Dear Journal: Shootings — they continue to be the story of our lives

Editor’s note: Karen Harris Tully is a writer who lives in Raymond and has agreed to keep a journal to share with Daily World readers during the odd and uncertain time we’re all navigating.

Dear Journal:

Current events in the news are especially painful. I find it hard to give them the attention they warrant and still get my own work done. So, they catch up to me in waves.

I’m thinking of the Derek Chauvin trial, the ex-police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes, killing him. The trial is traumatic, and I’ve only really caught snippets here and there. And for me, it’s sadly reminiscent of another trial, that of the officers who brutally beat Rodney King, caught on video. I was young at the time, a pre-teen, but it stuck with me. In each case, we saw the incident happen with our own eyes on the news, and then we watch as the defense attorneys try to gaslight the jury into believing they didn’t see what we all saw. I hope justice will prevail this time, I really do.

In other news, I counted three mass shootings in this country in the last few weeks, taking innocent lives in Atlanta, and California and Colorado where I grew up before moving to Washington. But there were many more, I’ve since found out. Shootings that didn’t make the national evening news. counted 104 in 2021 so far, defined as a shooting of four or more people in one incident, not counting the shooter. I couldn’t believe that number at first, and it’s up dramatically from the 66 through this date last year. Other methods of counting exclude shootings that happened exclusively in homes, which are also up dramatically during the pandemic.

But, I don’t really care how we count. My question is: how do we, as a country, continue to ignore the mass shootings? How do we keep experiencing this trauma and doing nothing? This doesn’t happen in other developed countries anywhere near as often as it happens here.

Both legislators in power, and ordinary citizens I talk to seem torn between actually doing something about gun violence with laws and legislation, and continuing to fear the gun lobby and the idea that the 2nd Amendment somehow refers to every military gun ever made, and not the very different guns they had in the late 1700s. Many possible solutions have been put forward. I say, let’s try them. All of them. Because the shootings continue. This has been the story of my entire adult life.

Song of the day: What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye

Karen Harris Tully is a novelist living in Raymond with her husband and two small children. She writes sci-fi/fantasy for teens and adults and can be found at