As I set about writing today's post yesterday morning, pulling together notes and links on a health-related story, the teevee news droning in the background interrupted itself with the announcement of shootings in Baton Rouge.
It took me a couple of minutes to work out that this was not related to the killing of Alton Sterling in that Louisiana city two weeks ago. It was new violence, new deaths.
This on top of the attempted coup in Turkey that had consumed the news for the previous two days killing 265 people, following on the 84 dead in Nice three days earlier.
And so on.
Another day, another terror attack.
Another day, another mass killing.
Another day, dozens more dead.
It's all so ordinary now, isn't it. Even expected. And that is deeply unsettling.
But we are only halfway through the month of July and the number of attacks – domestic and terror – is stupefying.
• July 1, Baghdad: 6 dead
• July 1 Dhaka: 29 dead
• July 3 Baghdad: 309 dead
• July 5 Baton Rouge: 1 (Alton Sterling)
• July 6 Minnesota: 1 (Philando Castile)
• July 7 Michigan: 3 dead
• July 7 Dallas: 5 dead (police officers)
• July 14 Nice: 84 dead
• July 17 near Orlando: 2 dead
• July 17 Baton Rouge: 3 dead (police officers)
Coming on the heels of horror in Orlando in June, those are only the shootings and terror attacks that have been most widely reported. You can see an up-to-date, full list of U.S. killings at the Gun Violence Archive.
Have I missed any? Oh god. So many that it numbs the mind. The awful part that prompted this blog post is that I can't remember the names of the places without a cheat sheet anymore, let alone the people - BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY.
Not to pile on, but Wikipedia keeps a running list of worldwide terrorist attacks – this one is the list for July.
A side note about that last link: I take issue with the classification of two listings because yesterday's shootings of three police officers in Baton Rouge do not appear to be terror-related. And I do not believe the truck attack in Nice last week was ISIS-inspired as most media have reported based only on the killer's Arabic name. At least one watchdog group agrees with me.
But those mistaken classifications are piffle. It hardly matters in the greater sense of a world that is going mad, and I don't know how to understand it.
The media and our leaders react to the individual events with platitudes never acknowledging the increasing frequency of multiple deaths one after another or that something has come unhinged in our world.
No one is doing anything useful. Moments of silence and prayer are not working.
It worries and frightens me that three and four and five occurrences (!) of terror attacks and multiple gun deaths in any given week will soon be the new normal – which can and will happen if it goes on at this pace much longer.
How do we change this? Who will do it?