Thursday morning, I wrote about what it was like for me the night of the shooting.
I’m going to be honest, because I know it’s not the response that I’m ‘supposed’ to have, but it’s the response I do consistently have, and I know I’m not the only one — we’ve heard the stories of the one at each location who died because they don’t have the reaction many do. However, I know people who have my response, but aren’t in a position of heroism, stay quiet when things like this happen because the response that needs attention is the one that I don’t have — the emotional response.
The anxiousness, the fear, the brokenness, the profound deep-dive into the existential feelings that surround, ‘it could have been me and/or mine’. And, that it was 18 people whose lives were taken and 13 more who were injured, it seems callused and heartless to not all be emotionally focused on that very real pain and loss.
I wasn’t in the places where the shootings occurred. I can imagine the trauma those who survived, and those who lost loved ones, feel and now have to sort through — I empathize. And, at the same time also I’m authentic about my own experience, which feels the indirect impact, but acknowledges I wasn’t directly impacted.
Living in Lewiston’s twin city, and having been on the road, working in Lewiston when it happened, I was closer to the epicenter than many of you, but as people from away check in, I have to respond honestly to, “OMG, I’m so sorry. It must have been terrifying.”
It wasn’t, for me.
In fact, night of, until I got home, it was kind of ‘fun’, for me — in the way that chaos can be exhilarating. Because I have the response that I do to heightened alarm situations. I wasn’t being shot at, but I was, along with everyone else in the area, in a bit of chaos in the immediate aftermath of the shootings and before any of us knew if we were out of danger.
Adrenaline. I don’t freak out in chaotic situations; I rise to meet them head on. I have been thinking on this here and there over the last couple of days. I’d be good first responder. I, largely, stay outside of the emotions of the moment. Because it’s not a matter of intent rather, it is my natural response. A switch either gets turned on or off — depending on how you want to look at it — and I go into…