Within milliseconds my mind is processing and analyzing what I’m seeing. Wow that’s weird, why did he stop on the craft isle? He certainly doesn’t appear to be a “crafty” kind of guy. That sure is a heavy jacket for just a little cool weather. What’s he doing? Why did he squat down? What’s that he’s pulling out from under his jacket? Why is he holding it between his knees? Is he loading a magazine for a gun? During this time, all of my senses go away and I can’t hear anything around me, I can only focus on what is in front of me. Thoughts and images quickly race through my mind. I picture him running through the store randomly shooting defenseless people (sitting ducks). What am I going to do? Where’s my cover? Where’s my closest exit? Why did I stop carrying my gun? I kick into gear and race as fast as I can away from him to gain some distance and determine my exit strategy.
So what happened? I’m not sure. I know what didn’t happen, there wasn’t a mass shooting (that day). Did he have a gun? I’m not sure of that either. What I am sure of is my gut, it never steers me wrong and it certainly wasn’t the time to start second guessing it now. To this day, I try to tell myself that I was paranoid and overreacting, that he was just texting on his phone or resting his legs. The problem is I don’t believe it. I know what I saw, I know what my instincts told me, I know how I felt and I also know what I’m still feeling to this day, complete helplessness. That pit in my stomach telling me I had no chance. I had no way to protect my son, or myself, that we too were just sitting ducks vulnerable to his whim.
The fact is, I wasn’t prepared. I had become the type of person I swore I would never be. I was a sheep, part of the herd paying attention to my “Mom duties,” too tired and distracted to care about what’s going on around me. In my bubble its all sunshine and rainbows… bad things happen to other people not my family. I had become “Momplacent” letting all things mommy takeover my life and completely complacent in my daily routine. I’m here to say I will never feel that way again! I will never place my helpless son in an environment where I don’t have the ability to protect him.
Why all the buildup for the big let down? Although this wasn’t some mass shooting making national news inciting panic everywhere around us, it very well could have been.
It very well could have been….