On May 14th, a grocery store in Buffalo began the day with shoppers purchasing their home goods.
By the end of the day, their worst fears came true. A stranger arrived in the store with an AR-15 assault rifle and started shooting the customers.
He killed ten people, including a retired police officer. And he almost got away.
And the worst part about this … isn’t the shooting.
It’s the aftermath.
It’s the aftermath of family who saw their loved ones go to the grocery store – and are now planning funerals.
It’s the aftermath of shoppers who had to “shelter in place” because of a “code red” shooting that took away other shoppers, one by one.
It’s the aftermath of grocery store workers who bravely hid their customers wherever they could, lest the shooter find them and exact his twisted desires of slaughter and carnage.
It’s the aftermath of police and first responders who rescued as many shoppers as they could – and who later found the shooter and took him alive.
It’s the aftermath of elected officials arguing that “now is not the time to discuss gun control so soon after a tragedy like this.” Yeah. The same elected officials who wouldn’t discuss gun control after Parkland. Or Las Vegas. Or Newtown. Or Virginia Tech. Or Columbine. Or Simon’s Rock. Or a church in South Carolina. Or a movie theater in Colorado. Or a nightclub in Orlando. Or the massage parlors in Atlanta. Or the Walmart in El Paso. Or a subway car in Brooklyn.
It’s the aftermath of right-wing blowhards with online radio shows and fringe YouTube channels who will claim that the Brooklyn grocery store shootings were a false flag, a hoax, a fake story created by actors to cover up some other nefarious deed orchestrated by Hillary Clinton.
It’s the aftermath of saying “thoughts and prayers to the community,” knowing that thoughts and prayers offer little solace to families who will never see their sons or daughters alive again.
It’s the aftermath of people looking for the name of the shooter and questioning if he was in the country illegally or if he was a minority that might have been radicalized by the Islamic State. Because if that was the case, then those people could use that as part of their own twisted political agenda. And then discovering that the person was a white male, in a state where a power-hungry QAnon blowhard is one of the top stars in the Republican Party, who recently made comments about the debased and disgusting “White Replacement Theory” mantra, and then hypocritically posted this tweet.
Yeah, Elise Stefanik is useless.
It’s the aftermath of us saying, “What can we, as a nation, do about tragedies like this?”
It’s the aftermath of knowing it will happen again. No matter how many drills, no matter how many rehearsals, no matter how many times we check identifications at the front door and how many times we inspect bookbags before entering class.
That’s the worst part. Knowing that it will happen again.
And when it does … we will see heroes that will save as many people as they can.
And we will see angels that will save the people that the heroes could not.
And we will go through this vicious cycle once again.
If we don’t stop this vicious cycle now …
It will indeed prove how short our memories are.
And you know what the most fucked-up thing about this is?
I wrote the lion’s share of this blog post FOUR YEARS AGO after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Parkland, Florida. And I recopied the blog post after a mass shooting in Colorado in March 2021. And all I had to do was change the dates and the number of murdered, innocent souls, and add a tweet from Elise Stefanik.
It shouldn’t be this easy to write a blog post as painful as this.
And I don’t want to have to write this again, three days or three years down the road.
And unfortunately … part of me knows this post will appear again.