Tuesday, October 10, 2006

two worlds

Autumn raindrops chase each other down the glass as I look past their races into the parking lot outside. The smell of coffee and pastries fills the air. I sit with my headphones connecting my ears to my laptop. I feel disconnected from the world around me. Lips move all around me, dishes bang together but I hear none of it, giving me the sense that I am invisible. Watching from a distance.

I have put aside my book on cybernetics, slowly sip my coffee and watch the occasional pair of headlights dash by the window in front of me. I think the shop is closing soon, but I am not sure. No one seems to be in any hurry to leave, like this place is the last place on earth that allows people to simply sit. Being slow is okay here, and the contentment on the faces I see is evidence of that. All of us are kings of silence, ruling in this moment of peace before we turn off our computers and head back into the world of terrorist plots and child abuse.

I often wish I could bottle this feeling of contentment that I sense right now, so I could open it up every so often and quench my thirst when knee deep in busyness. I wish I could have reproduced this yesterday afternoon when I received word that there was a school shooting in a middle school down the street from my house, a school in the same district that my wife teaches in. She assured me that no one was hurt and only one shot was fired, but it still happened. And so it seems that moment is a world apart from this moment here.

I began to wonder how a 13-year old kid would be able to get his hands on an assault riffle. Who needs an AK-47 in their house anyway? Are deer taking some sort of steroid now that makes them impossible to bring down? Granted, I am unfamiliar with guns. I do like football and will drink an occasional lager, but my manhood can still be questioned when it comes to hunting. Guns were strictly forbidden in the Epperson household. To the extent that my brother and I were not allowed to play Duck Hunt on Nintendo because it involved using a gun.

Regardless, I ask again, how could a middle school kid walk out of the house with a gun? Who is at fault here? I honestly do not think that we should blame his parents, the NRA, or Harry Potter as if it is my place to make that call. It could be yours, and you have your right to an opinion. But I do know, that a scared kid held the man who hired my wife four years ago at gunpoint yesterday. And I am left wondering when something like this will happen again.

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