MNR: Active Shooter
Two Fridays ago in the Virginia Beach, Virginia Municipal Building, a mass shooter stole the lives of 11 innocent persons after initially claiming the life of another in the building parking lot. The shooter, who shall remain nameless because mass shooters now commonly go unnamed in the press after they are referenced once for information’s purpose, was employed by the city as an engineer and had worked in the building for years. Obviously disgruntled, the individual took it upon himself to play the role of executioner in a place where he was trusted and had access to. The Virginia Beach Municipal Building has three floors; the shooter fired rounds on all three, using a .45 caliber pistol with extended clips and a suppressor to significantly reduce the volume of the shots. The shootings began around the 4:00 pm hour, an hour when most employees in traditional work settings are already mentally in the process of calling it quits for the day. And on a Friday? You already know the majority of the folk still in that building were already 9/10 of the way out the door mentally, just waiting for that proverbial 5:00 bell to sound and yabba dabba doo down the brontosaurus tail, smooth exit the parking lot, and head home, to the barber shop/hair salon, the package sto’, or wherever. This, of all hours in a traditional 40 hour work week, is the hour when a person is least likely to be at basic training military attention. That’s all I could think after the initial shock and concern as to whether any of my family or friends were victims. I didn’t know exactly where the shootings took place. I only knew that tragedy had occurred, and I was absolutely shocked. It broke my heart.
If you know me, you know I’m a native New Yorker who left the city and eastern Long Island after my formative years for Virginia. Halifax County to be exact. That’s where my maternal grandmother Mary Warren was from. But my maternal grandfather Archie Warren Sr. was from an unincorporated area of Tidewater Virginia named Zuni, not too far from Suffolk. He later relocated to Norfolk, The unofficial capital of the 757. So basically, 757 is one of my homelands. I still have an aunt and uncle as well as a close first cousin who reside in Virginia Beach. A good friend of mine from VUU also resides in Virginia Beach. I was there for a week at the end of last summer. Moreover, I was just in Tidewater two weeks prior to the shootings, in Bad News (Newport News) and Hampton for my Aunt Cynthia’s college graduation at the Hampton Coliseum (I’m so proud of you Auntie and I love you so much). Tidewater is a part of me. I’m saying all this quite simply to convey the fact that I took this the same way as if it occurred in Bergen County or Uptown NYC. It happened at the crib. That could’ve been one or more of my folk who met their fate that Friday afternoon. It sucks. It immediately evoked feelings from when I first heard about the Virginia Tech mass shooting from years ago. I went to high school with kids who attended Tech. One of my mom’s coworker’s had child who attended Tech at the time and had classes in the lecture hall that was shot up. She felt the same pain her coworker felt as a mother. It coulda been my child is what I figured my mother thought. So I felt pain because of her pain.
You see, that’s what happens in these situations. If you’re human, you can easily relate to the sentiment and feelings these tragedies evoke. It feels like each time one of these mass shootings occur, they figuratively (or even perhaps literally) hit closer and closer to home. I spent my spring break ‘18 in Vegas. One of the worst mass shootings in United States history took place there only a couple months prior. Switch a day or so, or change a plan or two, or leave home a minute or so earlier one day and you or I could be the next victim. I was an abused child so I refuse to live my life in any type of fear. Moreover, I am a saved child of God (don’t choke on your gum to all the assholes who know Nitty and/or Mr. Monday personally) so I walk in favor. Having said that, these days I’m far less likely to attend a function. I’m skeptical of making appearances anywhere where there’s going to be a lotta folk present whom I’m unfamiliar with. Clubs and concerts for the most part are absolute no-gos. Shit, last Saturday morning when CEO and me did our usual and went to the theater to see the latest Marvel release Dark Phoenix (pure trash), I found myself eying the entire movie theater scenery as we walked in and while inside. Nowadays, I’m never completely comfortable in public because I always figure that the Trouble Man could be close by. And how I’m built these days, I gotta get home to my queen. Period. I petitioned my Lord for another 40 and promised my baby 40. I need that 40. So if I can avoid calamity, I will. My uncle used to tell me (when I was young) “when you see crazy cross the street”. I used to laugh whenever he said that because to a certain extent, I was the crazy MF. I didn’t care about my life and I didn’t give much of a fidduck about yours. But I’m not the same person I was 20 plus years ago. I cherish life now. I abide by my uncle’s prudent advice every second of life. Don’t get it twisted, I’m not Mr. Softee but I’m not Paul E. Dangerously either. But I will admit I’m much closer to the ice cream truck than the wrestling ring to those who can correlate the thoughts. In the words of a wise man....They got me ‘noid. They got me ‘noid. They got me ‘noid. They got me ‘noid. But i ain’t paranoid.
REST IN PEACE TO THOSE SLAIN IN THE VIRGINIA BEACH MUNICIPAL BUILDING ON 5.31.19. YOU ARE ALL ON MY MIND. AND I WISH YOU A PEACEFUL JOURNEY.