the great unraveling

It was the little girl holding her ears, stumbling as she walked down the sidewalk, who broke me. Skinny ankles. Tiny black boots. Enormous purple backpack. Uncertain where to go. 6, maybe 7.

Her dead classmates had turkey, ham, and cheese sandwiches for lunch.

What are we doing as we do nothing after another school shooting? Sending emails into the abyss. Raging at our spouses and parents and friends because those with power know they just have to wait out another news cycle. This too shall pass.

You can buy a bulletproof backpack for your kid for $119. 95 on the homesecuritysuperstore.com. It has smiley faces and weighs less than three pounds. The design “ensures safety while providing normal utility” the specs read. Limited lifetime warranty. Because of course.

When I was in second grade a backpack was for carrying books. Notes decorated with hearts and swirls from friends. And burying lukewarm cheesesticks in the bottom of. These days I pull yarn balls from the zippered pockets of my son’s backpack. I unravel them each night. Like the world.

In 2021, 73 police officers died in “felonious killings” in the line of duty. For much of the last decade the figure has been significantly lower. Closer to 50.

19 kids died in one classroom on Tuesday. The school year is not over.

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