On November 27, 2015 a mass shooter killed three people and wounded nine others in an attack at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado. One of the victims was Officer Garrett Swasey, a UCCS police officer responding in support of the Colorado Springs police.
In November 2015, we were in the throes of preparing to move to Colorado, which happened a few months later. I had already been accepted to UCCS and was planning to begin the following fall semester. How do we react to mass shootings now? They are no longer rare incidents. Shock, sadness, but I can’t claim disbelief. I know there are people who hate Planned Parenthood, just as there are people who hate Christians, or women, or anyone who isn’t hetero-normative. Hate exists.
I quickly heard from my friends in The Springs (I already had many old friends there even though we hadn’t moved there yet) and no one I knew personally was involved. Still, it shook the community. It brought up the usual angry debates over how, why, and what should be done.
From a distance, I was aware of the loss this was to UCCS, where I would soon be a student. The outpouring of grief was strong and widespread. But I wasn’t there yet… this was not yet my community. It was not my place to mourn; it was my place to be saddened and horrified, and to watch from a distance as the community put itself together again.
What memories do you have of this event? How did it affect you and the people in your life?