10:48am — My sister called “there is an active shooter at North Park."
My mom has worked at North Park for the last 18 years.
I stopped filling my cup of water and walked to the cashier, “Can you please turn on the news?”
11:06 — Following the longest 18 minutes of my life, I received a text message from my dad: “Spoke to mom. She is ok. Don’t know if it’s over”
11:32 AM – I see on Chief Jarrod Burgun’s Twitter – “Two adults are deceased in a classroom, believed to be a murder suicide. We believe the suspect is down and there's no further threat.” https://twitter.com/SBPDChief/ status/851503059221921792
I have been in a fog for the last 36 hours, trying to achieve normalcy, but met with numbness.
Three shots are what my mom heard before she led her class to safety outside the classroom. She was two doors down from the shooting. Two doors down from the loss of innocence. Two doors down from hatred and selfishness.
On a normal day, an elementary school classroom is a place of controlled chaos, but Monday was anything but normal. In the silence after the gunshots, my mom stood in the open doorway between the sound of gunfire and her students. In a time when you expect panic and commotion there was a sense of calm and order as they began to organize and file out of the classroom. Once the entire class was able to evacuate, the only thing left to do was wait. Wait for help. Wait for hope. Wait for peace.
It is with disgust that I continue to search for hope and optimism. Hope that we as a community can come together to pick up the pieces left by violence. And while we will not be able to make them whole again we must try to return to normalcy.seek to rebuild a sense of safety in our community.
EMPATHY. GRATITUDE. HUMANENESS.
In the journey toward hope and optimism, here is my plea to the community:
Pursue empathy. Achieve gratitude. Effectuate humanness.
Empathy. We have had the unfortunate fortune of leading the nightly news twice in 16 months. With lives taken by the hands of a gunman. Reach out and ask what others need. Make a donation. Listen. Really listen. And love those around you more than you did yesterday.
Gratitude. I have tried to end my recent articles with a thought on thankfulness, too often missing from our daily lives. Let me tell you: Standing in silence for 18 minutes made me understand the impact of the careless few on the rest of us. In other words: I am thankful for the safety of Emilia’s grandma.
Humaneness. In a tragic time, we seek answers to impossible questions: Who can we blame? Who is at fault? Cedric Anderson was the shooter. But knowing his name does not begin to give us the peace and security we desire. Initially, it was reported that North Park will be closed for two days.
How absurd. North Park should be closed for at least the remainder of the week. This sanctuary of safety has been stolen by Cedric Anderson and gun violence and teachers and students alike need time to come to terms with that. As an economist, I understand the school needs to be open to generate revenue, but where is the humaneness? Teachers should NOT be asked to take sick time for the closures, putting aside the fact that there is no physical place to work. This roller coaster from hell hasn't ended. Jonathan Martinez and Karen Smith are dead (and another wounded); this harsh reality takes time to mend. Give teachers that time.
Empathy, gratitude, humaneness. In times of crisis we must utilize these three traits to allow collective compassion to supersede politics and economics. Our community is greater than the sum of its parts, and times of tragedy require that we remember this.
Allow me to start: To our first responders: thank you. Over 150 were on site yesterday, some as soon as 7 minutes after receiving the first report. Thank you for putting your lives on the line for others’. Thank you for showing empathy and compassion to strangers who are nothing more than your fellow community members. At home, I’m setting aside the time to reconcile this tragedy, I’m asking my mom what she needs, and, my goodness, I am loving my family more than I did yesterday.