Order to the Universe


A man in black fatigues walked into a school yesterday and killed children until whatever fueled his blood thirst ran dry. Then he killed himself.

The horror of this is unimaginable. I cried on an off for an hour when I was finally brave enough to go read about it and to  listen to the president’s speech. There, in the darkness, drenching my beard in tears, I tried so hard to find order in this nightmare, to find some reason that any parent would have to face this news down. There isn’t any. That’s the true existential, Lovecraftian horror of this monster. And he took his own life, so all of us who want the universe to have order or justice will have no course of action but to rage in impotence until our lungs are dry and sore.

A lot of people will be arguing about gun control, and about mental health care. Gun lovers will enact their power fantasies of waiting, armed, in some shadow in the school to save 26 lives. They’ll politick a lot, and say that if the teachers had all had guns, it would have gone so differently. A lot of other people will compare this massacre to the knife attack in China, and in the parallelism of the events we can find a Great Social Truth.

They’re not insensitive. They’re human, and they, like I, want desperately for this shock to fit in a narrative and to make sense. Hero fantasies are easy outlets, and politics come a close second. I only wish the parents of the victims could unscramble this so fast.

It doesn’t make sense and it never will, but a pretense of order makes the universe tolerable.

I wrote this to stop crying.

No no no no
The mother says each day
Her no no no no
Goads the child’s play
And no no no no
He says about his classes
No no no no
Mom I don’t want glasses

And then the order of the universe vanishes into the sound of a man in black fatigues’ footsteps as he walks with a sense of corrupt purpose to the classrooms, loads his gun. Maybe he’s completely gone upstairs and sees a carnival shooting gallery. Maybe he sees nothing anymore. I want him to see nothing, because the thought of his perspective—bang, next target, bang, next target, more than twenty-five times—makes my marrow run cold, not from the horror alone, but from whatever terrible chemical let me see it so clear.

When the mother hears the news
No, no, no, no
When she boxes up his tiny shoes
No, no, no, no
How did the sun still rise?
No. No. No. No.
But there his body lies.
No! No! No! No!


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