On the 15th of February, there was a mass shooting in my hometown. If you watch the news or exist anywhere within the social internet, you probably saw Aurora making the headlines. You probably saw police officers upon police officers rush to the scene. You probably saw the memorials and the flowers and the tears.
But you might not have heard the sound of a heart shattering.
This is not a political post. This is not a religious post. This is not a news post.
This is me. This is me, speechless.
I'm a writer, I'm a talker, and these are the only ways that I know how to work through things. But I've come to the realization that I simply can't write or talk this one out. I can't even begin to imagine the pain of sending the text that we've all seen, "I've been shot at work, I love you." Think about the people you love the most - whether it be a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister, parents, grandparents, or friends, bring them to mind. Who would you text in that moment? Who would you tell that you loved them, if you knew it would be the last time? What would you say? Now imagine that you're in that moment. How utterly terrified would you be? How would you feel? Can you even imagine at all how it would feel?
I love my town. Aurora exists in its own universe, its own culture, its own vibe. I've grown up here. I've cultivated my personality here. I met my favourite people in the world here.
I can't solve this. I can't offer up any advice at all. I have no answers, I have no words.
Do you ever stop and think about how earth is kinda just a big rock floating in the sky? This thought alone makes me think that nothing is guaranteed. We just assume that today is Monday, and tomorrow is Tuesday, and we can't wait for the weekend. I'm not trying to get all existential up in here but just think - none of this makes any sense at all. We exist so precariously, just perched on the ledge, with the constant possibility of tipping over. The 15th of February is a day we will never forget, even if we tip tomorrow. Suddenly, it's one of those days we discuss with strangers, with people we see in the coffee shoppe, with our professors and bosses. "So, where were you when it happened" and "oh my goodness, I'm so sorry for your loss" have become phrases used in all conversations.
You know what scares me a little bit more than anything else? More than being in a place where it might happen? The people who seem unfazed. The people who said to me, "Oh, yeah, but that happens all the time", and moved right on in the conversation. Like it doesn't matter. Listen, it's your call to have your own opinions, but I promise you something: it matters. It matters. It really, really matters.
I've been really afraid. I've been really disheartened. But, at the same time, I've watched our community come together in a way that makes me optimistic. It's a melancholic mix of being uplifted and also down. The way that humans from all over this town have come together to share our grief and lift up those 5 souls whose lives were lost, as well as the injured and the people who risked their lives to help, has encouraged me.
I googled Aurora a few days ago. All that came up for the first few pages were about the shooting. I want to say, even if this never reaches them, to them families who lost their loved ones: I am so sorry. I am so sorry. I am so sorry that this has happened. To the injured: may you be healed in full, in your bodies and minds. To the police force and everyone who was on the scene: my sincerest thank you.
Friends, be safe. Tell your loved ones you love them. If you or anyone affected by the events of February 15th are in need and there's anything I can do, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will find the resources and people to do whatever I can to help.
Sending all the love your way ~