And now in Roseburg, Oregon…

There is a pattern.

There is a recipe.
There is an outline.
There is nothing new.
We have sewn this before.
We have cooked this up.
We have sketched it out.
It’s as old as Columbine.
It is older.

There’s no such thing as a disturbed lone gun man
when there are so many disturbed young men.

We feed our children a steady diet of violence against women, children, themselves, ourselves.

We make violence our entertainment.

We shout kill them on football fields.

We hunt down wild animals.
We cage domestic.

We make violence our metaphor and our reality.

And call it barbaric when it’s a sword to the head.
We call it nothing when it’s a gun to the heart.

There is no correlation between the writing on the wall
and the posters in their bedrooms
and those desktop file folders full of hate

We make it our talking point after the weather.
We blame it on mental illness.
We take away social studies and citizenship.

It’s each of us for ourselves.

It keeps us pull up your own bootstraps hard
But we can’t afford the boots.

We can afford the ammo though.

We are responsible until we aren’t.

We kill the messengers

We harbor the guilty

This is our home invasion

No foreigner needed to climb a wall

This is our home invasion

He is always quiet
He always keeps to himself
His parents were always there
His teachers always saw the signs
He is always young
He is always right; almost always white
Him and that gun, him and that gun

and we buy him burgers and empty suggestions
and go numb and dumb and numb and dumb

into that good night.

About Margaret Elysia Garcia

Margaret Elysia Garcia is the author of short story ebook collection Sad Girls and Other Stories, and the audiobook Mary of the Chance Encounters, and the co-founder and lead playwright of Las Pachucas, theatrical troupe. She teaches creative writing and theatre in a California state prison.
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