It’s a normal day, just like any other. You enter school grounds and walk up to your friends and stand around talking and laughing until the first bell rings, ushering you to your first class.
You enter the classroom and take a seat at your desk, placing your book on the desktop, preparing for the days lesson. But the teacher has a different idea and the entire class groans when she announces a surprise pop quiz that you’re not prepared for. You roll your eyes but sharpen your pencil anyway, hoping that you can at least get a passing grade.
The only sounds in the classroom is the tapping of erasers on desktops as your classmates struggle to answer questions on the test, and the shuffling of papers as pages are turned. You’re trying hard to concentrate, but your mind is filled with thoughts of an upcoming party you’ve been invited to and you’re thinking about what you might wear.
Now, close your eyes and imagine this scenario in your mind. Can you feel the pencil in your hand? See the test paper on your desk? Hear the pencils tapping and paper shuffling? It’s just another day…
Then the silence inside the classroom is broken as a loud and shaky voice comes over the intercom…
“STUDENTS AND STAFF, LOCK DOWN YOUR CLASSROOMS AND TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY. WE HAVE AN ACTIVE SHOOTER ON GROUNDS. THIS IS NOT A DRILL…I REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL!”
The voice on the intercom is drowned out by people screaming in the background, followed by the unmistakable sound of muffled gunfire. (Go ahead and press play on the below video)
This is the sound that embraces you, gripping you tightly with its cold, cruel fingers.
Everyone inside the classroom is scrambling to find a place to hide, climbing over desks, knocking them over in their desperation to find a safe space. There are no closets. There is no bathroom. The windows are sealed shut. The door is closed and locked, and everyone participates in barricading it with desks. You are an easy target inside an overt room with nowhere to go. Your classmates clutch onto each other, hugging, crying and praying that the gunman doesn’t find his way into your class. Your teacher escorts all of her students into the furthest corner away from the door and huddles over you all in an effort to keep you safe and protected.
The sound of rapid gunfire rages all around, but because of the reverberations inside an acoustical building, it is hard to tell exactly where the shots are coming from. Are they right outside your classroom? Are they coming from the floor above you? Are they just down the hall from you?
A spray of bullets strikes the door to your classroom, splintering the wood and leaving inverted holes, sparking even more screaming and crying inside your classroom. Is the gunman going to make it inside, or will he give up and go the next door? If he makes it inside your room, who’s going to die? You? Your classmates? Your teacher?
With sudden alarm, you realize that you can add humiliation to your sheer terror because you’ve peed yourself during the fiasco.
“BANG! BANG!” Someone’s pounding on the door. Relief floods over you when you hear a strong voice shout, “This is the police! Is everyone okay in there?”
Then it’s over—-almost as quickly as it started. What seemed like hours was actually only two minutes, but those two minutes will have an everlasting affect on everyone involved.
You step out into the hallway to see several dead and bloody bodies of students and staff lying on the cold tile floor. Your hands are shaking uncontrollably and your heart is beating rapidly inside your chest. The carnage before you is an image that you will never be able to erase from your mind, no matter how hard you try.
Among the dead is your best friend whom you have known since you were in kindergarten, as well as one of your teachers who is well liked by everyone, but who will never teach another class in his life.
Several police officers are in the hallways, ushering the students out of the building and away from the crime scene. Outside, weary and anguished parents wait to find out the status of their child. Unfortunately, some of them will walk away heartbroken when they learn that their child was one of the casualties.
Going to school will never be the same again. You and your best friend will never fulfill all of those dreams you talked about over the years. Without knowing it, you spoke your final words to each other that morning as you parted, going to separate classes.
You had heard of school shootings and saw them on the news, but you never thought in a million years that it would have ever happened to you.
But it did.
And you will never be the same person that you were before it happened.
Until next time….
Take care and God Bless!