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Summer Davis, age 26, wakes at dawn and rubs the sleep from her eyes. She’ll lie in bed for another 45 minutes before summoning the courage to face the day. Davis concentrates on her breathing, calming her nerves. She will get through this, she tells herself. She will focus on the parts of her life that are positive. Over and over again, she whispers to herself the same phrase: “I will be okay today.”
The recent mass shootings plastered almost gleefully across every news network are now a regular occurrence in American society. The incidents are frequent and seemingly unending. Even if you made a point to avoid them, desperately trying to pretend they aren’t there, the collective pain of a nation still comes screeching from all formats every time you leave your bed. These long-term effects of a violent culture are not lost on Davis. She sees the worst casualty of these shootings every morning when she wakes up.
“Good morning, babe!” said Kyle Fornsworth, Davis’ boyfriend of 14 months. He leans over to kiss Davis, but she only buries herself deeper under the covers. “I gotta head out. Kenny’s got some killer wax we’re gonna smoke in the alleyway behind the shoe store! Text me if the mailman brings my Xbox controller!”
The front door shuts, and Davis emerges from her linen bunker.
“Ugh, I wish these mass shootings would stop so I could break up with him and not look insensitive,” said Davis. “Is it really so hard for people to not create a national tragedy every week so I can move on with my life? He’s getting more douchey every day. These families need to hurry up and finish grieving already.”
Last week, a student in Oregon opened fire in a school, killing eight classmates and his teacher. Around the same time, a similar plot in California was foiled when classmates overheard a group of students planning a shooting rampage at a school function. These horrific events have torn apart local communities and the nation as a whole, but they’ve hit Davis particularly hard.
“I don’t wanna be the bitch who broke up with her bae on the new 9/11,” said Davis, tears welling up in her eyes. “It should not be this hard to dump a guy who works at a goddamn shoe store. Suck it up, America!”
Some people believe stricter gun control laws are the answer. Countries like Japan, which make it very difficult for citizens to own guns, have very low crime rates. But many would argue it’s the strict discipline Japanese parents instill in their children that keep citizens in line more than gun control. Davis said she understands the conflict, but thinks the nation should do whatever it can to protect her ability to dump Kyle.
“I’m not anti-guns,” said Davis. “But I am anti-Kyle, and I fully support banning guns for at least a month so I can end things without him whining to his friends about how heartless the timing was. Then all the rural white kids can go back to Grand Theft Autoing each other in the face or whatever.”
The nation’s opinion on Kyle is evenly split, with half the country saying they don’t care about him and the other half saying “Who gives a shit?” Without a clear consensus, Davis may be waiting a long time before politicians ease her grief.
Fornsworth, on the other hand, thinks the relationship is better than ever.
“This past year of our relationship has been really solid,” said Fornsworth. “We used to fight and breakup and then get back together again all the time, but I think she’s seen how much I’ve grown. I’m way better at selling shoes now that I get high at work all the time. What? Another shooting? Oh man, please tell me there’s a video online! I wanna see people get shot in the face!”
“Seriously,” said Davis. “Dude is a straight up boner just waving in the wind. It’s like dating a gust of hot air. I’m sorry for the victims or whatever, but does the discussion about these shootings really need to drag out so long? Couldn’t the dead people’s relatives just grieve more quietly so someone who’s totally still alive can break up with their lame boyfriend who kills them metaphorically?”
Experts believe that in order for the shootings to stop, the general populace has to take a more active role in forcing change. While many claim to be outraged, few have taken the time to write their representatives or local school board asking for reform, whether it be through mental health services, gun laws or security at schools.
“Ugh, never mind. I don’t care that much,” said Davis. “The fall TV shows start this week, so I’m gonna be busy for a while. I retweeted something on Twitter about it and liked a Facebook meme about shootings that I skimmed, so I’ve done my part. I don’t see why regular people like me have to be inconvenienced if we didn’t shoot anyone.”