(Cover photo: Twitter/clevelanddotcom)
I was sitting at my desk no more than five minutes Monday before a colleague made me aware of the news. A high school, not 30 miles outside of the city, had a shooting. I had been receiving alerts on my phone on the train ride into town, but I get alerts on my phone if people win Oscars. If the weather will be unusually warm. If I have an appointment to wax my facial hair. I tend to ignore alerts on my phone since I get so many. This is exactly how I ignored the alert a few weeks ago telling me Whitney Houston had died.
(The morale is: If you have something important to tell me, don’t let it come to my phone as an alert. I might unintentionally hurt your feelings if it’s important.)
I say this so many times here, but I had no intention of having children. Not that I didn’t want them, or that they freaked me out as a few of my friends are prone to giving as their reasons for avoiding procreation. (“Kids freak me out! The germs! The yelling! The crying! The poop!” I almost don’t have the heart to tell them they will all meet similar fates in nursing homes.) I took one look at this world and questioned whether I had it in me to be strong enough to lose something I’d given birth to. Also said here often, I’m a glass-half-empty gal. I don’t see graduations and weddings and grandchildren. I see napalm and Agent Orange and H-bombs.
I see school shootings.
I see planes flying into tall structures, collapsing them to the ground.
WHY WOULD I WANT TO HAVE CHILDREN?! CRAZY PEOPLE HAVE CHILDREN!
Yes! Children! Sounds like a FANTASTIC idea!
These past few days, those of us with children (no matter the age) have been nervous wrecks as the copy cats are wreaking havoc with their fake bomb threats because ha ha ha, isn’t that FUNNY? I’m not one for physical violence, but I’ve never so badly wanted to manually strip the hormones out of these ignorant dipwads as much as I do right now. I used to take small comfort in knowing crazy stuff like this didn’t happen here. It was one of those “Our city has so many other problems, let’s take heart in the ones we don’t”-type of thing.
Theories are flying about why the boy did it. 17 years old, that’s still a boy. Aspects of his life being dissected for analysis. I just see photos of this kid and wonder what he must have been thinking. Then I look at my own children and wonder: If they’re lucky enough to dodge a bullet, are they sane enough not to be standing behind the gun. Booger still gets all my bail money. All of it. Every cent. I’m already writing apology letters on her behalf, just in case. (Dear Sir/Madame: I’m sorry my kid choked your kid. Etc, etc.)
I can’t imagine the grief of the parents whose children lost their lives. I can’t imagine the shock and terror of the community. It’s hard to fathom. Even harder right here in my backyard.
Hug your kids.