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Sarah Tomlinson


My essay, OUR SCHOOL SHOOTING, is up on Salon this week.

I felt a familiar, creeping dread when I saw the first mention of the July shooting in Aurora, Colorado, on Twitter and again not two weeks later when I read newspaper reports about the massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. It had been even worse when I first became aware of the shootings at Virginia Tech and Columbine.

These incidents upset me not only because the violence was shocking and terrible to consider – a fear so deep we don’t allow ourselves to think about it until moments like this: that an ordinary day will be shattered by pain, death, loss and the horrible accident of being in the wrong place at the wrong time — but also because I am not only an observer. The images from these news stories open a portal to my past and bring up memories that have dimmed but never cease to be accompanied by grief, confusion and the question, “Why did this have to happen?”