We raised our son in the shelter of our Santa Fe community, his school but a mile from our home. He attended a Waldorf school where the early childhood curriculum focuses on imaginative play and fosters in the child “a sense that the world is good”. In 5th grade they read The Tales of King Arthur, learned to knit stockings and sang in the choir. On the school’s grounds the children raised vegetables in the garden and nurtured a collection of doves in a handcrafted bird house. Each Halloween students dressed as knights, dragons or witches. Sheltered in a small community for 18 years, Eno enrolled in September to Bates College in Lewiston Maine where this past week the entire school went into lockdown as a deranged gunman shot 18 people in a local tavern. Along with 60 other students, our son spent the night on the third floor of the library huddled between bookshelves staying clear of the windows. We called and exchanged text messages throughout the night until 4 AM when the campus security escorted him back to his dorm. Classes were canceled for two days as the college remained “sheltered in place” only to reopen when local authorities found the body of the gunman in the woods, a fatal self inflicted bullet to his head.
In 2020, 48,830 people died of gun related violence in America. Mass shootings occur in schools, churches, supermarkets, concerts and parks—anywhere that people go about their daily lives. Last week the killer used a semi-automatic rifle equipped with an extended magazine and optic. In 2016, the state of Maine voted against mandating background checks for people carrying firearms. Lax gun laws and easy access to guns in this country, leave America a place where all are vulnerable to gun violence. For our son, it took only 6 weeks upon leaving home, mid-way through his first semester of college, to experience a full blown threat of gun violence. I asked him on the phone how students on campus were reacting to the tragedy and he said, “Dad, for my generation this kind of tragedy is typical”.