It's where I live.
Maybe you've heard of it.
On March 29, 2009, a very angry man walked into a nursing home and killed 8 people.
It happened in my town...in my zip code.
I'll never forget that Sunday morning as long as I live. We were in church and the preacher announced that there had just been shooting down the road and there were fatalities but we were given no other details. As the day progressed, we learned that seven elderly residents and one nurse were killed. The shooter was taken down by a young, small-town cop but he lived; the cop was also shot but he was going to be ok.
And just like that, our quiet town was thrust into the national media.
Here we are more than two years later and we are in the news again. The shooter is on trial at our local courthouse and the media has once again descended on our little town.
This morning, I had to go across the street from the courthouse to get a copy of Kelsey's birth certificate. I've needed to get it for weeks but kept putting it off.
I didn't want to see the circus surrounding the trial.
But I did.
I saw the news trucks from every major channel. I saw their tall satellites and their tripods set up on the sidewalks. I saw the reporters waiting in the wings to get the story. I saw sheriffs guarding the parking lot where the jury bus was located (they are busing in a jury from three counties away because the defense did not think the shooter could get a fair trial from members of his own community).
And my heart was so heavy because I knew what was going on in that building.
I knew the expert witnesses were giving testimony and that the families were reliving the last day of their parent's or grandparent's lives. They were seeing and hearing things that no person should ever see or hear about people they love. I knew that the man was sitting at the defense table in the same room with the families. I knew the jurors were there to make a decision: life or death. Just regular people that got a letter in the mail summoning them for jury duty.
I knew that the shooter's family was also there hearing about the things he did. Their son; their brother. The person that shares their DNA. The person that they undoubtedly still love.
No matter the verdict, there is no winner.
And our little town will be lost in the madness. People will not know about the history of our town. Or the festivals that we celebrate each year. Or that some of the greatest people live here.
It's just sad. And I didn't want to see it today.