It Was Sunny The Day I Thought I’d Have To Face A Mass Shooting


It was six years ago.

I was a substitute teacher, and covering an art class of high school seniors.

It was springtime – a special time in a high school year.

Students are antsy, and eager to leave their desks and stand in the sunshine. Seniors especially are eager to shed their teenage title and stand strong in adulthood.

The code came through on the loudspeaker – a code for a lockdown. It was not a drill.

There was a threat.

It is common, required practice to have lockdown drills in schools nowadays. Rehearsed drills to tell students, teachers, and staff on what to do if a shooter has entered a school.

This is the world in which our children are going to school.

It was springtime.

It was sunny.

That announcement came on the loudspeaker, and the light left my students eyes and fear clouded their faces.

And then, they looked to me for what to do.

They looked to me on how to protect them.

And so we followed protocol.

Hearts in our throats.

Saying silent prayers.

It turns out the threat was just a threat – and thankfully, it had not been acted upon. Nobody was hurt. Families weren’t forever changed. And life went on…but we were lucky.

It was last year.

My husband and I had went to a fundraiser in at The Boat Basin in New York City. It was crawfish boil. It was lovely.

We were invited by my best friend from college and her wife – they go every year.

My best friend was pregnant at the time.

It was springtime.

It was sunny.

The speaker of the sound system blew – and it sounded like gunshot.

I froze.

She froze.

And then we realized it was the speaker.

She told me something in that moment that I’ll never forget,

“I always make sure to sit by exits…just in case.”

It’s fall.

It’s still sunny.

There was a mass shooting last night.

There as a mass shooting last weekend.

There are so many souls killed by guns – senselessly that will never make it on the news, or on your social media feeds.

Our hearts are shattered, the pieces pulverized.

And yet, we argue.

And yet, we disagree.

And yet, we do nothing.

And yet, we try something.

And yet, we make excuses.

And yet, we give motives.

And yet, people are still dying.

And yet,

And yet,

And yet…