I am sitting on the couch at my sister’s house. My eyes are red from crying, but I am laughing with my nieces who are playing on the floor behind me, innocent and unaware. I keep glancing over at my daughter, who is napping beside me. She is beautiful, and happy, and sleeping, and safe, and I am so angry.
I am Victoria Soto. I am young, and I am scared, but I do not hesitate as I throw my body between bullets and the babies whose parents entrusted me with their care.
I am Tricia Benvenuti. The panicked calls are flooding my cell phone as I race to the elementary school that has become a warzone with my eight-year-old inside. Other parents — friends and neighbors — are sobbing and screaming and my feet won’t move fast enough as my mind is overtaken by three words repeating: “Please not mine.”
I am eighteen years old. I am sitting in my parents kitchen when I get the call, our local JCC day camp has been attacked by a man with an uzi. My friend, a counselor, has been shot along with three of her five-year-old campers and an administrator. It will be hours before I learn that they’ll survive. On TV, kids I babysit for are being led holding hands through the parking lot by officers with guns. The suspect is still armed and at large. Before he turns himself in a state away, he will murder a postal worker because he can.
The realization washes over me, taking my world view with it: You are not immune to this. …continue reading…