Kids are Dead

On May 5th, 2009, in the last month of my last year of high school, a former cross-country teammate of mine walked into the building with a sawed-off shotgun. Earlier that day he had brought in a duffle bag containing thirty extra shotgun rounds and some molotov cocktails and stored it in his locker. He planned to use these to take the lives of his fellow students, but for some reason that I can never learn, he instead went into the bathroom next to the new gymnasium, sat down in one of the toilet stalls, turned the gun on himself, and pulled the trigger.

I can’t hear the news of the 28 dead in Connecticut without being transported back to that day, almost four years ago, waiting behind locked doors in the library, with little information other than that shots had been fired and no contact with the outside world, certain that somebody I loved was going to die and wondering whether one of the tables in the room, flipped on its side, would shield me from bullets. I remember the police leading us out of the building with our hands on our heads. And then I imagine if I’d been six instead of eighteen, or if I’d been a teacher in charge of the children. I imagine the kids running and screaming as the gunman came into their classroom. Or I imagine them sitting quietly under their desks, shaking, crying, hoping and praying that they wouldn’t be noticed. This was real; this is no political or media construct:

Kids are dead in Newtown, Connecticut. Continue reading