Hi, the following exercise uses the second person. Not sure what it is. Does it feel complete? Whole? Thanks for reading.
Things to Think About While Running Saturday Errands at the Mall
First, remember at the faces. A page of small squares, inside each a headshot of a mass shooter. Twenty-five, maybe thirty of them. You zoomed in on each face and searched for a feature that told you that he was one. You expected blank dead eyes, a curled lip. But there weren’t any. You saw ordinary young men. Some with intelligent eyes, others looked straight at you with confident stares. There was fear and vulnerability in only a few. You think the faces looked as nondescript as those of men you saw when you pulled into the Target parking lot this morning, and while you searched the aisles of Home Depot for sandpaper. A few had tattoos, or dyed, unkept hair. But that’s no mark of a mass shooter. What can you learn from a face? Isn’t it a doorway to one’s heart, soul? Staring into the eyes of each, you tried to see what was behind the gaze, what was locked in there, see that seed from which sprouted a plan, months of scouting, practice, precision, execution. Where did it come from? Why him and not another?
You read the experts, the memes on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. Lots of hate. Lots of name calling. “Toxic white male patriarchy.” “Gun-toting bible-loving misogynist.” “Racist.” “White supremacist.” “He showed signs of agitation and made threats close to the event.” “History of physical abuse at home, toward girlfriends, wives.” “Sex starved. Isolated.” “Drawn to images and videos depicting violence.” “Fatherless.” “Brutal abusive father.” “Depression.” “Isolation” “Nice kid.” “Kept to himself.” “Trouble in school.” “Anger.”
You’ve heard this for years. The phrases all run together. And the horror and outrage wanes. Life gets in the way. Life Happens.
Don’t turn away today. Don’t let it drop until it happens all over again. Stop. Really think about those faces. Imagine each of them as a baby, gazing into his mother’s or caregiver’s eyes. Imagine them at three years and their wonderment at the first snowfall, or taste of ice cream. Hear the tinkle of their baby laugh. Imagine each a young child with little boy dreams of Spiderman and Luke Skywalker and slipping into bed at night so filled with excitement for the next day that he’s unable to sleep. How did hatred nourish this boy and all the others and not love and kindness? Fill and strengthen their minds, limbs, trigger fingers? Seduce them like a lover?
And not the other man standing beside you in CVS, waiting online to buy cough drops?