In elementary school, my Social Studies teacher assigned us the task of asking our parents if they remembered where they were and what they were doing when they learned of the assassination of JFK.
Of course they remembered. I think my mom even described what she was wearing. My teacher told us that one day we would have our JFK moment. For me, it happened the following year when we watched The Challenger explode on television while in school.
Turns out, I’ve had several JFK moments since then. I vividly remember watching the Branch Dividian compound burning. I remember the death of Princess Diana. I remember September 11th. And I remember Columbine. In fact, like my mother, I remember what I was wearing. It was a pale yellow sundress with baby blue flowers and a blue cardigan.
There have been so many school shootings since then. I don’t know if I became desensitized (God, I hope not) or if there have been so many that they are all just a blur (equally sad) or if I’m just getting forgetful as I age, but none of the subsequent school shootings became JFK moments for me.
Yesterday’s massacre has been the number one topic on social media today. I’m already battling mild depression and attempted to live in ignorant bliss by scrolling past the subject, but I found it near impossible. I’m not here to talk about gun violence or control, mental illness, or legislation . This is about the victims.
I watched a video featuring the lives lost yesterday. So much sadness, but when one name and face came across my screen, it felt like a punch in the gut.
It wasn’t that I didn’t feel sympathy for the victims families or anger for what happened. Seeing each victim made me sadder, but this one in particular, well, tears were shed. The thought of one of my own children being gunned down made me almost vomit. I could taste the acid in the back of my throat.
I’m going to be brutally honest here. Down the road, I may not remember the name of the school, the name of the gunman, or even what year this tragedy happened in, but I will always remember Joaquin Oliver.
I hope this is my last JFK moment.