I bought eggs today. The morning of a mass shooting and the morning after a mass shooting in the very franchise that was targeted, some thousand plus miles away. This morning I woke up and didn’t want to leave my house after seeing the reports loading in my social media feed. I thought, the world is going crazy. Then I rethought, not the world. America.
America; the place that so many are trying to flee to is losing it’s grip on any semblance of safety its citizens may have felt. Soon, asylum seekers and refugees won’t be coming to America, but through America to get to safety. This is our reality and yet we cling to centuries old laws that were written by men who couldn’t even begin to fathom automatic rifles being something to consider.
This morning was another typical morning after a mass shooting for me, except this morning, I didn’t have eggs. I normally stay home and keep my children within shouting distance if at all possible after a tragedy like this. If it’s a school shooting my kids might discuss their “lock down” procedures and lament over the openness of their respective school campuses. But, if we can help it, we stay home.
On the days I have to go out after another senseless act of White Supremacy, I’m hyper-vigilant. Not in a “today’s the day” kind of way. Not even in a heart pounding, sweaty palms kind of way, but in a much more sobering way because its subconscious. I don’t even realize I’m doing it until I’ve already been swallowed by the anxiety of it all.
Today, I went to buy eggs. I got my son dressed and thought “I’m glad he’s the only one awake, because I can carry him.” I looked at my flip flops and picked up an already worn pair of socks and slid on my running shoes, just in case. I thought about my small Wal-Mart Market Place; which, everyone in my house calls “the Wal-Market,” because Americans have a lazy dialect and love to shorten things for no other reason outside of brevity’s sake.
As I drove to the store I thought about the exits and places to hide should a shooter come through the door. I imagined the possibility of a customer being armed and using it to stop this imaginary shooter. I live in the south and near a military base, so there is a fairly high probability that there will be a “good guy with a gun” within the vicinity, but will they use it? Will they freeze? If the good guy with a gun is Black, will he be shot upon law enforcement arriving due to them being unaware that he was not their intended target?
Once I got into the store, my brain didn’t stop analyzing every possibility. I put my son in the cart, but stopped short of buckling him. If someone came in shooting, I’d have to struggle with the buckle to take him and run to safety. I lingered in sections of the store near emergency exits and speed walked through the aisles that were isolated from the edges of the store where the stock room doors were located. I looked everyone in the face and noticed they were doing the same. Cashiers looking over their shoulders. Dad’s walking with a purpose with their kids. No one saying good morning. No one said anything. If you looked too closely you could feel the despair and fear bubbling just below the surface.
Today the people in my local store purchased their items and went home, all of us with the knowledge that tomorrow it could be us. Our likelihood is increasing, and small towns no longer feel safe. We are feeling small and a little helpless. Thanking God it wasn’t us, while simultaneously feeling badly for that silent prayer. It wasn’t us, but it was someone.
Today I bought eggs.