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Fri May 27, 2022, 09:34 AM

Took my daughter to kindergarten this morning/why this is personal

She'd been a bit difficult this morning. She dawdled at getting dressed. She resisted efforts to feed her breakfast, get her to brush her teeth, and do other parts of her morning routine. She really wanted to play - and when she did, it was with a toy ukelele that drives her mom and me to the point of insanity.

So I was feeling a bit frustrated and grumpy when I drove her to school. (It's raining, so she couldn't ride her scooter.) She hopped out and started to cross the street before I could help her across.

Once in the school, I got back in my car. Then I noticed it -

The name of the school, right over the front doors.

That's one of the first things they show you when reporting on a school massacre - the name of the school, whether on a sign in front or over the door.

And it occurred to me that I had no business being frustrated with my daughter.


None of the elementary or high school shootings has ever directly affected me. None has taken place in a town where I lived (though I did often pass through Uvalde en route from Austin to the Big Bend area in grad school), and no one I know has ever been directly impacted.

But I can't say that for college shootings - and it's why these K-12 shootings feel personal regardless.

On November 1, 1991, a graduate student at the University of Iowa killed four people in the physics building (Van Allen Hall), then walked over to an administrative office in a different building and shot two more people, killing one and leaving the other paralyzed. He then shot himself.

This was during my third year of graduate school at UT-Austin. I was in my office putting together a poster presentation for an upcoming meeting. (This was in the days before Photoshop and Illustrator, so I was cutting printed photos with scissors and pasting them to the posterboard.) It was fairly late at night. NPR broke its program to announce the shooting.

I got my BS at the University of Iowa, and I had taken some physics classes. So this was very jarring news.

I spent the night unable to sleep, worried that one of the professors or TA's I knew in the Physics and Astronomy department was one of the victims.

The following morning, I grabbed the newspaper - this was before online news was really a thing - and read the article.

None of the victims in Physics and Astronomy was someone I knew. So I kept reading, and my whole being stopped still when I came across the name of the secretary who'd been wounded - Miya Sioson.

I knew her.

We'd taken some classes together. I went out with her roommate once in sophomore year, though I actually had something of a crush on Miya. We were friends.

By all accounts, Miya had a good, meaningful life in spite of her full paralysis below the neck. She passed away a few years ago, but not (so far as I can tell) from anything related to the shooting.

This really affected me. It still does.

Many people will tell you that there are moments when everything seems to stop, and they remember every detail. When it comes to this particular event, there are two such moments - the one where I first heard the announcement on the radio, and the other when I saw Miya's name in the newspaper.

Not looking for pity or sympathy or anything. Nothing really happened to me, at least physically.

Anyway - that's all.

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Reply Took my daughter to kindergarten this morning/why this is personal (Original post)
cab67 May 2022 OP
Doc Sportello May 2022 #1
Freddie May 2022 #2
Srkdqltr May 2022 #3
slightlv May 2022 #4

Response to cab67 (Original post)

Fri May 27, 2022, 09:42 AM

1. Thanks for posting this

Whne someone tries to minimize the number of mass shootings as rare, stories like yours show how they touch so many other lives in terrible ways. I used to ride the bus with the Northern Illinois mass shooter and the Colorado theater shooter was offered a grad position at the building where I worked. I bet there are a lot more stories like this.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Fri May 27, 2022, 10:08 AM

2. They're posting pix and stories of the children we lost

They’re the same ages as my grandchildren. I can’t read them.
Some asshole on FB actually went there: “how can you be so upset about these children dying when you’re ok with slaughtering babies in the womb?” I lost it. My response: “does the fetus have a favorite cereal? Does it kiss its mommy goodbye when it goes to school? Does it go to bed with a blankie? HOW DARE YOU compare a fetus to an actually living, breathing, thinking child?”

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Fri May 27, 2022, 10:21 AM

3. You don't have to know the victims personally. My granddaughter will be 7th grade this fall.

She is only a year older than some of the children. My great brands will start preschool in the fall. I worry about them . I pick the grand after school and if the bus is late I worry. I heard that 3 of the children were cousins. Some grandmother lost 3 brands and has to deal with 3 bereaved children. The whole thing is tragic beyond belief. All the shootings are. I want to say more but can't.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Fri May 27, 2022, 10:49 AM

4. Up until this year,

my daughter and grandkids lived in Arkansas. I live in Kansas. We really weren't close... miles, and family separation (divorce, military family) will do that.

This year, kiddos all moved up here, and for some months, moved in with Mom. Needless to say, all that other stuff got left behind in the dust, and closeness grew. I got to know my grandkids, and kiddo adopted a boy she'd been fostering for some time. Love him like he was one of our own lineage. They stay with grandma and sleep all over the place. And now, they go off to school and *I* worry they'll come home okay. This is a Brownback legacy state. Guns are rampant here. Disrespect is rampant here. My two youngest are in what we used to call "junior high"... gods, that was a hard time in an adolescent's life when -I- was that age... and that was before guns. They've already got kids continuing to come to school, even tho they're covid-positive, which absolutely floors me. I'm under no illusions what else can happen.

My sister teaches in a Catholic school. It's a small barrio school and so the diocese, in the name of the almighty dollar, will accept anybody kicked out of any school for any reason. I'll be so happy when she can retire and get out of teaching. She agrees the whole profession has changed so much since Drump got into office, that the joy she once had in it has been ripped from it, and now with as many actual delinquents as she has in each of her classes, it leaves so little time for her to devote to teaching the ones who want to learn. And each year, their budget keeps getting cut on top of it. But I'll be honest, I'm terrified the diocese is setting the school up for horror on a mass scale, and for nothing more than money to fill the coffers they've had to empty to court settlements for pedophilia. So, between my sister and my grandkids, I spend the school year on pins and needles.

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