© 2016 – Elaine Farrington Johnson
It was the worst mass murder in U.S. history. The President and First Lady attended the memorial service. Too many of these events had occurred over the years.
The murderer had a history of mental illness. The nation’s strict gun control laws were useless. Improvised bombs planted all over Chicago’s commuter corridors had been timed to explode at the height of the morning rush hour. Hundreds died in less than a minute.
President Larson addressed the vast assembly at the candlelight memorial.
“It is with a humble heart that I address you tonight. Everything we’ve tried to prevent these atrocities has failed. It is not enough to control how one person kills another, we must understand why they kill. The majority are not because of a religious or political agenda, but rather being disenfranchised from society, isolated, and ostracized seems the chief cause.
“As a nation, we must come together to bring belonging and hope to these people. Only when we show them love will they know love, for only love will stop these tragedies.”
I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of October 3, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.
Given the image, it’s impossible for me not to write about events such as the Las Vegas mass shootings that occurred last Sunday evening. 58 people died and over 500 were wounded. We all ask ourselves the same questions after one of these tragedies but we don’t seem to be any closer to an answer.
I chose not to take the obvious route, but unlike how I’ve woven my wee tale, the National Center for Biotechnology Information doesn’t agree that there’s a clear connection between mental illness and gun violence (and I eliminated guns in my story).Newsweek seems to believe that since statistically, white males commit the majority of these shootings (54 percent since 1982), something akin to a sense of entitlement might be involved.
Neither of these explanations is particularly satisfying nor to they point to a solution.
I deliberately used bombs rather than guns in my story because if guns aren’t available and someone is intent on violence, they will find a way. Consider the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the scores and scores of middle eastern terrorist bombings.
I don’t know if there’s a universal method of preventing these tragedies. Maybe outlawing guns is part of the solution, but while that might prevent some of these incidents, criminals will still buy guns illegally, and as we’ve seen in other societies (Israel has one of the toughest gun control laws in the world), people will still find a way to hurt one another.
To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com