The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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Ten Years Later

on September 26, 2012

September 26, 2002. I remember that day well.  I hadn’t been at work very long that morning when we received word that they were locking my children’s school down.  There had been a shooting in the area and the police were unsure where the suspects had gone.  “Wow!” I thought. “Big excitement for our un-large town.”  I had no idea.

That morning three young men, with a fourth waiting in a car outside, walked into a local bank and shot  five people. They weren’t even really trying to rob the bank but when they left the building that morning four employees and a customer were dead.  Senseless. Tragic. Completely beyond the scope of anything that is even understandable.  There is no reason for it.  There is no trying to figure it out. What our town learned that day is that some things will never make sense. Some things are just evil at the root and no one will ever really understand why they happen.  It makes you angry.  It makes you cry. It makes you thankful for what you have and cherish each day a little bit more.  It reminds you that nothing is guaranteed and life is fleeting.  It makes you a little bit “older.”

In the days that followed we saw media from across the nation converge on our small Nebraska town.  We learned about each victim’s life and family.  We learned about the shooters and their backgrounds. We mourned as a town. Our mourning grew as we learned that one of the first responders to the scene had taken his own life the next day.  A transposed serial number off of a gun found in one of the suspect’s cars a few days before the shootings had left him feeling overwhelmed and responsible for the tragedy. He wasn’t responsible at all. 

In the months that followed we watched them tear down the building and erect a memorial park.  It’s beautiful and appropriate. A lovely memorial to the victims and their families.  We read updates in the paper about the upcoming trials.  The motions.  The filings.  The legal wrangling.  The trails themselves were moved out of our town in an effort to ensure impartial juries for the accused.  We watched those trials with interest. We as a community wanted justice to be served . It was.  We all went on about our daily lives.

This morning I woke up and realized that all of it started ten years ago today on a  crisp fall morning.  Ten years.  In that time people have moved away and people have moved in to our town. Some people don’t know what that park in the middle of town is there for.    I thought about how our community changed.  We lost a little innocence that day. Things don’t feel as “safe” as they used to.   I thought about the families of the victims who have done their best to cope and move forward, though their lives will never be the same. Children have grown up. Some have gotten married. Grandchildren have been born. Life has moved forward because that is what life does. It doesn’t stop for tragedy even though it seems like it should.  I thought about the others so affected that day:  the first responders, the detectives, the lawyers….a whole town really.  Ten years later it doesn’t make any more sense than it did before.

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6 responses to “Ten Years Later

  1. Janelle says:

    Senseless tragedy bears the most difficult grief. And time does march on.

    • wedelmom says:

      When things like this happen I understand on some level why there are people who question the reality of a loving God. It is in times like this one runs from Him or to Him. I’ve prayed for ten years now that those affected would run to Him.

  2. This was absolutely terrible and so great that you remembered today and honored those who struggled/struggle with this tragedy.

  3. momshieb says:

    I’m so sorry for what you all went through. Wishing you, and your community, all of the healing that you deserve.

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