I must say the past two weeks have been chocked with news items. From the flooding in Colorado to the Boardwalk fire in Seaside Heights, New Jersey to Monday’s news with the Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C. As I read those words, I have the impression of a time traveler popping in from another century. I sit, watching all of the above on some kind of glowing device; a television maybe that I’ve never been introduced to, with horrific stories looping one after the other, and each one more shocking than the one before. In this instance, choosing a story to expand on did prove quite difficult. We know that lives were lost in the floods, and I do send my condolences to those families. However, the incident at the Navy yard grabbed more of my attention.
I understand it has been described time after time, by anchor after anchor in every way possible, but what keeps coming to my mind is this: Another Monday morning, your loved one gets up, showers, dresses, has their coffee, and heads out for work. It’s so routine, no one would ever have the inclination things could be any different. What’s on their mind? Maybe:
This weekend is Robert’s first football game for the school year. I’m so excited for him; or
I got Joe tickets to Las Vegas for his birthday on Sunday. This getaway will be like a second honeymoon for us; or
For Pete’s sake, Annie wanted me to bring the rest of those tomatoes in to work, and I forgot them. She’s going to be so mad.
But then, twenty minutes, or a half hour after they arrived at work, none of those thoughts mattered any longer. Because just like that, they were not coming home. At least that scenario played out for the poor souls at the Navy yard. I have to say, and I know it’s attributable to the fact that I now live in a military capital. Just as it is here in southeast Virginia, civilian contracting is a way of life, and has been year after year, without incident. We may now, however, be in for some policy changes for these armed forces.
When things of this nature happen it’s like the ringing of a massive bell, don’t you think? Reminding us to never take even one day for granted; never leave home without kissing, or at least saying goodbye to your loved ones. And, like my little building in the picture above, it doesn’t matter where you are – Navy yard, regular office building, or walking behind a garbage truck with your co-worker, you just never know. Not only is life very short, times have definitely changed.
All of this makes me remember an incident in a San Francisco, California law firm, where an irate client came in, and opened fire on the staff. A few years later, I vacationed in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Completely by fate, I met this woman who had given up everything here on the mainland, bought herself a sloop, which she had moored in Great Cruz Bay. She lived on that boat, and rowed herself in to shore every day on her dinghy. She then, made her way to one of the local restaurants where she worked as a waitress. At night, she maybe stopped off to socialize with the bartender at the local hotel before her return trip to her boat. So, what’s so different about this tale? She happened to be a paralegal in that same law firm that had been bullet riddled, in the years prior. She explained her new way of life as a necessary spiritual experience after such a close call. Like I said you really never know. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to the poor families that have been impacted by this senseless act of violence, and yes this is to include the assailant’s family, as well. Because everyone lost – even if it involved their sense of freedom, and safety – that counts as well.
Image courtesy of 123rf.com