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Paused Between California and Belgium

I woke up to the news of the California shooting.  I had hit snooze six times, taking me up to almost an hour past when I wanted to get up and start baking, so I rolled over and looked at my phone to force myself to wake up.  CNN News Report:

Drive-by shootings in Southern California on Friday night left seven people dead, CNN affiliate KEYT reported today, citing Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.

Brown said the suspected gunman was among the seven people killed in the incident, which occurred in Isla Vista. He said seven others suffered “gunshot wounds or traumatic injuries.” One of those victims is said to have “life-threatening injuries. The sheriff reported nine different crime scenes.

The KEYT report said “witnesses described seeing a black BMW speeding through the streets, spraying bullets at people and various targets.”

The news made me feel physically ill. Unsafe. Even though we live far away from California. When something like this happens, no distance feels far enough away to be able to say that it could never happen here. It has happened here.

I spent the morning bleaching the house, trying to restore order to my space if I couldn’t restore order to the rest of the world.  A person should be able to make it from point A to point B safely.  A person should be able to go to work or school or a movie theater or a political rally and walk out of said workplace, school, movie theater, or political rally and back into their boring, everyday lives.

Later in the day, I looked at my phone again.  Another CNN alert.  I could see the first few words, and I thought that it was a new alert about the California shooting, lowering the body count.  Maybe they had gotten it wrong.  CNN News Report:

Three people were killed and another was seriously injured in a shooting today at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels, Interior Minister Joelle Milquet told CNN affiliate Bel RTL.

Milquet said a person arrived by car, entered the museum and quickly opened fire before leaving.

Two separate incidents, over five thousand miles apart.  Three thousand miles in one direction, another three thousand miles in the other direction, standing in the middle and feeling as if the world is tottering like a spun top, about to fall on its side.

It pauses you.  It pauses your body and your brain in the face of such unfathomable loss.  There are all the things we can’t control for: cancer, heart attacks, accidents.  When you see so many people lose their lives to another person’s violence, it pauses you.

My heart is with the families of those now gone.


1 loribeth { 05.25.14 at 11:42 am }

When I heard about his misogynistic rant, I was immediately reminded of Marc Lepine & the Montreal Massacre of December 1989, in which 14 women died simply because they were women. 🙁 Very sad that not much has changed in almost 25 years.

2 jjiraffe { 05.25.14 at 11:59 am }

I went to UCSB, and lived in a sorority house next door to the one where the shootings took place. A month ago, I took the twins to Isla Vista and we took pictures across the street. http://jjiraffe.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/paradise-lost/

3 Justine { 05.25.14 at 8:33 pm }

I don’t understand what’s happening, why these people feel so completely alienated, why so many people have to die at the hands of people who are clearly not in their right minds. Violence never makes sense, but this kind of violence feels particularly senseless. I feel like there is a rift in the world, somehow.

4 Working mom of 2 { 05.25.14 at 10:27 pm }

One of the victim’s dads had it right. Blame falls squarely on the NRA/GOP. Disgusting. I too used to live close to there in Goleta.

5 deathstar { 05.26.14 at 11:43 am }

I find myself getting incredibly jaded about what happens after something like this – the talk about mental illness and the talk about guns and the talk about who is ultimately responsible, I even heard how “nothing could have been done” to prevent this. I shake my head at the presumption that we aren’t all connected to one another.

6 Lori Lavender Luz { 05.26.14 at 6:21 pm }

No words. Thank you for finding some.

7 Life Breath Present { 05.26.14 at 6:34 pm }

I have such a hard time with things like this , I actually in many ways avoid the news. I just can’t take it…though feeling out of the loop is sometimes troubling, it’s far less troubling than walking around knowing so much and having a sense of despair and pain for others.

Just hearing about things through Hun is quite enough for me to remain distant , yet thoughtful.

8 Lora { 05.26.14 at 8:35 pm }

There just isn’t any explanation. I feel the Dad has a valid point on the gun issue, but we also just need to closely examine the way we care for the mentally ill in our country. He saw a psychiatrist who prescribed a medication which COULD have helped prevent this (possibly) but the young man chose not to take it. Until we see mental illness as something akin to diabetes, or high blood pressure, where people feel that medication IS ESSENTIAL and can save lives and should not be looked down on, people will continue to lose their lives from mental illness. Just so, so tragic. Thoughts and prayers with ALL the families, including the shooter’s family who raced to stop him and were too late.

9 Battynurse { 05.27.14 at 1:42 pm }

It does really affect you so much. I was in Santa Barbara last week although I didn’t go near Isla Vista. It was just surreal thinking I had just been there.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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