Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Just can’t


I’m back from camping in northern Michigan where I was lucky enough to have a couple days with sunshine and one clear night. I have photos for you that I’m anxious to share. But I can’t. Couldn’t yesterday and it doesn’t feel right today either.

Because while I was blissfully floating down a beautiful river through the wilderness, enjoying the blue sky and birds and fish and turtles, somewhere in Texas terrified children and their teachers were locked in a classroom with a gunman.

I never checked my phone for news that afternoon, didn’t through the evening while we enjoyed dinner under swaying pines, or later on the beach as we waited for the sunset, or even later sitting around the fire with a glass of wine.

I didn’t know until, on a whim, I turned the phone on just before rolling over to sleep in my warm sleeping bag in my snug little tent. Immediately I knew something was wrong, the first Facebook pages to pop up were filled with obscure but horrifying posts. I didn’t know what had happened, but it was clear something terrible had.

So I googled “news today.”

You all know what that news was. And now I find myself feeling overwhelmingly sad, and frustrated, and very very angry. As the mayor of Buffalo said….”We haven’t even raised our flags from half mast for the last mass killing and now there’s another.”

I thought we’d have reform by now. I thought that after Columbine in 1999 where two students killed twelve other kids and one teacher. I thought certainly this shows there is a need to rethink gun accessibility.

But then there was Virginia Tech in 2007 with 32 dead, and Northern Illinois University in 2008 with 5 dead, and of course Sandy Hook with 6 educators and 20 first graders dead. That one, little kids, for sure I thought would make us start discussions that resulted in real change. But the killings continued, in churches, in theaters, in stores. In schools.

And nothing significant has happened to resolve the problem, other than those who feel it’s all a mental health issue and those that feel it’s all about the guns stand harder and faster on their beliefs and the gulf between them widens.

It’s incomprehensible to me that we can’t each move a little closer to the center. It’s obvious it’s not all about mental health or all about gun control. Adults should be able to find ways to adult. There are things both side could agree on if each side were willing to compromise.

Maybe we can find ways to increase the availability of mental health support while at the same time lower the accessibility to individuals of weapons designed for war. I’m not saying everyone needs to get a mental health screening and I’m not saying no one can own a high powered gun. (Though I don’t understand what purpose those types of weapons have in an individual’s collection.)

What I am saying is that we can’t continue in the direction we’re headed. We can’t continue to stick our heads in the sand and mumble that these problems are too big, not fixable, that nothing would change the outcome.

And if those currently in office do nothing more than throw their hands up and say it’s too hard…well…those people need to be voted out so there’s room for people who are willing to work hard to fix the problem.

Because whether you want to admit it or not….we have a serious problem and none of us are safe. Wishing it was different won’t make it so. Doing the work, making the hard decisions, risking your friendships, your constituents, your donors, even your job, doing the work is the only thing that will cause change.

Change is hard.

I’ll give you one image from my time away. The sunset we watched on the day those innocents died. Now I can see how it represented that day, and the way our country, maybe even us as individuals, are split, shadowing the light that is our democracy.

We need to do the hard work necessary to make that light shine bright again.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

26 thoughts on “Just can’t

  1. I am sad to say this, but with my lack of faith in the functionality, ability, and desire of our government to do anything worthwhile, and society as split as it is and as angry as it is, I am glad I am not young. I am one of the angry ones. I am sad. I feel helpless and hopeless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It has crossed my mind more than once in these past few years that I’m glad I didn’t have kids, and no have no grandkids, because I’d be so afraid for them all. But somehow the not having kids thing doesn’t make me less afraid, I’m still afraid for all those youngsters who are growing up like this.


  2. I don’t understand what happened in that young man’s life for him to be so enraged that he would slaughter children. I also don’t know why people need those types of weapons and why it’s so easy to get one. So sad all around.

    Liked by 3 people

    • In the shooting near us it was obvious that the parents had no parenting skills, and I almost (ALMOST) felt sorry for the shooter. I think in the current tragedy he had no parents either, though his grandparents were raising him. I think obviously there’s some mental issues, but as far as I hear no mental red flags. It’s a problem for sure. I wonder what the ages have been of the hundreds of mass shooting gunmen (they’ve all been men I think)…are they all white young men with anger issues? If so, is there a way to work that into the checks and balances? But I know some were older, with grudges against employers or other individuals. There’s no one solution that fits all of these events. But there’s maybe some common thread among some.


  3. We’re all grieving. If there is a simple fix someone, please offer it.
    [It isn’t only to be found in changing gun access laws because there are so many harder realities to also address. Why aren’t they? Because they aren’t simple nor are they politically correct.]
    In the 1950’s and 60’s, kids carried rifles openly and frequently. Such deranged actions were nearly zero. There’s a societal rot going on and young men are obviously snapping. IMHO…Until people start openly examining the motivations as often as the legislations, there’ll be no improvement. There’s no quick fix but fortifying schools and arming teachers and staff would be my choice to keep these events even rarer.


  4. Hear, hear. Small steps toward the middle so we can craft policies that solve the problem of too many guns, too many people with access to guns, and too much NRA interference in elections. Policy and action.


  5. And still all the (mostly GOP) lawmakers can talk about is 2nd amendment rights. How many more catastrophes? How many lives lost? When do they realize ‘thoughts and prayers’ don’t cut it?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Amen. Well said and balanced. Balance between opinions is what we need and they are illusive.


  7. You’ve made some excellent points, Dawn. As a parent, my heart breaks over the loss of these kids and their teachers. Life is hard enough without having to bury our kids. You’re right: those who refuse to admit we have a problem, refuse to put in the work to resolve it — regardless of the amount of time it takes or the “friends” they’ll lose — should be ashamed of themselves. And voted out of office.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Guards in the schools and arm the teachers. It is the only solution that I can see. Security at all doors…but up at Red Lake Minnesota even that did not work:(


    • Part of the solution will be to make schools harder to penetrate…there are so many things that could be done, so that in total the kids are safe. But then…what about theaters, churches, grocery stores, concert events?


  9. I am so sorry, for everyone, the parents and relatives of those who died … and for the “shooter”. As mentioned before, I know a young woman (20 years old) who shot her father after a lifetime (20 years) of abuse. I can understand her actions. But why people shoot children (when the shooters are children themselves) is beyond me. Even a young adult who is in their early 20’s, if they too have been abused and neglected and possibly have medical problems … even in their 20’s they are still children. But the other issue, of gun access/control, could be handled by our government, but it isn’t. Whichever party your voted for, neither of them is doing a damn thing to help control this. Guns in schools on the hips of guards? or hidden in the drawers of teachers’ desks? No thank you. Let’s resolve the problem, not add more guns.


  10. I am sick to my stomach! And sick of people and children dying in schools, churches, malls, concerts and the streets! I have made phone calls to our officials and remain to do so.
    Yes… when I was in high school guys came to school with hunting rifles hanging in their trucks… BUT they were not assault weapons that can shoot 10 rounds in seconds. Those are for the military…


    • I would love to see assault weapons banned. Regardless of how hard it is, and that there are thousands, maybe more already in the hands of private people, and that you’ll never get them all off the street. Just start working on it. Just because you can’t do a project perfectly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Well said. It is so awful that it seems to happen over and over again. I wouldn’t mind a ban on military type weapons, bump stocks, etc. for all except people with special permits, such as collectors and shooting ranges. I am hoping things will change, but I am not holding my breath.


    • The list of schools where horrible things like this weeks have happened is beyond belief. We forget so soon, I don’t even recognize all the names. The school shooting before Robb was in our own Oxford, just a few miles from here. I don’t get why assault weapons need to be in the hands of anyone outside of military or museums.

      Liked by 1 person

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