Wednesday afternoon, I didn't get to eat until after 2:30 or so. I was pretty hungry, so I went to the dining hall I can't stand, because it was the closest one still open. But what I saw when I entered the cafeteria was the shocking news....well, you know by now that I'm going to say it was about the shooting in an Omaha mall.
I didn't write anything here for several reasons. Part of it was that I had school things and social things happening, and part was that on Wednesday I just didn't know what to say. Wednesday turned into Thursday, and then it became the weekend, and I figured it was too late to say anything meaningful. And then I realized how utterly horrible it is that before the funerals have even happened, my MTV-generation mind has already classified this horrible occurrence as "old news," that people might be disinterested in a piece of writing about eight people losing their lives unexpectedly and, by my best judgment, unfairly.
The truth is, I'm angry at Robert A. Hawkins for senselessly taking 8 lives and his own. I didn't realize until tonight in my Bible study that I was still pissed off, that I hadn't moved on to whatever the next stage of grief is.
My brother described the shooting as "numbing and incomprehensible" in his post about the shootings, and that is right on. This kind of thing does not happen. Now I get it when people respond to tragedies with "I never thought this could happen to me." Why would anybody ever predict that they'd be a part of something so horrible, so thoughtless, so devoid of humanity?
I never wanted to know what it felt like to make phone calls to my friends and family and ask the question "is everyone alive?" but now I know. All because a young man -- he's my age, which is weird to me -- decided that the best way to become famous was to make it rain bullets in a shopping mall at Christmas time.
Hawkins said in his suicide note that he wanted to "go out with style." I've been racking my brains since Wednesday and I still can not think of anyone who thinks it's stylish to tear eight families apart during a time of year when things are supposed to be happy and full of love. Those victims were probably shopping for their loved ones, anticipating the joy that comes with giving a gift. Instead, they had everything taken away, all in the name of some demented idea of "style."
I'm hoping that I remember to remember all the people whose lives were torn apart by this shooting, even if CNN has quit updating their stories on it. I pray that I haven't lost touch with humanity to the point where I only care about something like this for as long as the news networks do, and then my attention turns to the next story, never to revisit this one. But mostly, I pray for the people who never thought that the last time they saw those 8 family members was the last time they'd see them, forever. Robert A. Hawkins has given them the least merry Christmas of all.
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