May 27, 2014

Maybe It's in the Counting


The more I consider the units of weights and measures, the more I'm convinced, it must be related to the counting. The "It" being the shootings, injuries by firearms and deaths.

That "It."

There's been yet another mass shooting, and a few days before that, a shooting that's left a little girl who's around Georgia's age clinging onto life by a thread. Both are tragic, as are other incidents around the country which didn't make national or local headlines.

But this isn't a rant about gun regulation or about video games' influence or a culture of violence or services for the mentally ill or unemployment or any of the usual suspects. This isn't about beating our swords into plowshares, or the NRA or even gun regulation or communities taking back their communities.

Maybe that's all part of It. But a big part of the It is in the Counting.

The way we count ourselves. The way we count lives because I just don't think we see lives as lives -- as people anymore.

The President announces that he deploys troops.
He doesn't announce that he's sending moms, dads, aunts, uncles and/or somebody's baby to learn to kill and fight, and possibly die in a foreign land. No. They are troops protecting our freedom.

The newspapers report data. Fill in the blank here number of firearm injuries. Fill in the blank here percentage of firearm incidents resulting in death.
It's just data. Data doesn't say that John Doe's mom and dad are torn apart over this kid's death. No. Data says it was a shooting on the north/south/east/west -- or most shockingly -- in the suburbs.

When lives are counted as Troops, Percentiles, Numbers or anything but living, breathing people with drama and happiness and faith and non-faith and successes and failures, it settles somewhere into the conscious and makes the thousands of deaths by Fill in the blank here more palatable and less jarring.

And maybe that same counting -- the Troops, the Percentiles, the Numbers -- make it easier for the Veteran's Administration mess to go on for decades on end. Maybe it makes it easier for those who perpetuate violence to do so because numbers can be ignored, mistreated or erased. Numbers aren't people after all.

But It's different when those numbers are counted, and thought of, as lives.

Maybe a big part of the It is in the counting.


  1. Love this. We just hear and see the numbers instead of the face and the story behind the life.

    1. Exactly, Jenny. If people could see each other -- and THEMSELVES -- as people, the world just might be a better place.