Disclaimer: This post is not the usual happy-go-lucky one and it does contain some foul language. Read at your discretion.
I’ve seen it. I’ve heard it. I sympathized. And, life went on.
Until I experienced it.
Today began, as normal as a day could be. I had yesterday off so moving out of bed was a bit slow. However, after hitting the snooze twice, I got in gear. Despite the frigid weather, the drive to work was typical, although the car took a bit longer to warm up. At work, my day continued with a friendly conversation with the maintenance man, catching up on email, checking the system to see which guests were expected, greeting peers, and having a cup of joe to give me a little spring in my step. Everything just as it should be…no bumps…no surprises…no jolts…
That is until after I returned from lunch.
The phone rang. Due to caller ID, I noticed it was my older son calling. I picked up, ‘Hi.’ He answered, ‘Is Ann there?’ I thought what??!?!?! Doesn’t recognize his old mama’s voice?!?!?!?! ‘Yea, it’s me’, I replied. ‘Mom’, seriousness stemmed through his words, ‘There’s been a shooting.’
As he explained, my heart became as rigid as the ice outside. Time stopped. I wanted to scream, fall on my knees, throw up, cry. But a woman entered. I ended the call. She was selling vending. And the whole time, I wanted to SHOVE her out the door. The phone rang again. It was my son. I answered, ‘Hello.’ This time he recognized my voice. ‘Mom, he is okay.’ My heart was still frozen, time still stopped. But I was able to breath. As I hung up, the woman was still standing there. ‘I know you are busy’, she said. It was all I could do to control my emotions and not scream at her, ‘I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR FU**KING VENDING CRAP!!! YES, I AM BUSY!! WORRIED SICK!! THERE HAS BEEN A SHOOTING AT MY SON’S SCHOOL!!!’
Today, I finally got it. I felt worry boiling from my stomach to my throat, shock churning my insides, and a hopeless pain of such depth I did not know which way to turn. Yes, today, a teaching assistant was shot and killed where my son goes to college. The shooter went in, pulled the trigger, walked out and surrendered to police. My thought?
SON OF BI**H…why didn’t the shooter just take the gun, put it in his mouth and pull the trigger? That way only one person would have been involved. Not two, or three or a whole campus. Why don’t any of this sickos just kill themselves? HUH!!! WHY THE HELL DO THEY HAVE TO HUNT DOWN INNOCENT CHILDREN, OTHER ADULTS, BYSTANDERS? There is NO EXCUSE for their selfish, maniacal behavior!!! NONE AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!! And what about the families left behind to deal with the whys? WHAT ABOUT THEM?
Yes, my son is safe. The school is closed tomorrow and counseling will be available. And the shooter, well he will get his 15+ minutes of fame while the victim lies dead and the family will never have a normal day again for a long time.
I did talk with my son. I mentioned prayers should go up for the victim, the victim’s family, and also the shooter and the shooter’s family. That is the right thing to do. But I will say if the victim was my son, I would have an extremely difficult time praying for someone who, in cold blood, had the audacity to pull a trigger and end an innocent person’s life. Life is not fair. This I know is a fact that is not changeable. However, shooting incidences are occurring more often than not. Case in point, just last month one occurred at a high school in Colorado. And here in Detroit, a 4 year old was recently shot by another 4 year old. The grand parents are currently in jail for not locking up the weapon that was found under a bed, while the kids were playing.
Many think guns are the problem. Since my youngest came home from boot camp, we have gone to the shooting range more than once, allowing me to get quite comfortable with a gun. Matter of fact, I was reprimanded because I shot the ‘head’ in the target and that is a no-no. Yea, but at least if it was me against some crazy nut head, I would still be standing. So, I don’t think guns are an issue at all. I do think there needs to be more stringent regulations and background checks. Also, if one has a gun within their possession, there needs to be some sort of regulation stating they will take proper precautions to make sure it is locked up, especially if children will be in the house. Guns, on their own, don’t shoot. People do. Unfortunately, people also don’t take seriously, the implications of owing a gun. It is not a toy by any means, especially if it is kept loaded, just in case one needs to use it in a hurry for self defense.
I don’t know where today’s shooter obtained his gun. Hopefully, it was not from a family member, like the Sandy Hook killer. I do know all of us have a breaking bad point. However, many of us know either how to deal with it, to seek help or realize murdering someone else, no matter how ‘sweet’ revenge would be, is NOT the answer. But there are the few who don’t think, just act. It is a scary world out there, you better believe it. And yes, this post is not typical of me, someone who is ALWAYS optimistic and looking at the bright side of life. Needless to say, I made a promise to myself to be real, vulnerable and after reading a book about guilt, of which I am always tripping myself up about, and of which this post was going to be about…later on that…I am choosing to say it like I feel it with no apologies.
Today, I experienced a storm, but I did not lose a child. Today, I learned tragedy is lurking, especially when least expected. Today, I was reminded the things I have been worried about aren’t important. Today, I am so, so, so grateful. But I know one family who is not. So I ask, please pray for them. And even though, due to my anger, I wish the shooter had killed himself, I am asking you to pray for his family and for him as well. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because…as David Wheeler, father whose son was killed at Sandy Hook, reminds us…
Take the darkness
banish it with
Even though this post is not filled with a lot of light, I feel better getting my thoughts off my chest. Thank you for being there to light my darkness. And I hope, even though today my light is rather dim, that somehow, sometime, I may burn bright onto your life.