Author’s Note: The deadly coronavirus pandemic has halted another: mass shootings. As people start to gather again in places of worship and students head back to school, this fear terrorizing our communities again raises its head. As the world attempts to return to a sense of normalcy, we need to continue working against this disease, too, and remember those for whom we fight.
Eleven people were murdered in their place of worship on the 27th of October in 2018. Before that, 10 were killed in their place of learning. And before that, 17 were killed in their high school. In just three of the 323 mass shootings that had occurred in the United States by the fall of 2018, 38 people were shot down and killed. In the other 320, 349 people were killed, with numerous others injured. While those statistics alone are horrific, the terror lies in the stories we hear, and the individual lives that were ended.
Joyce and Richard and Rose and Jerry and David and Cecil and Sylvan and Bernice and Daniel and Melvin and Irving all went to synagogue on an October morning, and never left.
Isn’t a house of God supposed to be the safest space of all?
A place where they could go and pray and find community and happiness.
An AR-15 disrupted this tranquility.
It blasted bullets through it.
Christian and Chris and Sabika and Angelique and Shana and Kimberly and Aaron and Jared and Cynthia and Ann all went to school on Friday, May 18, and never left.
It was a sunny day, and everyone was excited for the end of school.
People sat in art class and roamed the hallways, talking and laughing.
A gunman barged in, shattering the joy.
It destroyed their future.
Alyssa and Scott and Martin and Nicholas and Aaron and Jaime and Chris and Luke and Cara and Gina and Joaquin and Alaina and Meadow and Helena and Alex and Carmen and Peter all went to school on Wednesday, February 14, and never left.
It was Valentine’s Day.
It was a day dedicated to the love that we have for each other.
They never got to say goodbye,
or say, “I love you,” one last time.
It was the end of childhood innocence.
All of these people had stories.
They had lives full of potential that they never got to realize.
Not one of the 58 in Las Vegas or the 49 in Orlando or the 26 in Sandy Hook or the thousands more everywhere else.
Who else will be lost?
We say, “not one more,” but then one more happens. People ask what they can do. You can vote. You can protest. You can write a letter every single day to your local and federal administration. Make it known that this epidemic of gun violence should not and will not be tolerated.
Accompanying photo: “The Pandemic before the Pandemic” by Betsy Marantz
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