I cry for the children, teachers, and families of those shot at Sandy Hook Elementary. I desire the arms and the training to defend myself, my loved ones, and all innocents from such senseless death.
Boomer and I took our clockwise route yesterday: out the back door, past the dumpster, heading for the squirrel-tree by the playground. This sidewalk hugs a road on which shiny BMWs zoom left and beat-down Hondas clunk right to their respective ends of the block. The neon signs of the gas station and the dollar store across the street seem less menacing when the sun is out, and I walked with a swagger I can never muster at night. The cover of darkness is a welcome cloak to thieves and rapists.
Ever since the incident at the gas station across the street, I carry a knife on my key chain. Aby hooked it to my lanyard and I’ve clutched it on every walk since, practicing a quick release of the blade for when seconds separate life and death, or escape and rape. But yesterday, I was arrested, stunned, helpless at the spontaneous conception of an unlikely play of events to which I would be defenseless.
The sidewalk was bathed in pale light of harsh intensity that only a winter sun can issue. My gaze was down, looking to see if boomer avoided the cracks (a lumbar fracture would discommode my efforts to achieve physical greatness). I glanced up and terror gripped my heart: there, ahead, a boy sauntered toward me. He was tall, with skin as fair as his baggy white sweatshirt and white gangster jeans. He wore his graffitied hat with a nonchalant tilt; our eyes locked, his slitted beneath his brim, mine wide and dilated. In my mind I saw his hand emerge from his pocket with a glock 23. Responding to my imagination, I veered to stride across the grass, but my mind could not escape the scene it began.
He pointed it at Boomer. I dropped atop her. As my blood left my back I heard her crying. I screamed no, wordlessly begging him to spare her. He explained “I don’t like dogs” and with two more shots, his was the only life left on that cold sidewalk lit by a January sun.