In regards to the recent school shooting in santa monica, I would like to say a few things.
- Thoughts and prayers to the students and families.
- I know schools (amongst other public places, such as shopping malls and public squares, are gun free zones)
- guns do not kill people. People kill people. But unarmed people tend to kill less.
- I am not saying no to guns (if you want it, have at it)
- Stricter background check does not equal erasing the second amendment. Nor do stricter gun control laws. If you want a gun to protect yourself, to protect your home, I will not say no to you.
But those students were exactly where they needed to be: trying to better their education. And that is the part that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth
but we know that
no matter how many knives
we put in each other’s backs
that we’ll have each other’s backs
OTP: Call my bluff
One summer, several years ago, my sister (Sarah) and I were at the beach. It was hot, so we decided to go play in the water. When we got out, we decided to go “climb” on the rocks - I think we were about 18 or 19 at the time? I can’t remember if we had started university or not.
Anyways, so we’re climbing the rocks and there’s surf crashing, and there’s this woman crying on one of the boulders. We hesitated for a moment, because we were young, because we weren’t sure what exactly to do, because no one else was reacting and that was kind of the problem. I maintain kids have a sense of intuition that adults don’t. So we’re there, standing on this boulder with people stepping around us, watching this woman crying at the edge of the boulder.
For the life of me I can’t tell you why we went over. We just did. I guess the sight of her crying there triggered a sense of empathy, or something. So we went over to her, and asked if she was okay.
She told us she had just broken up with her fiancée, that she was extremely devastated, that she had never known depressed that severe. I don’t know how long we were there for - an hour? maybe more? But I remember just sitting there with her and Sarah, and just talking to her. We listened, and we were just sitting there, and listening. That was really all it was.
As we were about to leave, she said that she had been there for several hours, and we were the first ones to have actually stopped to talk to her. She said she had felt that there was nothing left, but the two of us - a couple of kids at best - had reminded her there was still good in the world.
Sometimes, we just need to be reminded of that. To do something not even because we had to, not because it’s the “right” thing to do, but just because. Because sometimes acting like a sentient being is enough.
I think it’s really hard to describe what happened at Virginia Tech if you haven’t seen Virginia Tech.
I mean, in some ways we have. We’ve all seen the pictures. They’re right there. They’re almost iconic now, even if not for the reasons they should be. But they’re there. Those pictures are grim, and they’re quite hard to forget.
But it’s not quite the same as actually seeing the campus.
I didn’t see Virginia Tech when the shooting occurred in 2007, but I was there for the one-year anniversary in 2008.
I remember that day because it was cold. It was cold, and windy, and I was walking to class at American University and the flags on campus were at half-mast. It took me a moment to remember why, to figure out why there was the flag of Virginia Tech, and then I remembered.
It was one of the most sobering experiences I’ve had, to be standing in an almost deserted courtyard at about 7:30 a.m. and think, oh, wow, it’s been a year. It’s been a year since the worse school shooting in US history, and it happened less than 8 miles from here.
We went to Virginia Tech for the service, because it was the “right” thing to do, because it was a show of solidarity, because we couldn’t imagine not doing. We did it for a lot of reasons.
I don’t think I’ve ever cried that hard in a very long time.
It was one of the most horrible experiences I’ve had - it’s so different when you see it in person. When you look up at the hall where a majority of the massacre took place, and you’re a student, and it hits you - they were going to class that day. It wasn’t a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time - they were exactly where they were supposed to be. They were in class, on campus. The students hadn’t done anything “wrong”.
And the worse were the students, the survivors - the completely empty look on their faces when they looked up at the building. You knew without really anyone saying anything who the survivors were. It was written all over their faces - they looked like they wanted to be ghosts. Survivor’s guilt. It’s something else to see it actually happen in front of you.
I was never a student at Virginia Tech. But that day, I felt I was one. I felt their pain, and understood their healing process, and knew what they meant when they said “never forget”.
04.16.2007. You have not been forgotten.