Sunday, July 22, 2012

aurora, colorado

Denver at dusk, Sadira 2011

I woke up Friday morning, and started my day just like any other.  And after taking a shower, brushing my teeth, and drying my hair, I turned on the Today show to listen in on the latest news and catch the 7:50am local traffic report right before I ran out the door.

But the news was different that morning. 

Instead of the typical morning show--bit pieces, mixed with featured guests, mixed with some real news---the show was a live look at a scene outside a Colorado apartment building as it was unfolding.  The apartment belonged to a suspect. 

As we all know now, that suspect had gone into a movie theater during a midnight showing and opened fire on the audience.  Innocent people guilty of nothing other than attending a movie on a Thursday night were mowed down senselessly.  While I had been sleeping 12 people had been killed and 58 others had been injured.

I couldn't watch.  I turned it off.  I went to work, and went about my day.

I avoided the stories on the internet.

I overhead people whispering about it in the cafeteria that day.

"Did you hear what happened in that movie theater?"

"I heard that one of the injured was a three month old baby."

"How could someone do something like this?"

"And to think, it's only a half hour or so away from where Columbine happened."

I didn't participate in the discussion.  I didn't look up the details online.  I didn't read the tweets or Facebook posts.  I didn't want to think about it.  I didn't want to hear about it.  

I'm still not completely sure why I avoided the news.

Maybe it's because I just didn't want to hear the horrific details.

Maybe it's because I didn't want to think about the sadness the family's of the victims must be feelings...some of them probably didn't even know that their loved ones were gone yet.

Maybe it's because I couldn't think of how senselessly these people's lives were ended while I was over 20 miles away from my daughter.  For some reason if I have to hear awful news, I at least want her close to me.  So I know she's safe.  So I know I can hold on to her a little if I need a reminder that there IS good in the world.

I just don't understand how one person can have such blatant disregard for the lives of other people.

I don't get it.

I'll never get it.

It's impossible to hear this story and not remember Columbine.  I was a senior in high school when the Columbine high school massacre happened in Littleton, Colorado.  I remember coming home from school on April 20th 1999, turning on the TV, and sitting there, on the floor of my mother's living room for 3 hours watching the details unfold until my mom got home.

I watched every moment.  I couldn't get enough of it.  I couldn't look away.  I needed all of the details.

I remember thinking how these kids were just like me.  I was a senior in high school and could relate to those kids.  I had six weeks of high school left, just like many of them did.  I couldn't imagine something like that happening in my community.  I couldn't imagine something like that happening in my school.

The next day in school we did nothing but talk about what had happened.  We speculated about the future...would there be more security in schools now?  Would metal detectors be required to enter school?  I remember sitting in religion class and my friend Kelly was sitting next to me.  I remember her saying, "all they did was go to school that day.  That's all."

And in the weeks that followed, I remember listening to the stories of those who had been killed.  The kids who had their lives taken from them for doing nothing wrong. What they were like, what their dreams and aspirations were.  How their lives ended too quickly.  Senselessly.  Just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Four months later my friend Kelly was killed in a car accident.  She was driving to her boyfriend's house when her car was struck by another vehicle that had been thrown across median of a highway.  All she did was drive to her boyfriend's house that day. That's all.  She was doing nothing wrong.  And her life ended too quickly.  Senselessly.  Just because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Two years later September 11th happened.  Same thing.  Senseless killing.  People losing their lives just for being where they were supposed to be that day.  

When the Virginia Tech shootings happened my thoughts raced to my sister, who was a college student.  How could we once again be dealing with kids being shot and killed for going to school?? How is this possible?

I don't get it.

I'll never get it.

In the meantime, now the stories of those who were killed in Aurora are starting to come out.  The details of who they were, how old they were, what was going on in their lives.  Naturally many of them were young, with decades of years ahead of them.

And while I've tried to keep a distance from this news, to not get wrapped up in the horror of it, I couldn't help but get drawn into the story of Jessica Ghawi, or Jessica Redfield as she was also known.  At 25 years old, she was only one year older than the shooter.  But I think the thing that stood out to me the most was that I felt like she was someone that I could've been friends with.  She was a redhead and a hockey fan like my friend Sarah.  She had a live life to the fullest, "no day but today" spirit like my friend Shannon.  She was southern, with sweet yet sarcastic wit like my friend Lindsey.  She like to have a good time like my friend Sandi.  She was kind like my friend Kerri

And she liked to blog, like me.  I found one of her last blogs that she had written.  It's been all over the news, and on the internet.  The story of how she survived a shooting in Toronto just a month ago, and wrote this blog post about appreciating every moment, how every moment is a gift, and not to take a single day for granted. 

I could see myself writing something similar.

And then out of the blue while putting together a puzzle this afternoon Sadira asks me, "Mommy, are we gonna hafta go through security to go to the movies now like we do when we get on a airplane?"  Just like that.  Didn't even look up from her puzzle, just asked.  I told her I don't think so, but didn't even ask her how she heard.  I've learned not ask her those kinds of things.

It was weird. 

I'm glad she didn't ask anymore.

There is no "bigger meaning" to this blogpost.  No "Aha Moment" or life defining moral of the story that came from this tragedy.  Just a stream of consciousness collection of my thoughts about these events. 

The senselessness of it has rid me of any logical conclusions or lessons that could be learned.

I don't get it.

I'll never get it.


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