As I write this, it is two weeks ago that the lives of many in the Mohawk Valley were changed, quite possibly forever. While most didn't know the victims of the Mohawk/Herkimer shootings (and Mohawk fire set by the shooter at his apartment house), most can say that it has shaken them in ways big and small.
The gut-wrenching tears have subsided and given way to a dull tension, nervousness, fear, and hopelessness. There are anxiety-driven shivers up the spine, for no apparent reason. While some are viewing neighbors in a kinder nature, others are going out of their way not to make eye contact. Some question whether we should have our first block party this summer, not wanting to become too familiar with possibly dangerous strangers.
The instant negativity from individuals near and far when our story rose to the top of the headlines still echoes: Cuomo will use this to tout his gun control law; aren't you glad you have guns in your house to protect yourself; don't let the government take away your right to bare arms. In the midst of funerals and benefits, the dialogue was insensitive and downright immature. As drips and drabs of the killer's background and preparation came into view, it continued. He had 95 additional rounds at his disposal? "I hate to say it, but that's not really that many. Just more liberal blah blah blah..." What?! If one stray bullet had hit one additional person (of course, my thoughts lead directly to my mother, who works on the road between Mohawk and Herkimer), that's one additional person too many. My God, what is WRONG with people?! It's not just this waste of a human being that did the shooting. The lack of caring or understanding in mankind has me flabbergasted and downtrodden.
Two homicides have occurred at local cities this week, tossing agonizing salt into unhealed wounds. Paranoia atop paranoia spreads. There just doesn't seem to be any good news to be found; at least, no news good enough to dress the wounds. The cracks can be seen in tense conversations between loved ones. We're tired and downtrodden. With Easter coming up, it feels as if the eggshells already abound, on the floor, upon which to be tread.
I'm hoping that the coming of spring can help to warm hearts and souls again, but I fear that no day will pass without the thought that "This could be the last day. This could be the day that the station gets held up by one crazy viewer. This could be the day that someone harms my baby. This could be the day that one of the threats my mom receives at work finally comes true. This could be the day that my school gets attacked." It's a horrific way to live.
Just as the tears have ended, I hope that time allows us to grasp the life we once knew. I refuse to have my son raised with Fear and Paranoia as siblings. My shattered optimism must be glued back into a solid piece again; 1,000 shards to carefully place back together, but what to be the glue? I'm not a religious person, but wonder if mass will help.
As an individual who has struggled with life-long depression, and who has contemplated suicide, I cannot recall such a terrifying feeling of hopelessness. The memory of 9/11 comes quite close, but we were rather detached from that beyond the initial stomachaches and sadness of watching the horrific events unfold. This is so close. Mind you, I am not currently in a "low point" and have such an incredible will to live life. However, I yearn to live a life free of the shackles of manhood. To live a simplistic, happy life with my family, my fur balls, my friends. To be separate from the evils of man and to avoid the fear and anger that accompanies living amongst them. But, without becoming a complete isolationist, this is impossible, and the ultimate goal is to LIVE, not to hide.
My original post, when things were still so very raw, can be seen here.