Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Ten days ago my son’s elementary school was placed on a Secure-and-Teach protocol, otherwise known as a “soft lockdown.” Two blocks away from the school, an emotionally disturbed man had assaulted a family member and then barricaded himself in his home; the victim told police that the assailant had access to firearms. Multiple police vehicles including a SWAT wagon were called. The lockdown lasted for most of the afternoon and for a period we weren’t even sure that students would be dismissed at their regular time.
The suspect is apparently still at large and is being sought for mental health treatment. There is no evidence at this time that the general public was in immediate danger. The firearms have been confiscated.
My family and I live practically across the street from my son’s school. On clear, quiet days I can step out to my balcony and hear children on the playground at recess. I have wondered, on occasion, if the rapid hammering of a semi-automatic rifle would be loud enough that I could hear it from here. I’ve imagined the rush to slip my shoes on and grab the first rudimentary weapon I saw before I rushed out the front door.
A broom handle.
A kitchen knife.
A bike helmet.
I imagine these things before my rational brain reminds me that I would more likely be a hindrance than a help and that it would already be several seconds too late by the time I’d heard the first report.
We have built our society in the valley of a roulette wheel. We have given it a spin. We hear the rumbling as the pristine ivory pill races around the edge of the polished wood. We feel the wheel slow beneath our feet, hear the thunderclap as the pill’s gravity overcomes its velocity and begins to ricochet off the pinpoints that stand between each individually numbered field.
The pill comes to rest. The wheel continues to decelerate. Across the valley from ourselves, or right next to ourselves, or directly within ourselves there comes a sound like a bronze bell being struck repeatedly with a carved stack of vertebrae.
The pill is lifted from the valley. The wheel is spun again. Beyond the edge of the horizon you believe you can hear grotesque giants hooting and cheering as the inertia once again begins to dissipate. You do not understand what such creatures hope to gain from this peculiar hell. You know in your every fiber that they will never allow the wheel to stop spinning.