a prayer for the last responders

August 6th, 2019

To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.—George Orwell

We now recognize it. It is the quiet of the dead after the gunshots stop. It is the horror of what we have become, the silent scream of disbelief, and worse, belief. We really can believe this happened again. Of course it happened again. It is allowed and yes, even encouraged, to happen over and over again.

The words we say have all become clichés. Active shooter. Thoughts and prayers. Victims and families. First responders. Their very utterance is our condemnation. We are so damn well rehearsed in the theatre of it, the pathetic script of it, the hollow sounds that hide the heinous horror of life in America.

These are the words that feign concern for those for whom there is utterly no concern: the actual people who are now and forever gone. People who did something completely unheroic and unremarkable, like wake up on a Saturday morning or go out on a Saturday night. Get groceries, see a friend, buy school supplies, go to church, go to a garlic festival for god’s sake, pray in a synagogue, dance, drink, flirt, listen to music, go to school, go to work, be a teenager, be a first-grader, be alive. And they did this as though they were free! We all do. We live as though we are free when all the while there is a target on our backs. We are not free. We are imprisoned by blind greed and exalted self-righteousness. It is callous and cruel to the point of bleak comedy.

It is the self-interest of wicked profiteers. The petty pretense of certain clueless or crassly cynical daughters. The lame defense of ex-governors or future ex-governors, the piteous pantomime of senators, the fakery of the fakest fake who ever pretended to give a shit. And then of course, it is us, some of us, who fall back on the Charlton Heston version of misanthropic rage that equates the loss of a single, beloved firearm with death itself. Pry it from my cold dead hands, the battle cry goes. But haven’t we seen enough real death by now? We have, and yet, we haven’t.

We the people are the last responders.

So I heed the calls for thoughts and prayers, but my prayers are for the last responders. I pray that we will see and cease from evil, and that America will once again be a safe place to buy pencils.


Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash


  1. Yes and yes and yes. I am heartbroken, every day, all the time.

    Comment by Marcea — August 6, 2019 @ 7:13 am

  2. Thank you Maezan,

    I posted on FB a question .. What is wrong with this country?
    So thank you for your words, they resonate with me.
    These are dark times in the USA.

    in gratuite,

    Comment by Jimmy Fox — August 6, 2019 @ 7:22 am

  3. I have a friend who has brown skin. He is a lovely, erudite man but he is fearful. Not good for him or me or any of us.

    Comment by Bill — August 6, 2019 @ 7:44 am

  4. Yes. I will stay awake and pray for all of us. I will also keep calling my republican legislators, leaving voice mails several times a week if I can remember to do so. I don’t think we are real to them; they need to hear how we feel and what we expect. We need to hold them accountable. But maybe hoping for change to be brought about this way is only wishful thinking …

    Comment by Amy Baker — August 6, 2019 @ 8:02 am

  5. Thank you, Maezen for your words!

    Comment by Jennie — August 6, 2019 @ 8:20 am

  6. Finally, and yet sadly, someone who is courageous enough to speak the truth out loud. Thank you Maezen. And may we all live to see the day when your prayer is realized (but I doubt we will).

    Comment by Kert — August 6, 2019 @ 8:28 am

  7. Living in America has become a nightmare of fear and violence. The feeling of helplessness is overwhelming. Thank you for your wise words. I, too, pray for all of us last responders!

    Comment by Sharle kinnear — August 6, 2019 @ 8:28 am

  8. ‘Once again a safe place to buy AND USE a pencil.’

    I ask myself, “Is this a place I am willing to die?” before I go into the school, the theater, the fair, the festival, the place of worship, the plane, the train, the rapid transit, the store and often the answer is such that I find myself simply at home offering useless thoughts and prayers into the void, and wondering what kind of life this is…
    The American Dream.?

    Comment by MJ — August 6, 2019 @ 1:40 pm

  9. Maezen, I am not sure I have ever heard you so… upset?
    I can hear your plea for sanity in this insane place.
    I have trouble wrapping my head around this.
    I appreciate you sharing your strong voice, it has helped me understand my anger my frustration, and my fear.

    Comment by Carol Ann Osler — August 6, 2019 @ 10:23 pm

  10. I feel the same way. Thank you for speaking up. I gain inspiration and strength to fight this from fellow Moms Demand Action volunteers who will not give up our country to armed hate. Here is Brenda Moss from Lynchburg, Va. Yesterday was her son Shawn’s birthday. He was killed by gun violence. If she can keep going, so can I. One thing I love about Moms is the grace to pick up the mantle for each other. Sometimes the grief, anger, and fear is too much and you need a break to pray or be silent or tend to your children, while other moms (and dads and others) fight. Then we allow them to rest. I will watch this again and again to keep calling, keep showing up at the Capitol, keep creating a world I want for my son and other children. I’m not sure how Buddhist the word “fight” is, but it is essential in my opinion to act.


    Comment by Eleanor — August 7, 2019 @ 2:20 am

  11. Thank you for saying all of the things.

    Comment by Bonnie Rae — August 7, 2019 @ 3:19 pm

  12. Stunning. Yes.

    Comment by Elizabeth Aquino — August 7, 2019 @ 10:43 pm

  13. Dear Karen, it really sucks and I am very sorry for what your country loses every time these things happen.
    The USA needs their own version of Jacinda Ardem (sp?) (the New Zealands prime minister).

    Comment by Simone — August 8, 2019 @ 8:24 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

archives by month