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Say “I Love You”

Some years ago, I wrote about school, mall, movie theater massacres, advising you to be expressive with those you love, say how much you love them. Tell them each day. Because you never know if you’ll see them alive again. I’ve searched the archives, don’t see the piece, however, I did find it, incomplete, among documents. Here it is with some modifications:

By the time you read this, a child or a teenager you know could be dead.

By the time I submit this, you or someone you love could be dead.

Your child could be murdered at his or her school.  Or somewhere. At any place. At any time.

(Or could be America’s next murderer.)

If only God were not absent from classrooms. Because surely God could prevent a school shooting, prevent mental illness.

Seems God could declare peace. Make it happen and if not, why doesn’t God stop a speeding bullet?  Make a gun misfire?  Cause a shooter to trip and blow out his/her own brains?

Let us not condemn anything other than mental illness and packing heat as problems. Let’s not suggest that those we elect to represent us, “leadership,” factor into the death equation, the rise in school shootings. Empire, endless war, torture, droning, the use of weapons of mass destruction to kill the faceless who live thousands of miles away in the countries we invade, regime change, resource seizures. And, certainly, let’s not consider the glorification of war, the Hollywood extravaganzas that deify a sniper, murder medals that adorn the uniforms of servicemen and woman, the “sacrifice for country,” the dying for our freedoms,” the “fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here,” the objectification of an “enemy,” militarization of law enforcement, pervasive violence, and an economic system that profits from the death of human beings.
Let us not challenge a president who tweeted, “School shooting in Texas. Early reports not looking good. God bless all!” Followed later by another burst, “This has been going on too long in our country. Too many years, too many decades now. … A very sad day. Very, very sad.”
Or a vice president who said, “You are in our prayers and I know you are in the prayers of the American people.”

Because we shouldn’t challenge men, or women, who speak of God and prayers?

Let us not hold anyone to account except the shooter.

During a previous tenure, a former president cried. God bless him, he spilled a tear. That could have been one of his daughters.  At Sandy Hook, maybe. Or some other shooting. So many, one forgets. And Trayvon could have been his son.

(Just read that the Obamas have signed a deal with Netflix. “It is unknown how much the Obamas’ Netflix agreement — which will see them produce through their newly formed company Higher Ground Productions — is worth.”) Higher Ground—heavenly.

I could be dead within hours of submitting this. You could be dead within hours of reading this. Worse, our children and grandchildren. All the little children of the world.

That’s it, updated to illustrate that regardless of who resides in the White House, who controls the House and Senate, the carnage continues. Tell your children, your mate, how much you love them. Say “I love you.”

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Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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