We heaved relief as scores of innocents died

In response to the prompt entitled “Can’t Drive 55” by the Daily Post, and using the “Calamity Song” by the Decemberists.


Because it wasn’t us? Sure. Because the cause never affected us, but could have? sure. We were born to be the privileged, the few who escape murder on the basis of who we are, where we are. Those who died were born into that doomed lot, which still doesn’t include us yet, which will never have a rest from predators.

I look at the news with my roommate and sigh. We’re still here. We’re still safe. We look at the news-curated pictures of the fallen (in school poses or warm parties) as though they’re doomed cards in the deck. And suddenly we can’t care beyond the surface news of their death. We can’t dwell on the circumstances any deeper than the sterile words of the reports because there are so many fallen. So many that the words float to us routinely. “Who got shot today?” And there will be an answer. “Was it just one person or a lot of people?” Another anwer. “Why did this happen?” Answer. “How can we stop this from happening again?” Answer. Repeat tomorrow.

And the pictures of the fallen reappear on the screen so that their lives can be viewed through the lens of their deaths, like their whole lives were set up to end at this moment, at the hands of a fellow mortal. Like maybe they were made to be examples of what happens when…

But we sigh with relief because today was their day, and not ours. It was their school, their pain, their fate, and not ours.

Not yet…

…but tomorrow looms overhead. Maybe.


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