I remember the Oklahoma City bombing. I was 7. I remember that it was too much for me to conceive of, that I absolutely could not understand how something like that could happen, and why someone would do something to deliberately hurt people. I remember that there was a daycare in or near the building, and that very small children were hurt.
I remember the Unibomber. Opening the mailbox became something to do with caution.
I remember Columbine. I was in 5th grade. I remember looking around my classroom, wondering what I would do if one of my classmates started shooting. For the rest of my educational career I wondered about the people I shared a school building with, would they snap, would they come after me?
9/11, anthrax, taking of my shoes to fly. Terrorism. Suddenly, nowhere was safe. I didn’t know anyone hurt, but I’m from New England, I have friends from New York City. That pain is so far reaching.
The bombings in London. I was in Italy, heading towards London. Confusion, uncertainty. The rest of the world was also unsafe.
Virginia Tech. You can never stop scrutinizing those around you, worrying.
A boy I grew up with breaks into a home and kills a stranger, for “fun.” I know I can no longer feel safe in my own home, that there is nothing sacred. It marks a beginning for me. I have not felt safe in any situation since.
The Japanese tsunami. Not an act of man, but the first time I had to scramble, updating Facebook, combing through statuses. I have friends living in Japan. trying to get in touch with everyone, make sure that they are OK.
A shooting in an Oregon Mall, and then Sandy Hook. Both three hours from places I’ve lived. I’ve become desensitized. I feel sad, but mostly just go on. There’s nothing I can do, and I’m no longer surprised.
Today, at the Boston Marathon. Boston is the hometown I refer to because no one actually knows where my actual hometown is. It’s my geographic landmark. I have so many friends who live there. They are all OK.
My soul hurts so much right now. I am so far from Boston, but feel so close. And yet I feel no shock, no ‘how could someone do this?” Of course someone did this. Of course it happened today, with that last mile dedicated to Sandy Hook. Of course.
There is no sense of security left in my world, in this world, and I am sad and heartbroken and scared and so, so glad that no one I know was hurt. But those people I know, they probably know people who are hurt.
I am miserable, but not surprised.