When I wake up in the morning, I will yet again be in a world where high school students have no better way of dealing with pain than to bring a gun to school and open fire on their peers.
Of course, as much as it depresses me to admit it, it’s been that way my whole life.
For as long as I’ve known, there’s always been a chance that I’ll show up to work or school and someone will have a weapon or a bomb, and I’ll never make it home. Or I will, but the person next to me won’t. The world has been turned upside down by these tragedies so many times that I’m not sure I ever knew which way was up.
When I arrived at work this morning, of course I was talking about the tragedy at Chardon High School, mere minutes away from my home in Mentor. My boss, in a sentiment that probably echoed that of many, told me that she saw the news coverage of the shooting and thought, “I wonder where this happened.” Imagine her shock to find out it was in her home of Northeast Ohio.
Imagine the shock of all the residents of our little corner of the world where “these things just don’t happen.”
I vividly remember watching the shootings unfold at Columbine. I was 12, and jumped at loud noises in the halls of my junior high school for many days. Other school shootings followed, and at some point loud noises no longer reminded me of gunfire.
Then, when I was in college, I sat horrified in front of coverage at Virginia Tech. I wore Hokie colors and attended candlelight vigils. I walked through my college campus and wondered what would happen if someone opened fire in every class I attended. Eventually that fear wore off, and a new quarter simply brought new classes, new textbooks, new professors and not new planned escape routes from my lecture halls or classrooms.
Somewhere, somehow, it seems we always get over these tragedies. We feel sorrow, fear, anxiety, heartbreak, and many other painful emotions. We share them with our family and friends. We talk about how sad these things are. We watch the news coverage until there’s nothing left to report. And one day, we wake up and forget, for just a second maybe, that any of these horrors ever happened. And life goes on.
Today we change our Facebook photos to black ribbons on a field of Chardon Hilltopper red. In a week or two, it’ll be back to an Instagram-ed photo of us in a field of flowers, or kissing our boyfriend on the cheek, or hiding behind a book, or planking on something ironic. And life goes on.
How did we ever find ourselves in a world where an event like this is “another school shooting”?
How have we learned to go about our daily lives like our children weren’t just shot in their school, robbed of the chance to go to prom? Or graduate? Or even just make it to homeroom?
And life goes on.
In a generation from now, when we tell our children about what we remember from days like today, hopefully we will be able to tell them in a world where the idea of a student attacking other students is foreign to them. Of course, nothing will never erase the scars that are carved deep into the very essence of our humanity when one of our own takes up arms against innocence.
But now, as I sit here and feel so helpless, it’s all I can do to hope.
- Another Senseless School Shooting (webnerhouse.com)
- Live Stream: Coverage And Updates Of Ohio School Shooting (mediaite.com)
- Students recall deadly Ohio shooting: “He was aiming right at them” – CNN International (cnn.com)