I was getting ready to go to my building’s annual semi-terrible holiday party tonight (although the cold pigs n blankets have started to grow on me), and suddenly it flashed back: the same sinking feeling. The same reluctance to go and make small talk with neighbors. The heavy weight on my mind of a school shooting.
Exactly a year since the day I didn’t want them to see me cry. Exactly a year since Newtown.
The whole Arapahoe story hasn’t yet unfolded, but I have the same horrible, conflicted feelings. And God, the questions. The questions.
What is wrong with this country? What is wrong with our children? Will there be a copycat shooter now? Am I awful for thinking about that? Am I awful for counting the miles between here and Arapahoe and using it to rationalize a feeling of security? Am I awful for looking for any reason at all to justify that it can’t happen here? Am I awful for thinking about gun control and politics and the gun lobby and the heated debates in the comments section of newspapers when someone’s child is dead?
Do I tell my kids? Do I let them ask about the hushed whispers and muffled chatter of the adults tonight?
When I hug them a little harder, when I push back the tears, do I tell them why?
And when–how–can we get to a point where we all look back and say, “well, glad that never happened again.”
My mind can’t stop playing the questions, like an old record stuck at at the end, spinning around and around, churning out that unbearable, repetitive sound with no one to lift the needle.
How do we lift the needle? How do we make it stop?
At this moment, I just need us to be here for each other. Before the fighting about the politics. Before the anger and the rhetoric and the petitions to sign and the money to send. That will come soon.
First, it’s okay to just be sad together.
10 thoughts on “Arapahoe and the awful deja vu”
Here I sit at Starbucks after having dropped off my kids at another Denver area high school swimming pool, not as blithely as usual, but trying to maintain the “as usual” feel–even as all the carpool kids remembered their meet at Arapahoe a few weeks ago, even as two of them remembered that their old team used to practice there. I’m sure those parents are remembering how they blithely dropped off their kids at that school to swim, never imagining what would happen a year later.
But it’s not about the school itself, or the area, or any single easily identified (and blamed) factor. I don’t know *what* it is, but enough already. Again.
I keep seeing all these stories about how much safer our schools are now. Shiny, happy, well-coiffed morning people talking to school receptionists through bullet resistant glass. This is America.
I don’t know which to feel worse about, the fact that these stories only highlight how unsafe we are, or the face that on this horrible anniversary both of my kids were invited to separate play shooting-themed birthday parties.
Oof, Siobhan. That last line just stuck right in my throat.
Me, too. Hard to swallow.
I was just about to write a post on my own thoughts on this topic, but I’m not even sure what they are anymore. It’s such a Kafkaesque nightmare that we can’t agree that this price–innocent children’s lives–is too high. But to enough it’s a reasonable sacrifice, so nothing changes. I had thought our civilization was beyond human sacrifice, but apparently not.
That chilled me to the core, Korinthia.
As a teacher and a mom, this shakes me to the core-again. Just when I think I can stop thinking about it, it rears up again and I find myself wondering how I will protect the children-all the children.
I can only imagine Jennifer. I hope your students are doing okay with this.
Yes, let’s be sad together, across political parties and social beliefs. We can start there. Hearing the Sandy Hook 1 year anniversary stories and now this, I’ve wept multiple times this week. Still, the sadness begs the question, what’s next? How do we do better?
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