It was twenty four hours before I heard about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Two days more before I learned about the Kroger shooting. Longer before I realized that Pittsburgh had followed Kroger’s bloody footprints, not the other way around.
I have never watched the news. Our newspapers had been piling up on our driveway for weeks. I had spent months ensconced in my small world.
It was Facebook that told me.
A place of worship had become a death trap. My heart dropped. I went to find my husband.
“Did you know about this?” I asked.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
He doesn’t have an answer.
Three seconds later we’re interrupted by giggling kids. We didn’t talk about it again. We didn’t talk about the Kroger shooting at all.
Last week I came across this beautiful article.
And I was disappointed in myself. How had I become desensitized to shootings, pain, hate, enough that I haven’t even acknowledged that it happened for more than a second? I hadn’t witnessed, I hadn’t done. Anything. Not even a prayer.
My current circle is homogeneous. That is my fault.
And yet, I have read countless stories of the Holocaust. Anne Frank, Troubling a Star, We Were the Lucky Ones. Countless of slavery and civil rights, The Warmth of Other Suns, The Secret of Wings. Some true and some based on truth. I have walked the streets of Rome and seen the “stumbling stones” dotting the Jewish Quarter remembering those who are no longer with us. I have been to Dachau, to the slave memorial. Why was it so easy to move on with my life?
I remember Columbine and Sandy hook. I read about the victims. I cried. I remember Sutherland and Las Vegas. I was horrified, but I wasn’t surprised. Now, death at the hands of a random gunman while not common place, has been seen before. The impact is not as searing on the distant observer.
And so, a new commitment.
To take a moment and mourn.
To say a prayer for those left behind.
To listen to stories that are different from my own.
To teach my children to do the same.
To seek out the voices
on social media,
in the news,
and in books
that tell me a different way of life.
A new story.
So I relearn
that my way isn’t the only way,
my experience isn’t universal.
I can think of everyone more clearly as my family
And feel the loss,
and the joy of each member.
If you have any suggestions. I’d love to hear them. Books, instagram accounts, articles….