A few weeks ago I was driving around town with my husband. We decided to go to the movie theater to see what was playing and then he wanted to show me this area behind the movie theater where they starting a housing development. We parked the car for a moment up on a hill to look at the empty lots where new houses would be in the future. “Does that guy have a machine gun?!?” said my husband. I was seeing the same thing and indeed, had the same thought. There was a young adult male standing at the back of his SUV pointing what looked to be a machine gun at something, as if he were about to do target practice with it. Next to him watching and laughing was a younger looking male (I swear he had to be a pre-teen) holding what looked to be a shotgun. I could see the face of the younger kid with the shotgun more clearly because he was facing us (they were both at a distance though – thank god) and he looked like he was laughing in a fun way.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was I really seeing what I was seeing? Was I really seeing two young adults playing with a machine gun in such an nonchalant way, right next to a busy shopping area? As we both stared in disbelief the guy with the machine gun turned his head and looked at us. I felt fear go through my veins and I wanted to be out of there right now. We drove away a few moments later. We talked about maybe calling the police, and maybe we should have, but I don’t think what they were doing was even illegal.
My mind keeps flashing on this weird, terrifying moment. I still can’t believe it was real.
I came into work early today to do a library tour for a group of 60 children: a class of 4th graders and a class of 1st graders. I showed them around the library, read them a story, and then pitched the Summer Reading Program to them. They were great kids and I had a lot of fun with them. They were supposed to go on to the park for lunch but their plans were inexplicably changed suddenly while I was reading the story to them. I noticed the teachers whispering in the back of the room, looking at their phones and I could sense something was wrong. When I was finished the teacher leaned over me to whisper to another teacher: “there was a shooting at Reynold’s High School.” The class was going straight back to school, no playing at the park. Reynold’s High School is just down the highway from Sandy. Local enough to warrant the teachers taking some precaution with the students by getting them back to school right away.
An hour later the story hit national news. In the end one student (a high school student!) and the shooter are dead.
This is the second time a shooting has hit way too close to home. The Clackamas Town Center shooting happened a few days before the massacre at Sandy Hook a two years ago. I shop at the Clackamas Town Center mall every weekend. It is my local mall. And there was a mass shooting there.
This is scary shit. It is sad. And scary. And horrible. I am at a loss for any real thoughtful coherent words. I could get on my soapbox right now – if you know me you know that I am against guns. I believe we need to get rid of them completely. But what good is it for me to stand on my soapbox and scream these words at the top of my lungs? People are dead today. And nobody will listen. I don’t want to have a discussion about it. I want the guns to go away.
I am just very disheartened. That’s all. I want to be able to shop at my local shopping mall and not think about somebody shooting up the place. I want to be able to go to work everyday without the very slight fear in the back of my mind that someone could walk into the place with a gun and start randomly shooting. it would be nice to live life without those ever-present fears that are always there in one way or another. Most of the time it is dormant, but on days like today it makes it presence known.