My phone exploded with messages from friends and family telling me of the horror. I had barely been at work an hour when the texting began.
Slowly a first. A then a flood of concern and inquiry.
“Is everyone at Home alright?” They asked.
“I think so. Why? What’s happened?” I had no idea.
“Turn on the TV!” They replied.
I found the remote.
It didn’t take long.
It was everywhere.
A lone gunman had walked down a stretch of street as familiar to me as the back of my hand and opened fire.
An 18-year-old girl. Dead. Executed when she tripped and fell while trying to run away.
A 10-year-old girl. Dead. Succumbed to her injuries later in hospital.
Just like that. Bang. Bang.
Two precious lives taken.
And the ripple of shock was immeasurable.
My breath stopped.
My stomach clenched.
I felt ill.
And then I cried.
The brutality was so cruel. The meanness so deliberate. The loss so unnecessary.
This, not only in the city I was born, but in the neighborhood I’ve called Home for more than 40 years. On a festive and familiar stretch of street I’ve lived on and laughed on and cried on and loved on since an age I can’t remember.
The Danforth of Greek Town.
A street I’ve walked countless times with family and friends, and my own precious child. Moments and memories treasured and immortalized in the very pavement now stained with the blood of this unprecedented, senseless killing.
He just walked. Stopped. Turned. And without warning, shot into the face of innocence. Over and over. Killing the peaceful trust of my community. My neighborhood. My family.
No one will ever be the same.
He’s dead, this nameless shooter. This bastard who felt it his right to destroy and take the lives of others. His lifeless body found in some back alley. Self-inflicted or maybe the police? Who knows? Who cares? Doesn’t really matter. Even if he had lived, he took something that could never be given back with an unsatisfactory explanation.
Though were I Her mother, I’d want one.
These acts of rage and hatred and cowardice are becoming far too random and are happening far too often. We are so much better than this! I don’t understand what is happening anymore in this world, or why. And I’m so saddened and incredibly fucking pissed off that this is something the children of today have to understand, accept and survive.
This kind of shit is their future.
It’s so unfair.
So fucking unfair.
I’m going to visit Toronto tomorrow. A trip planned before this awfulness occurred. And I will visit my Danforth community and pay somber homage to the loss and shattered lives so deeply affected by this senseless killing and terrorization. I will see familiar faces in pain and they’ll all ask, “Why did this happen?” And I will wonder, just like them, at the needless cruelty of people.
I will walk that stretch of familiar street with a very sad and very heavy heart, and it will hurt my soul to see and feel the pain of confusion and disbelief and anger I know I will find in the aftermath of such inexplicable madness. But I will leave as much love and healing energy behind as I possibly can in the hopes that it will help the familiar and unfamiliar faces of the people and the place I lovingly, happily and faithfully call Home.
Strong. Beautiful. Community.
We will survive.