Today, as I was walking from my office to my classroom, I imagined hearing the pucker sound of bullets popping on the pavement near my feet and zinging past my ears. Turning toward the roof of the medical building, I could picture a dark shape there, huddled against the cold, muzzle of his automatic weapon peeking out through his coat.
As quickly as the vivid daydream came, it left.
For a moment there I felt as I had at Pompeii when I first saw the plaster casts of people shielding themselves from heaps of volcanic ash; the sense that tragedies I'd only heard about happened to real people who had real lives and real bodies. That, given the right time and place, those bullets could have been real, slamming into my flesh and shattering my bones; raining little drops of my life onto the faces of my friends.
I'm truly horrified that violence like that happens so frequently and that I've become so desensitized to it that a news cast about school shootings feels like a television show or a movie.
There are so many things that need fixing- not just gun control or campus security- but underlying cultural issues. It seems hopeless and impossible. It's like that time, when I was a little kid, that my parents made me really clean my room. Sitting in a pile of junk and toys and clothing, I just didn't know where to start.