Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Scary Story

I'd put off telling this story, but...well, eventually I want this mish mash of  a blog to end up in the hands of somebody who wants to know about my family's life.  (Like, my grandkids?  I can dream, right?)

I live in a really little town.  Geographically, it covers a fair amount of area.  The roads get congested in the mile or two surrounding where the freeway cuts through.  But Main Street is just a tiny thing, we all gather at the creek every Fall to watch the salmon come back, and the favorite steak place in town has been there for as long as anybody can remember.

Nothing happens here.

One Saturday, I load my three kids in the car and we head to the part of town where Main Street stops bordering shops, and starts bordering horse pastures.  There's an incredible plant sale going on at a home-based nursery, and we load up the car.  The kids are over the moon about all the flowers I let them pick out (Grandpa sent them with a cash allowance and instructions to pick out some flowers for their very own, for them to tend to.)

Coming back into town, I see brake lights at the stop light.  Odd.  It seems theres a car parked in the right lane- I pull up behind him and wait for the light to change, check over my shoulder, and quickly get into the turn lane to inch around him.  He's a slender man with short blond hair, wearing camo pants.  I can see a gas tank in his open trunk, and he's holding a rifle while loading boxes of what I assume to be ammunition into his capacious pockets.

Wait, a gun?  My heart skips a beat.  I quickly berate myself for jumping to a bad conclusion, and assume that he has been out hunting, his car has broken down, and he is taking everything dangerous out before he leaves the car to wait for a tow.  Yes.  But it's such a clean looking car, a little silver Kia.  I quickly look away before he sees me looking at him, and drive to the hardware store for our next errand.

Between that light and the hardware store, I see or hear 4 or 5 police cars with sirens blaring and lights flashing- I wonder what could be happening?

As I'm leaving the hardware store, my sister calls me in a panic.  "Where are you?  Are you anywhere near Main Street?"  I just drove through there, I replied.  Why?

"There's a man with a gun.  The whole street is shut down."  And then, all my breath leaves me, and I realize that yes: it WAS a bad thing he had that gun.  And even still, my head is trying to tell me that it's impossible.  Some concerned citizen called police, and everyone is in a panic.  That poor man.

"We just saw him.  We drove around him, as he was unloading his car trunk." I replied.  And then my sister and I nearly have a telecommunications cry party, with me in the Home Depot parking lot with a cart and three children.  Because I knew that I was wrong, and so was he.  Nobody walks through town with a hunting rifle.

He could have walked to the library, it was full of people.  He could have gone in the community center as he walked by.  He could have gone to the garage sale across the street at my friend's neighbors.  He could have shot us as we waited behind him at that red light.

Instead, he walked to a school, wouldn't put his guns down when police issued the command, fired random shots towards them, and was shot down.  There were games going on, there were students and parents, and he didn't hurt anybody.  He seemed to just have a death wish, and wanted to go out in a blaze of macho-fueled glory.  But I'm still haunted by every what if, and every why.  My brain can't seem to comprehend that 15 minutes after we drove around him, he was dead.  I feel entirely sheltered and naive in saying all this, and a bit crazy that even after all these weeks thinking about it makes my heart race.  Nothing happened!  But still, so many questions were left behind.


Elizabeth said...

Wow...Wow. I just don't know what to say...It definitely doesn't matter where one lives anymore. Violence travels. I am grateful that you and your children were safe/protected - that everyone was. Wow. You know, that happened in Chapel Hill, when I was in the hospital with a problem during my pregnancy with my oldest. A disgruntled man went down Main Street shooting people...

Wow. I just told my husband about your experience and he was just the same way I am...Wow.

Anonymous said...

That IS a scary story. I think my reaction would have been the same as yours. I'm glad you were protected even when you didn't know you needed protecting. Sometimes I sit and wonder how many times that happens and I'm just clueless in the moment. We do have a loving Heavenly Father don't we!

Aunt LoLo said...

That...was an insane day. Absolutely insane.

Alexandra said...

An angel was definitely looking over you and the children that day. I am so glad you are safe. God is good.