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  • Christopher Strain

I Remember Umpqua

I remember Umpqua. I remember what the President said afterwards.

I remember East End Middle and Spanaway Junior High and Portland Junior High and Atlantic Shores Christian and Cokeville Elementary and Oxford High.

I remember Bethel and West Paducah and Pearl and Red Lake. I remember Moses Lake and Stamps and Jonesboro and Springfield and Conyers.

I remember San Diego and Stockton and Rancho Tehama and Santa Monica. I remember San Francisco’s Chinatown.

I remember Littleton and Blacksburg and Newtown and Parkland because I remember Columbine and Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas.

I don’t remember UT Austin or Rose-Mar or Orangeburg or Jackson State or Kent State. I don’t remember Olean or Cal State Fullerton. I remember Grover Cleveland Elementary because I don’t like Mondays.

I remember Oikos and Northern Illinois and the University of Iowa. I remember Marysville Pilchuck and Santa Fe. I remember Winnetka and Greenwood.

I remember white hats and trench coats and mafias. I remember fire alarms and pipe bombs and manifestos. I remember code reds and see-through backpacks and sheltering in place. I remember going postal.

I remember Adam Lanza. I remember Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. I remember Dylann Roof and that wacko who shot up the movie theater in Aurora.

I remember KelTecs and Glocks and AR15s and all their variants.

I remember schools and offices and factories and churches and synagogues and mosques and nightclubs and resorts. I remember Pulse. I remember Las Vegas.

I don’t remember it happening in my hometown and I’ll never forget it.

I remember West Nickel Mines. I can’t unremember Sandy Hook.

I remember pain and anguish. I remember thoughts and prayers.

I remember the surveys and studies and statistics. I remember Gadsden flags and cold dead fingers. I remember outrage. I remember denial. I remember the conspiracists and trolls. I remember the bills that stalled in committee. I remember inaction. I remember silence. Earsplitting silence.

I remember Umpqua.

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