Thursday, March 15, 2018

rise up

in the darkest hour
in the dead of night
as the storm clouds gather
and the lightning strikes
and the thunder rolls
and the cold rain blows
the future it holds
what god only knows
and i will rise up
i will rise up

~ lyle lovett

that's how many american children have died by gun violence since sandy hook.

it's equivalent to wiping out everyone at our daughter's high school four times over.

i thought about that today as i watched hundreds of her fellow students walk out of school, gathering to honor kids killed in US schools, and demanding change in gun laws.

before the walkout got underway, i ambled about taking photos of the school sign, the principal setting up a loudspeaker, other parents congregating on the sidewalk...and i noticed a young woman standing alone, unmoving. as i neared her i saw her eyes were red and full of tears. in that moment i went from "interested observer" to "father trying not to sob in public."

"thoughts and prayers are great
but we want action."
i kept walking past, not wanting to intrude on her grief ~ and to get a handle on my own, percolating closer to the surface than i realized.

within minutes the southwest corner of the school grounds was filled with students carrying signs, chanting, cheering. cars going through the busy intersection honked and waved, while police cruisers sat silently at a discreet distance.

as student leaders took their turns on the PA, a man wearing an earpiece looked on from just a few feet away. he was inconspicuous, motionless except for his eyes, which sharply scanned the crowd. behind him and to his right, washington governor jay inslee waited for his time at the microphone.

perhaps it's because of our deteriorating political climate, or the immediate reason for the gathering itself...but it occurred to me that there are people out there ~ extreme in their distress or in their beliefs ~ who might take a shot (or 50) at an assemblage like this.

i thought about the 17 kids killed at marjory stoneman douglas high school, and tried to imagine 17 kids in this crowd disappearing randomly and forever. in that moment it was hard to breathe.

there was a time when i would've felt paranoid for thinking such a thing. 

that time, of course, is over.

No comments: