Of the Soul that Killed Despair

“There is a room in the Department of Mysteries that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all. That power took you to sad Sirius tonight. That power also saved you from possession by Voldemort, because he could not bear to reside in a body so full of the force he detests. In the end, it mattered not that you could not close your mind. It was your heart that saved you.” –Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

It’s been thirteen years and thirteen miles.

I don’t have much to say. I’m not an analyst and I’m not political (not about this, anyway). I’ve been trying to not read too many media accounts of what happened. It’s too hard.

James Holmes may be mad. He may not. He may just be evil. Maybe he’s sitting in his cell right now feeling proud of all the mayhem he’s caused. Other Dark Knight premieres have been postponed. Christopher Nolan knows his name. The Joker lives. Not a bad day’s work for a psychopath.

But I know something James Holmes doesn’t know.

See, James Holmes was eleven when Columbine happened. And he grew up in California. So he wasn’t there, and even if he had been, he wouldn’t remember it as I do. As so many of us do. And here’s what I know:

You can scare us. You can buy guns and build bombs and go mad. But we’re stronger than you. We know how to grieve. We know how to take comfort in each other. We know how to love. We know how to live.  We know how to support each other. We’ve been through this and worse and we’ve come out stronger for it.

I saw fifteen crosses erected on a hill. I saw two of them torn down.

I saw Lance Kirklin graduate from high school.

I saw Anne-Marie Hochhalter graduate from college.

I saw a smile find its way back onto the face of a good friend that lost a loved one that day.

You forget that columbines are perennials. And, as was said thirteen years and three months ago, We Are All Columbine.

So fuck you, James Holmes. You are nothing.

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