My mother told me last night that I would like her new customer Rosemary. She said that Rosemary asked a question that she knew I would have asked.
Mom told me Rosemary works for the mayor's office in the small town next to ours. They fielded many, many calls about when and how to ring the bells to remember those lost in the Virginia Tech tragedy. I'm not sure I understand if the conversation took place in my mother's shop or in the mayor's office itself, but the way my mom told me the story, she said they were going to ring the bells 32 times and I immediately interrupted to ask, "Why not 33?" Mom hugged me and said, "That's why you'd like Rosemary. That's the question she had." Rosemary was the only one in a room full of people to ask that question.
As a matter of fact, not only was she the only one to question the number 32, but everyone else was aghast that she did. Angry. How is it that I ended up in a community that can't see the gunman as a victim? How can they not remember him? I'm not advocating that he should be "honored" for what he did - but I certainly believe he should be remembered and numbered among those who were lost. He was lost from his family. He was lost from his community. He was certainly lost from himself to do what he did. How can the uber-Christians that surround me not get that?! How can they not pray for his tormented soul? Why can't their compassion extend to his family? I cannot imagine that family's loss! How would you even start to cope with the sadness and anger of losing your son to suicide, much less the horror of knowing that your son, in his pain and anguish, murdered 32 innocent people?
I didn't think I could get sadder about the events at Virginia Tech until I heard how outraged my neighbors were to be asked, "Why not 33?"
Peace. For everyone - I wish for peace.