Something terrible happened here yesterday. We live in Reno, and most of our extended family lives in Carson City. Around 9 a.m., Eduardo Sencion pulled up to the IHOP on South Carson Street and started shooting people. He targeted a group of National Guard members, killing three of them. He also shot another woman. Then, of course, he shot himself.
I grew up in Carson City. It’s a very small town. But I know — anything can happen at anytime, anywhere. Since it’s almost the ten year anniversary, it would be natural to talk about how September 11th left me feeling generally insecure about the world, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. I suppose that happened back when I was a teenager in the mid-1980s. There was a string of airplane hijackings and then the hijacking of the Achille Lauro (the passenger ship where they shot a man and dumped him overboard). I remember having the sudden realization that I wasn’t safe.
And if anything has served to stoke my fears about “anytime, anywhere,” it wasn’t September 11th. It was Beslan. Where a school in a random small town was taken hostage for days and kids were killed. That’s the beast that keeps me up at night.
Anyway, my point is, I haven’t felt completely warm and fuzzy about the world in a very long time. That band aid got ripped off years ago. Not to say I walk around thinking I’m going to be suicide bombed at the grocery store or whisked away by a marauding band of men. I’m in suburbia-land, U.S.A., so I should at least have enough respect for the people who actually live under those conditions to not pretend that my life is really anywhere close to scary. The scary part of my day consists of getting into my car and driving on the freeway.
The thing is, even though life here is relatively safe, I can’t seem to bring myself to tell the kids about the shooting in Carson. It’s where their grandparents live. It’s a happy destination. And IHOP is one of their favorite restaurants (although they were boycotting it briefly, due to the fact that “cinnaminions” had been discontinued). I guess I just want them to be able to feel that sense of their world being an “okay” place for just a little while longer.
Because once the band aid comes off, there’s just no sticking it back on.