I Don’t Think Thoughts And Prayers Are Working

Today a high school on the outskirts of Houston was shot up. So far they’re eight children dead and four more seriously injured. By the time I post this those numbers could go up. It seems that the idea of gun reform is a lost cause so I won’t beat on that drum today. I also won’t offer thoughts and prayers because if I was a parent, that would do nothing for me. Your thoughts and prayers won’t bring their child back, your thoughts and prayers won’t take away the pain that will hunt them the rest of their lives.

As someone that has a child on the way, I can only imagine what it must be like to shelter and care for and nurture a child. To survive colds and child birth and hurricanes only to have that child gunned down somewhere where you thought they would be safe. Somewhere where you’ve been sending them since they were old enough to learn.

I’ve never seen a parent that didn’t worry about their child riding their bike in the street or getting home from school safely. I’ve never met a parent that didn’t keep one eye on that kid when they were at the beach or pool. I’ve never seen a mother bathe a toddler and turn her back for more than a couple seconds. These are all natural instincts and fears, what isn’t natural is worrying about your child at school.

We as a society offer thoughts and prayers to these parents, we set up GoFundMe’s and marches and as soon as a playoff game comes on or our President says something stupid; we’re on to the next hot topic of the day. We forget that these parents will never get to move on from this, they will never heal from this. You don’t think parents from Columbine still don’t think about their children, that was in 1999. You don’t think the parents from Sandy Hook don’t watch their neighbor’s kids playing in the street or see birthday parties on Facebook and break down? This is real life, real trauma, real heartbreaking stuff.

pearland police

When our grandparents pass away after living a full life surrounded by family and friends you can understand it, you can hold their hand and feel that they’re at peace. When children don’t make it into this world, it breaks your heart, you ask God why but it’s life. It’s not supposed to happen in the middle.

I have a little sister that’s in the 11th grade. I have countless cousins and nieces and nephews that are in High School. If I’m being perfectly honest, I never really thought anything could happen to any of them. There are over 20,000 high schools in this country, the odds of one of them being involved in a shooting like this is under 1%. I use to rationalize it that way until today. Until it happens in your city, until you realize Texas leads the nation in buying guns. Now I can imagine it, now I can imagine what these families must feel.

I don’t like what I see when my imagination takes shape. So I can only imagine what their real lives must be life after today. After all the days where something like this happens.

A Day In Florida; A Day I Wont Forget

airportWe’ve all been at home watching the news and you see something unimaginable happen and what’s the first thing you think, “That’s horrible!” Even though in the back of your mind what you don’t want to admit to yourself is, “I’m happy it wasn’t someone I loved.” This doesn’t make you a bad person or an evil person, it makes you human. None of us want to pass an accident on the road and imagine it’s our child or woman or mother.

So today as I’m boarding my plane to Havana and buckling my seatbelt I look at my phone one last time before I put it in airplane mode and the CNN update says, “There has just been a shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale airport in Florida.” An airport I just left my girlfriend at, an airport my cousin works out of often. The flight from Miami to Cuba is 45 minutes and that was the longest 45 minutes of my life.

When I arrive in Cuba there’s no WIFI, no cable, they have their own cellular network, everyone speaks Spanish and I notice no-one is on their phone tweeting or texting or snapchatting. My mom tries to call me and the call drops, my girl tries to call me and the call drops, customs doesn’t want to let me leave Cuba because they’re wondering why I landed and stayed for three hours just to leave. What’s supposed to be this perfect vacation to start of 2017 has turned into this nightmare moving in slow motion. The not knowing killing me more than bullets ever could.

After a plane ride, a bus ride, a train ride and AT&T suspending my service for using my phone in Cuba I’m waiting at a train station in Miami. Half my luggage gone, lost or stolen and half my heart in the pit of my stomach. Who do I see pulling up to greet me, the two women that seem to always have it together but managed to scare me to death.

My phone now functional I get text after text, call after call, message after message. Telling me in the heart of the storm my reporter put aside her fear and told the world a story that needed to be told. In the blink of an eye she owned her courage and did her job.

Why I’m Afraid to Bring A Child Into This World; Why I Will Bring A Child Into This World

There was another mass shooting today. According to the news, this wasn’t terrorism or some random crazy guy. It was over a Holiday party. Men walked into a place with innocent people and started killing them because of a party. That’s the world I’m going to bring my children into.

Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet.

Donald Trump is going to be the Republican Nominee for the President of the United States.

Everytime I look up there’s a new food that causes cancer or some type of ecoli (spell check, it’s 2:00am) scare. All this adds up to one or two things.

We’re either one black kid getting shot by police away from WW3 or we’re one President away from WW3 or all or food is going to kill us and they’ll be a handful of farmers in Utah left standing.

I want a son really bad. I’ve stopped writing about it over the years because I didn’t want to become one of those guys that seemed pressed. But the desire has never went away. The hope that I’d have a little man that looks just like me or like his mom or is at least healthy and happy. But the thought of raising him in such an uncertain world scares the hell out of me.

Even though I know it’s my obligation to raise him, to add some good warmheartedness and substance that our world so desperately needs. Would I be a wreck sending my child to school everyday knowing some fool could come in there and shoot it up. Would I go broke shopping at Whole Foods because I didn’t want to poison by child with McDonalds? Even though I have all those fears, I still feel good about the fact that my faith in God will protect him or her. I won’t and can’t be there 24/7 but to not have children because we live in such a crazy world would be adding to the fear that this crazy world is generating.