Uvalde, Texas: Can this be a beginning of real change to our gun nightmare?

Written by one of the Uvalde victims mothers:

June 1, 2022

“The chicken soup in her thermos stayed hot all day while her body grew cold. She never had a chance to eat the baloney and cheese sandwich. I got up 10 minutes early to cut the crust off a sandwich that will never be eaten.

Should I call and cancel her dental appointment next Wednesday? Will the office automatically know? Should I still take her brother to the appointment since I already took the day off work?  Last time Carlos had one cavity and Amerie asked him what having a cavity feels like. She will never experience having a cavity.  She will never experience having a cavity filled. The cavities in her body now are from bullets, and they can never be filled.

What if she had asked to use the bathroom in the hall a few minutes prior to the gunman entering the room, locking the door, and slaughtering all inside? Was she one of the first kids in the room to die or one of the last?  These are the things they don’t tell us. Which of her friends did she see die before her?  Hannah?  Emily? Both? Did their blood and brains splatter across her Girl Scout uniform?  She just earned a Fire Safety patch. What if it got ruined? There are no patches for school shootings.

Was she practicing writing GIRAFFE the moment he walked in her classroom, barricaded the door and opened fire? She keeps forgetting the silent “e” at the end. We studied this past weekend, and now she doesn’t need to take the spelling test on Friday. None of them will take the spelling test on Friday. There will be no spelling test on Friday. Because there is no one to give it. And no one to take it.

These are the things I will never know:

I will never know at what age she would have started her period. I will never know if she had wisdom teeth. (Or if they would have come in crooked.)I will never know who she spoke to last.  Was it the teacher?  Was it her table partner, George? She says George is always talking, even during silent reading. Did she even scream?

She screamed the lyrics to We Don’t Talk About Bruno at 7:58 AM as she hopped out of my car in the circle drive.  She always sings the Dolores part, her sister sings Mirabel and I’m Bruno. “And I wanted you to know that your bro loves you so Let it in, let it out, let it rain, let it snow, let it goooooo……..”Did the killer ever see Encanto?  

Could we have sat in the same row of seats, on the same day, munching popcorn?  What if Amerie brushed past him in the aisle? Did she politely say, “Excuse me,” to the boy who would someday blow her eye sockets apart? Was he chomping on bubble gum as he destroyed them all? If so, what flavor?  Cinnamon? Wintergreen?

Was the radio on as he drove to massacre them?  Or did he drive in silence? Was the sun in his eyes as he got out of the car in the parking lot?  Did his pockets hold sunglasses or just ammunition? These are the things I will never know.

There is laundry in the dryer that is Amerie’s. Clothes I never need to fold again. Clothes that are right now warmer than her body. How will I ever be able to take them out of the dryer and where will I put them if not back in her dresser?  I can never wash clothes in that dryer again. It will stand silent; a tomb for her pajamas and knee socks. 

Her cousin’s graduation party is next month and I already signed her name in the card.  Should I cross it out? That will be the last card I ever sign her name to. The dog will live longer than she will.  The dog will be 12 next month and she will be eternally 10. What will the school do with her backpack? It was brand new this year and she attached her collection of key-chains like cherished trophies to its zipper. A beaded 4 leaf clover she made on St. Patty’s Day. A red heart from a Walk-a-Thon. A neon ice cream cone from her friend’s birthday party.

Now there will be no more key-chains to attach. No more trophies. Surely they can’t throw it out? Would they throw them all out? 19 backpacks, full of stickered assignments and rain boots, all taken to the dumpster behind the school?  Is there even a dumpster big enough to contain all that life? 

These are the things someone else knows:

The moment the semiautomatic rifle was put into his hands–was “Bring Me a Higher Love” playing in the gun store? “Get off my Cloud” by the Rolling Stones? Maybe it was Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”  Did the Outback Oasis salesperson hesitate as they slid him 375 rounds of ammunition? not my problem my kids are grown and out of school Or I don’t have kids, so I don’t have to worry about their skulls getting blown across the naptime mat. Or fingers crossed there’s a good guy with an equally powerful gun that will stop this gun if needed. Did they sense any danger or were they more focused on picking that morning’s Raisin Bran out of their teeth?

My Nana used to say, “Pay attention to what whispers, and you won’t have to when it starts screaming.” But now I know there is a more deafening sound than children screaming. More horrific even, than automatic rifles on a Tuesday morning.

I beg the world:

Pay attention to what’s screaming today, or be forced to endure the silence that follows.”

Author: John Hanno

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Bogan High School. Worked in Alaska after the earthquake. Joined U.S. Army at 17. Sergeant, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 84th Artillery, 7th Army. Member of 12 different unions, including 4 different locals of the I.B.E.W. Worked for fortune 50, 100 and 200 companies as an industrial electrician, electrical/electronic technician.