Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'm okay.

This post has been removed.
Okay, I am putting this back online, because it was dumb to remove it in th efirst place.

There is comfort in relative anomnimity, just as there is comfort as the years pass and memories fade. I still didn't sleep last night, but it was more that I didn't want to close my eyes in case I had nightmares, rather than nightmares themselves. If my post last night was scrambled and incoherent, it was because I was becoming more disturbed by what happened in Virginia as the night progressed.

I had an email from a college friend, old roomate in fact (not that we are old or anything, R!!!). She asked if I was doing okay. I had to think about it for a minute or two, and I determined that, yes, I will be okay.

You see, not many people know this, but I went to the University of Iowa from 1990 to 1994. I majored in Physics for the first year and a half, and worked in the Physics Library all four years. I was working the day one of our grad students picked up a gun, and shot three of our faculty, and the fellow grad student that he felt stole his place. I was less than 20 feet away, separated only by two sets of open double-doors, and the fact that the closest stairwell was on the other side of the seminar room where he opened fire. I knew all of the faculty involved, had helped them locate materials, been advised by them. I did not know the administrator he later killed, or the female grad student he shot and paralyzed.

But I did know the shooter.

You see, he was very pushy, and very disdainful of women. Not a week before, he had berated me quite heavily, because I wouldn't let him break Library rules. I don't even remember the specifics, just that his reaction was over the top. I had been apologized to by one of the faculty he later murdered, for the actions of this student (he had been there when the incident happened). He had been appalled at this student's behavior.

I wasn't supposed to work that Friday afternoon. It only occurred to me later that this could have been what saved me, after Grace, my boss, found out who the shooter was. He didn't know I was working that day. He was ten steps away from the library entrance, where I sat at the desk. If he had turned left instead of right... He shot Miya just for being there.

Okay, I am writing things I never even told my family.

It's taken a long time to put this in the back of my mind. Box it up, take it out once a year, remember, and put it away for another year. For over fifteen years. Time does heal wounds, and each time you revisit painful memories, they lose their power over you. I spent a long time being scared after this happened. Now I just focus on my family and friends, and on the good things in my life, and I know that I will be okay.

My heart goes out to all of the victim's families, and friends, and to those who witnessed this horrible attack. Be strong, and be loving to each other.

This is the last I am going to talk about this, for the sake of being able to sleep at night.

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