The is Trauma in the running

The following is a chain of tweets in relation to her actions during a gun related incident at a country fair. 

This series allows you to appreciate how a person can react to an incident to gun fire whilst in a public area trying to enjoy an outing with family and friends. Also, a parent reaction when young children are involved. 

Two weeks ago, I had four precious 12-year-old girls, including my daughter, with me at the county fair. They were getting blue Icees and corndogs for the walk to the car and ride home. (1/21)

They were debating names for the goldfish they won at a carnival game. After a hard 2 years, it was a last breath of summer, full of lights and laughter. (2/21)

As we headed toward the front gate, 14 shots rang out right next to us followed by complete pandemonium. We knew instantly what it was. I grabbed them all and we ran as fast as we could to the back fence that encircles the fairgrounds. (3/21)

I took the girls behind a long row of RVs so they wouldn’t get trampled. I told them to get behind me in a single file line, and I promised I would get them out a back exit I had noticed a few years ago. (4/21)

Grown men were running holding strollers over their heads. Young kids separated from parents were vomiting; older kids were trying to scale the razor-wire fence to get to the interstate. Others were stuck on rides and screaming for help. (5/21)

We ran and ran and ran, until we were past the panicked stampede, past the speeding, fleeing cars, past the sounds of sirens and trucks backfiring, and into the darkness. (6/21)

The night grew quiet except for their terrified sobs, and then, finally, we came upon a little church. I called my husband and dropped a pin so he could find us. (7/21)

With trembling hands, I called my daughter’s friends’ parents. I checked on a lone, crying teenager sitting on the ground across the parking lot who was trying to reach her mom to come get her. (8/21)

And as the news of the active shooter hit the airwaves, our phones blew up with texts. The girls began hyperventilating as they anxiously awaited news of other friends. The only thing coming faster than their breaths were their gut-wrenching questions and concerns. (9/21)

They realized they’d dropped their Icees, their corndogs, and the goldfish. They were worried about me leaving my Jeep. They were worried about how worried their moms would be. Would they ever go to a fair again? What if they hadn’t been with me? The minutes crawled by. (10/21)

When my husband arrived, we piled in the car, and they clung to each other as we sped away. Their families were waiting in my driveway, and I watched each girl collapse in their parent’s arms. (11/21)

I walked into my house and then straight out the backdoor and threw up off my deck. I got a glass of water from the kitchen and and then went back to the front yard to talk to the parents and hug the girls. (12/21)

When the last one drove away, I sat down right in the middle of the driveway and lost it. I know it could have been so much worse, yet it still felt so terrible. (13/21)

Then I got up & went inside to check on my own daughter & to tell her how proud I was of her. We turned on the stove to make her some mac & cheese. We snuggled our dogs on the couch until the wee hours of the morning. We tried not to look at the news or snapchat rumors.(14/21)

Even though I’ve cared about this issue, worried about this issue, and fought for common sense gun reforms and safe schools, all I could think of that night and now is how gravely I have underestimated the trauma of the running. (15/21)

And then I thought about the families in this country who live this trauma day in & day out. I thought about what our kids must feel like as they run through active shooter drills at school. I knew all of this intellectually, but good lord, I was/am so naive emotionally. 16/21)

Days later, we learned it was likely a targeted shooting. 14 shots but the victim survived. Both the shooter and victim were juveniles. Barely enough bloodshed to make the news. So the world moves on in ten minutes, but two weeks in and it’s still frozen to me. (17/21)

I’m glad we had all charged our phones & shared our locations for the evening. I’m grateful we were together. I’m grateful for these exceptionally brave girls who, when faced with the nightmare scenario they’ve dreaded their whole young lives, did everything I asked. (18/21)

And even though I can’t shake it, I’m grateful it was me. I’m grateful I was there and not waiting for a phone call. (19/21)

I can manage the fear. It’s the consciousness raising to which I will have to adjust…the realization of the heavy load these kids are carrying as they walk the earth each day…the image of their faces when the shooting started, as an abstract terror became instantly real.(20/21)

So all of this to say: There is trauma in the running. There is trauma in the running. There is trauma in the running. And we have to do more. (21/21)

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