Life has been really challenging for the last two weeks, and yesterday was perhaps the worst. My son and I drove south on the Boulder turnpike yesterday afternoon, returning a borrowed car to the owner. An emergency vehicle, lights flashing, screamed past us on the turnpike, heading north towards Boulder.
A mass shooting in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, was underway. The grocery store is one that my son and I know well as it is situated a few blocks from where he used to live and is across the parking lot from the store where I learned how to knit and spin. I can’t count the number of times I crowded into the Starbucks shop in that store with my friends.
Boulder, Colorado is the home of the University of Colorado, and houses thousands of students and their educators. Boulder is a liberal city that enacted a law restricting people from possessing or selling an assault weapon within city limits three years ago; about 10 days ago that restriction was removed in a court ruling.
Boulder is the city that I moved to from California as a young wife and mother. I learned how to spin, dye, and weave fiber in Boulder. I bought my first fleece there and stopped every single year when I headed up to the Estes Park Wool Market.
I returned like a migrating bird every summer to Boulder to take continuing education classes there to maintain my Colorado teaching credentials. I camped with my friends at the high alpine lab facility in the mountains above Boulder and spent a summer there doing field research. My favorite sushi restaurant is in Boulder. My heart will always be in Boulder.
Today my heart is broken.
This is the third mass shooting to occur in my state of Colorado that I have an actual connection to. Other mass shootings have happened that I am more remotely associated with, but they are linked to other members of my family.
I wrote about my experience with and sorrow about the shooting at Columbine High School years ago. Then I wrote about my grief and outrage in the aftermath of the theater shooting where I live now, Aurora, Colorado. Today I am once again writing in the aftermath of an unbearable loss of life because someone with a weapon designed for war used it on other American citizens.
Ten people died yesterday, one of them the first police officer to respond to the shooting. He was the father of 7 children. In spite of his efforts, 9 other people are dead.
I once asked a class of students if they had ever seen someone who had been shot by a gun. Almost a third of them had.
An entire generation of students has now grown up practicing armed intruder drills and fearing for their safety in public places.
I refuse to believe that there is nothing that can be done to stop this.
I am angry. I have once again written all of my congressmen asking for reasonable gun control. I am ready to take to the streets.
Anyone care to join me?
I’m that lady with the purple cane and some fire in her eyes.
Enough is enough.