Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Aurora, Tucson, and Me

I have to write about it.

I've tried avoiding it.  I've tried minimizing it.  I've tried ignoring it.  I've tried tuning it out.  I've skipped headlines and entire sections of the newspaper.  It's not working.

Eighteen months ago I was one of those people... those regular, everyday people, those I just went to the movies people.... those people in the all-too-familiar hospital gowns with the silly ties that won't stay together. 

I understand why they have those goofy grins on their faces; they've lived to tell the tale. 

There is sorrow all around them, but they are here to lend an ear... or to be leant an ear themselves. 
Thirty minutes after the bullets stopped flying, I was sedated. I stayed that way until Mr. and Mrs. Obama came into my room and went right back down the rabbit hole again as soon as they left.  It wasn't until Thursday morning that I was fully awake.

I think that is why it has taken me so long to tune into the media coverage.  I have no memories of the immediate aftermath; in many respects, this was just another news story.  Once the weekend passed, though......
Location... location... location..... as your Realtor will tell you, it makes all the difference.  The Tucson shooter's family sent a relative out front with a typed statement which he read to the press before retreating to the family's home.  The Aurora shooter's family, who live in San Diego, hired an attorney who conducted a press conference wherein she said pretty much what the Tucson relative had read aloud.

The two shooters look eerily alike.  Didn't anyone in their orbits notice that look in their eyes?
I run away from the feelings and the stories and then I feel guilty for trivializing a catastrophe and then I plunge headlong into the birthday boy and the toothless 6 year old and the good dad driving the kids to the late show and I start typing through tears.

I read each and every one of the mini-biographies which ran in the New York Times after 9/11.  I wept and I smiled and I looked forward to each day's new stories.  I was touched by most, I remember some even now, but it always felt as if it had happened to the other.

There's not so much of that feeling any more.
The randomness resonates.  My hyper-sensitivity to the security of my surroundings has gotten another boost.

Between Netflix and Peapod, we really don't have to leave the house at all, do we?
I have a place to put the January 8th emotions, a special box in the corner of my psyche that I can open or close at will.... for the most part, anyway.  I don't know what to do with these Aurora feelings.  

I'm listening to stories about heroes and lost loved ones and driving through the neighborhood I missed a certain little girl who would have loved to have helped me choose my earrings for the wedding.

These Aurora feelings are just like the Tucson feelings.  I am the other.
Send love and healing vibes and warm wishes to Aurora, denizens.  I'm here to tell you that it really, really helps. 


  1. I am continuing to read about it all and write about it because I disagree with those who think we should wait before we do that. Waiting ends up doing nothing. I wrote a lengthy one on mental illness back then and again now (set up for tomorrow's blog) because somehow we have to figure out how to tag such people first for their sake and ours. We need waiting periods and background checks on gun purchases. We need some commonsense that the NRA doesn't manage to block for more dollars in their backers' coffers. We should all care whether we have yet been shot at or not because it's pure chance whether we are and as things stand, we as a people, are doing nothing to stop the next one before it happens. It's painful to watch, to read about, but if we don't care now, when will we?

  2. I'm ready to read it tomorrow, Rain. You are right on every point. "If not me, who? If not now, when?"

  3. I'm glad you have this place to let those feelings out of the box when you need to. I've had you...and all the other Tucson folks....on my mind and in my heart these last few days.

  4. I'm glad you have written about it. I've literally tried to put it out of my mind. Another senseless shooting. So much loss of life and potential. I really cannot think about it without breaking down. And I don't even have that right. I wasn't there. But for people to just be doing every day things and for this to happen, it defies logic and it rocks one's soul. You think is anything safe anymore?

    I go from feeling great anxiety about this shooting and others, to just being downright angry. This should not have happened AGAIN. There should have been checks in place to this guy obtaining so many weapons. I read a really great article yesterday in Time Magazine (http://ideas.time.com/2012/07/23/a-gunowners-case-against-assault-weapons/). It was written by someone that is a gun owner. He basically said, no hunter uses magazines like the ones used in Tucson and Aurora. They are used to mow down people. The sheer fact that they are so easily obtainable is downright wrong and they should not be available.

    I'm sending you huge hugs.

    Megan xxx

  5. Thanks, Sharon and Megan. I feel better having put it down in writing and knowing that you are out there, reading and caring.

  6. I've been thinking that you could be of immeasurable value to the survivors and their families/spouses. You have a perspective that few others have.


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