I thought a lot about rather or not to tell you about this....
It isn't a very good story, in fact it sucks.
but I have questions
maybe you can answer
so here it is..
I was visiting my daughter jillian in Berkeley and we were with another friend on our way to an evening of shared spiritual readings. I was looking forward to it as I had met the young hostess when she had just finished her 10 day silent meditation at a Vipassana Center near here. Her light was just amazing, she glowed, and I wanted to spend time with her again...
We parked and got out of the car with our grocery bag of salads and such to contribute to the potluck dinner...it was dark but early evening...traffic..but not a lot..Berkeley is very quiet in the evenings...
as I closed the door on the passenger side I hear...
I've been around guns most of my life, we live in the country..if that matters...
I knew the sound immediately...
I turned in the direction of the shots...and saw a male figure about 100 feet or so away...not a good judge but across the street...I saw him pointing his arm in the direction of a house and I saw fire coming from the gun he was holding....
this is real!
there was absolute silence and then more
pop, pop, pop
he's not done
at that moment a zillion thoughts went through my head...brain racing.
get the kids down
we need to get out of here
is this gang related
is there crossfire
is it random
did he see us
we need to stay put
we were crouched between two cars
and everything slowed down
there was silence again
then a flurry of shots..10 - 15 fast
is he done
is he coming this way
pop, pop, pop, pop again
then a final 3 shots and I knew...they were like the period at the end of a sentence..
and it was over.
Then the screaming began.
A woman crying....People started gathering on the sidewalk..
someone had seen him drive away
a news report..
We were on Emerson kitty corner of that A marker on at the corner of Shattuck Ave......
a major road through Berkeley...
Not a bad part of town...
working families, businesses..students
The shooting itself took a long time
went on as we got out of the car
huddled between the cars
Jillian found her cell phone
made the 911 call
waited a long time for someone to answer
she told the dispatcher what was going on and answered a lot of questions
at the end of the call and the shooting was still going on
the Shooter was fearless...I looked up over the car and watched him
he was not at all afraid to take his time
stand there on the sidewalk in full view and kill someone...that was a huge scarey realization...
he had a gun and was fearless.
During that time while all those thoughts were going through my mind the biggest one was that I would have to shield jillian...protect her should he make his get-a-way in our direction
or maybe he was on a shooting spree...and I didn't know for sure there was only one of them...
I didn't know
but I did know he would have to shoot me first.
poor Brian was on his own.
and even though I felt a fear like no other...it was not the shaky fear like stage fright or almost being in a car accident...it was solid...and big...something that filled my torso...it actually expanded.....then stayed there.
I thought I could die...that we all could.
But it didn't feel like I was afraid of that. Not scared.
maybe deep down I knew it wasn't my time.
or jillian's time
maybe it was sadness I felt...
I didn't want to be there...witness this violent act....
and maybe it was just the violent act itself that filled me.....
certainly you can't be witness to something like that and feel nothing.....
or maybe you can
I have told people about it...in Berkeley, and since I've been home.
A surprising number seemed to think it was nothing.
No surprise, no
"oh my God, you witnessed a murder...''
In some cases it could just be a lack of interest in me
but not in all...some of the people I told the story to are close to me.
I keep seeing his silhouette and the fire coming from his hand...
and thinking of the terror the people inside that house must have felt....
Wondering if there is a lesson here?
Wondering how that man knew he could stand there, out in the open and take his time killing a human being?
.....wondering if the people I talk to aren't surprised because violent death with a gun is so commonplace that it is almost expected???....
I wonder these things.......