Making sense of the unthinkable

“I did not know them, but I still feel such a sense of loss.”

My coworker walked back into the office, we were done with clinic and she had stepped out briefly to get some tea from the cafeteria.

“There’s been a shooting in Roosevelt,” she said to me immediately. The TV in the waiting room had been turned to the breaking news as patients watched the images of police cars outside of a cafe.

I’ve been to that exact place where the shooting occurred. One of my best friends lives across the street. A few of my other friends used to live a few doors down and would frequent the location.

And, not only did the shooter kill four — and injure one — at the cafe, he also killed a woman downtown after fleeing the Roosevelt scene. My brother’s alma mater, Roosevelt High School, was on lockdown.

The woman downtown was a mother of two. That could have been your mother. That could have been my mother.

The people at the cafe, those could have been your acquaintances, your friends. They could have been my friends.

In one of the online message boards for one of the news stories on the events, a reader wrote, “I did not know them, but I still feel such a sense of loss.” This person was referring to the victims.

My heart is heavy. I’ve been reading all the stories about the killer and the victims and that day’s series of horrible events to make sense of it all. But, there’s no making sense of it. Five innocent people were killed.

Our wonderful city of Seattle now has a total of 21 homicides for the year 2012. — a record number. What kind of record is that? What is happening?

I read the story about the Good Samaritan who rushed to the female driver who was shot downtown. This bystander saw a stranger get shot and instead of running away or fleeing for her own safety, she and another woman went to help. They told the mother of two that help was on the way, one of them began chest compressions.

The Good Samaritan said that mainly she rushed over to be by the woman’s side because she didn’t want her to die alone. She knew she belonged to someone, that she had family and friends, and that those people wouldn’t want her dying alone. That makes sense.

“I did not know them, but I still feel such a sense of loss.”

[All of my factual details came from the Seattle Times online. Yes, that is an attempt at citing my source. Once a journalist, always thinking like a journalist?]

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