A Day of Hell

It's something you never expect to see. I surely never expected it. Never.

Today's headlines contain words such as "massacre," "14 dead," "hostages," barricades" and "Binghamton, NY" all together, hitting the AP, the BBC, CNN, MSNBC... It's worldwide now.

That massacre happened in my home town today!

I first found out during lunch as I sat in my truck enjoying the break from the craziness of the day. iPhone in hand, I hit the AP to see what was going on in the world. Right at the top was "American Civic Association in Binghamton, NY Shooting," and I freaked. I am a thousand miles away in Arkansas!

It wasn't a matter of "too close to home," it was home! Or, at least it used to be. Frantic, not thinking, I called a close friend's home phone, not even realizing that she was probably at work. I needed her to be home and safe! She is often called on in the community to interpret, and the article said an interpreter was called. Thankfully, her daughter answered the phone and told me right away that my friend was safe, though she was suffering a major asthma attack while being held in lock-down at the high school that is just on the other side of the church you see in this photo.

No one knew for sure what was going on. Stories were conflicting. No one knew how many were dead. One report said 4, another said 12, yet another said 14.

My head spinning, I called another friend. His house is within blocks of this incident, and my imagination took off, wondering if flying bullets hit his house and injured him! I hadn't talked to him in years, but there were my fingers automatically dialing his number. When his co-worker answered, I frantically told her to put him on the phone. As it turned out, his daughter was one of the many students in that locked down high school. But, he knew no more than I did.

My mind is still racing, even though the incident resolved hours ago. The suspected shooter, though they are still not sure if he was the shooter, was found dead, having shot himself. The shooter was reported to be in his 20s... or he was in his 40's. He was recently discharged from IBM, but IBM doesn't know anything. No one knows.

Racing, racing; my mind is still flying through a long list of names in my head of past ESL students, immigrants, refugees, people I worked with that worked with ESL students, immigrants and refugees; anyone I might know that could have been there. No names have been released. The bodies of the victims still lay where they fell on the floor of the Civic Association.

Nadia and Mike are OK. I don't know anything more than that. I am so relieved that these two very important people to me are safe, alive and well.

But, the day isn't over, and the hell continues...

The hell continues for those who suffer while waiting to hear of news of sons, daughters, wives, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers and friends. While I may be frightened, it does not compare to their terror that must seem like it is everlasting and never-ending.

My heart is with you all.


  1. Theresa how close to home and how sad.

    Similar tragic events seem only to common place in the USA and some other countries these days.

    I will never understand the "right to bear arms" part of your Constitution. Surely restricting access to firearms like in the UK has to be part of the solution?

  2. I went through the same thing you did yesterday. My sister works just down the block in the Social Services building. Luckily she and most of the staff were at a meeting on the north side of town. They were told not to go back to work as their building was in lock-down, so she just got in her car and drove the few miles to Chenago Bridge where she lives.

    Our world is going nuts.

  3. Judy, that church in the photo is right next door to the Social Services building. The Civic Association's parking lot behind the building is separated from the parking lot of Social Services only by a waist-high page-link fence. The photo of the SWAT sniper climbing on top of a 'neighboring' building is a garage building in Social Service's parking lot.

    I worked at Social Services there for a few years, and I know the building doesn't have a large conference room. I can't imagine a lot of the staff being taken off duty to attend a meeting, but I suppose anything can happen. Maybe it was because when I was there, we were horribly understaffed.

    I'm glad to hear that your sister is ok!

    Mike, I will forever stand by the right to bear arms. Even though firearms are a constitutional right, there are far more existing out there on the black market, illegal, and still finding their way into the hands of criminals. Taking away the right to own a gun from non criminals is to disarm and render immediately the law-abiding citizens victims. There is no word yet whether Voong had a permit to carry the guns he used to kill 13 people and himself.

    Just my opinion, of course. The real solution would be not to manufacture ANY guns for any reason! But, if there weren't guns, people would find other ways of killing each other just the same.

    Yes, our world is going nuts.

  4. Just to pick up on your final point on finding other ways to kill. Someone pointed out to me quite recently that killing using a gun involves no engagement with the victim. With a knife or even bare hands, you have to be up close and personal. There is something of a barrier that has to be crossed to kill at close quarters, which disappears with the usual distance for firearms.

  5. Hi Sheila!

    I was thinking along the lines of other kinds of projectiles that aren't guns: arrows, thrown knives, etc.

  6. It wasn't that long ago that the same thing happened in a town I used to live in, Kauhajoki, Finland. It wasn't exactly home, but I had lived there. I had relatives in there. The guy who shot the people had th same last name as one of my ex boyfriends that was originally from there, but I still don't know if they were related. That was a case of too close to home rather than home, but it was quite bad. The thing that angers me the most is that the guy who did the shooting had been interviewed by the police only days earlier and released without canceling his gun permit which was on trial basis. I mean if a guy has to be brought in for questioning, isn't that a reason enough to take away a temporary license?

    And it wasn't long enough after the previous shooting in Jokela, Finland, which was again, too close to home. One of these days it will be home.