I’m just always there. I never hear about it after the fact. I don’t spend all day waiting for things to crop up on the news. I just happen to be there when they do. This occurs to more people now than ever, I know. But even pre-internet and facebook and twitter. I remember watching the breaking coverage of Princess Diana’s crash, late at night, with my parents after we had finished some movie. I remember my biology teacher coming ashen-faced back into the room during Columbine, and when she didn’t yell at us we knew something had happened. I remember borrowing quarters from the girl at the next pay phone on 9/11, watching my math teacher call her husband in tears, listening to people making plans to drive by the wreckage after school, asking my mother how was my father, where was he. My childhood neighborhood sprouted black ribbons like wildflowers after the VA Tech shootings. A co-worker pointed me to the advance of the tsunami in Japan as it happened—hadn’t I lived there? The fall of the Berlin wall—being held in front of the TV, and told to remember. The USS Cole and frantic satellite phonecalls. The DC sniper. The LA earthquake. I’m always there, watching it as it happens.
But I was not aware of this.
I walked through a light mist and the most beautiful night we’ve had all summer and exulted in the movie I’d just seen, as the blood drained out of little kids somewhere else. I laid claim to the pain of the innocent—reminding myself, as I so often do, of those who said the people in DC deserved it, were asking for it because of where and who they were, whereas the people in NYC were the real innocents—while someone rushed a six-year-old with a bullet wound to a hospital. I thought with relish of the movies to come, the future laid out for an actor I respected more, while people huddled on dew-soaked lawns in shock, waiting to be interviewed by police. I wrote as though I had more of a right to speak for “the people” than others, when some of “the people” were dying, regardless of words or posing or grand claims of righteous umbrage.
I know my remorse makes no more of a difference than my ignorance. I neither own guns, nor think anyone should, nor have I voted for anyone who does.
I feel bad.
I will leave up my silly self-aggrandizing post, not because it matters to anyone else, but as a reminder to myself of what a self-absorbed twat I can be.
“Are the gods not just?”
“Oh no, child. What would become of us if they were?”