bless Bonnie Rae for holding up hope for us this time around.

  9. Heartbreaking, bold, and fantastic response. Please submit this to Seattle Times! love, CB

    • Thank you for being here, Christina. The editor wrote to tell me he was respectfully passing on this piece but that he hoped it would find publication. May our strong words be met with stronger action. We must never, ever give up trying to create a more safe and sane world.

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