the IT city, the I.T. Baby


Filled with rage, but it’s me this time

I got a call from my oldest’s school. It was not what I’d expected (a secondary notification that school was cancelled,) but a notification that two of the former students there had been gunned down by a psychotic man (step brother,) who also shot their mother, carjacked two people killing one of them, and stole some Amazon packages off of someone’s step for some reason.

The part after the former students being killed was not mentioned in the voicemail, however it’s what happened.

The name the person on the voicemail said sounded familiar. Not how I’d pronounced it or heard it said by Maggie, but familiar nonetheless. It sounded like a mispronunciation of what I assumed my mispronunciation was based off of.

I asked Maggie whether she knew the name I knew and she said yes, she was her friend and had been in her class.

I wasn’t sure either of us was pronouncing it correctly so I sent her teacher an email and asked if that 5yo who was listed as killed was indeed the one I thought it was and yes, it was. They were friends, and not like everyone is her friend, friends.

The girl and her sister had transferred to another school at the beginning of this semester and as such had not been around.

At this point there’s very little that Maggie would ever encounter over the next couple of days to tell her that her friend from last year was killed for no reason and their murderer will be on the news and on trial for probably the next year or two.

But starting Monday they’re going to have grief councilors on site. Being as it was a student in her classroom I’m pretty sure there’s going to be some mention of it.

Not really sure how to process that. Hey little 4yo, sometimes someone gets a gun and decides that they will kill kids, shoot their mother, and carjack a couple of people killing one. Sometimes that person will also steal some packages from someone’s front door that they didn’t know for some reason, then crash the car they carjacked and take off on foot in the snow.

I’m not going to claim I was close to the kid who was killed, and I may have passed her sister or mother but I wouldn’t know them, but damn. I really want to go and inflict severe trauma on the guy who did this.

Our cat Josie died one year and a day ago from the shooting (17 year old cat at that point, foul play not suspected.) Maggie’s has been processing that for most of 2017. She tells the surviving cat that he’s a good kitty, he’s going to die some day and be dead but not to worry he won’t know he’s dead.

I struggle here because I don’t know that there’s a way to tell her what has happened, or even to let her go back to school, without this being front and center and terrifying her, becoming the center of her existence for the next little while.

But seriously, who shoots a 5 year old and an 8 year old? How is that going to get explained to my 4yo? Rage.

Rage at the moron who shot some kids intentionally. Rage that I don’t know how to tell my daughter. Rage that my initial compulsion is to just give up on humans and move to the woods. Rage that there’s nothing I can do for the mother who’s sitting in a hospital with gunshot wounds and will have to attend her daughter’s funerals when she gets up.

Selfishly, angry that I don’t know what to do for my kid.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.