IN RE THE SHOOTING AT UCLA TODAY

  1. The thing I still can't wrap my head around is how normal this all feels.
  2. The building I work in is a couple blocks from UCLA.
  3. The area nearby, Westwood, is an area many of my co-workers frequent for lunch every day.
  4. When the news broke in our offices that UCLA was on lockdown due to an active shooter, it was via a supervisor warning us not to go to Westwood during the upcoming lunch break.
  5. We sat in the break room at lunch and watched the news to the tune of double sirens: the ones screaming by outside & their echoes emanating seconds later from the screen.
  6. The people around me joked about the situation.
  7. Two co-workers and I left the building, against advisement, to use our phones.
  8. One of my co-workers had received a text from her brother, a UCLA grad student, letting her know he was safe, sheltered in a classroom.
  9. My other co-worker and I texted our families.
  10. None of it felt abnormal in any way.
  11. When we arrived back inside, it had moved on to being declared 'just' a murder/suicide.
  12. The jokes being made increased.
  13. They made my stomach twist - thinking of it now it still does - but in a sick way I couldn't blame anyone for joking about it.
  14. I didn't want it to feel so damn normal, sitting there eating my lunch, hearing the sirens, texting my mom & my sister to let them know that the increasingly inevitable moment a shooting touches our family hadn't happened yet, watching students be released from locked-down buildings, seeing feelings etched on their faces I can't name but feel too.
    Some mix of relief and trauma and resignation maybe.
  15. I don't want to live in this place where this feels so normal.
  16. I don't want to drive home to analysis on the news about how college campuses can modify their classrooms to offer protection from gunmen.
  17. I don't want to exist in this realm where a murder/suicide feels like a relief, like it's okay those two lives are cut short because at least it was only two people and there are no other injuries.
  18. I don't know what else to say.
  19. If I could I'd singlehandedly amend the Constitution to eradicate the Second Amendment.
  20. And even still there's a part of me that knows that's not a reality I want either.
    (at least not the part where I or anyone else can singlehandedly skirt the democratic process)
  21. But this - this reality, this normal - this can't be the best option we have.