Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

Another day, another shooting.  Countless times I’ve written that statement.  Today is different.  It’s not just another shooting.  It’s a shooting aimed at my community, my friends and my family.

Earlier today the report came in.  Man opened fire at our local Jewish Community Center in Overland Park. The same Jewish Community Center where I grew up.  It wasn’t long ago that I was there attending a special arts program on the history of Mah Jongg, one of my favorite games.  I know the building and the surrounding neighborhood because it’s my neighborhood.

It’s a peaceful place full of a vibrant community of both Jews and Christians.  Many people who attend the JCC aren’t Jewish.  The JCC accepts all people of all religions as a place to come together for sports, fitness, arts and community.

Today it is rumored that two of the victims weren’t Jewish.  We are all victims of this senseless tragedy regardless of religion.  We will grieve together and heal together.

The shooting today is a constant and sad reminder that anti-Semitism is alive and a constant threat. Every Sunday I take my child to Sunday school at our local Synagogue.  Every Sunday we walk by a police officer.  He is a constant reminder that we are targets.  Not long ago she asked me why the police have to be at her Synagogue.

“He is there to keep us safe,” I told her without expanding on what I know and what she will soon learn.

It is such a hard balance as a parent to speak to your child about safety.  It’s so hard to know what to tell them and what is better left unsaid.  I will look to the experts to help guide those conversations for me this week.

I know there is so much the Overland Park Police are learning about the shooter.   I watched the video and heard his cowardly voice yell “Heil Hitler” from the back of the squad car. That’s really all I need to know about him.  I don’t give a damn about his guns, whether they were legal or illegal.  I don’t give a damn about his politics.  Tonight is not a night to politicize this tragedy. Those conversations will happen soon enough.  I will probably engage in them, but not tonight…not right now.

I extend my condolences to the families who are grieving.  We grieve together as a neighborhood, a city, and even as a nation.  Tomorrow is the start of Passover. I am reminded of the saying that all Jews say during Passover Seder – “”All who are hungry, come and eat; all who are needy come and celebrate Passover.”  Those words have different meaning this year.  For me it is a reminder that more than ever we need to come together as a community of all religions and heal from this senseless tragedy.

We will never forget.

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8 thoughts on “Another day, another shooting, but this time it’s in my community

  1. Jim L says:

    Aimee,
    Thank you for your post. This one is hard to respond to. It might be easier to think that it’s just another sad example of a disturbed person going off the deep end and acting out in a tragic and horrible way. In this case it may very well be a disturbed person but it’s also hard to ignore that it may also be quite rooted in hate.

    For you, your daughter, the families of those directly affected and anyone who cares about right and wrong, justice and the inhumanity of man, I’m sorry this happened. I don’t know that making it a gun issue will solve anything. Hated will find a way to express its ugly self somehow, some way unless we all care to call out the hate and do everything we can to change the evil and misguided thinking behind it.

    Whether we do anything about guns or not what I think really matters is caring about each other. If we could, if we would, really care about each other, maybe there would be at least one less tragedy such as this.

    1. Thank you for commenting. I think it will take some time to see how the dialog of this tragedy plays out. I think one thing is for sure, the shooter was on this path long ago. It’s such a tragedy that he couldn’t be stopped. Thanks again. Aimee

  2. bobarmi says:

    Thank you Aimee, we seldom see eye to eye but in this tragedy your words have helped to hold back the anger at this animal. I have seen good people die at the hands of fanatics and hoped that I had left it all behind. I never met Reat, he was the friend of the daughter of a very good friend. My sons girlfriend attends Blue Valley where Reat went to school.

    For Jews in Germany 9/11 has as much a meaning of terror as it does for Americans. 9/11/1938 was Kristalnacht, where Nazi Sturmtroopers destroyed Jewish business, homes and synagogues. It was the beginning of the Holocaust. For the time I was in Germany a Jewish friend of mine invited me to a service that is held on 9/11. There is a beautiful piece of stained glass with the word “niewieder”, which translates in English to “never again”. In the service a young girl with a hammer tries to smash the window, but it is apparently made armored glass. As every hammer blow fails to brake the glass, and the congregation says Niewieder. That has service instilled in me a great respect for the indomitable spirit of the Jewish people.

    I fear that anti-Semitism’s ugly head is once more rising, here in this county, that shed so much blood to bring an end to the horrors of Nazi Germany. I feel rage at this senseless destruction, a child gone, for what? I did not know Reat, but I know those who cared for him, and I see how they are stricken by his death. I pray for God’s grace to guide us all though this….niewieder.

    1. Thanks for your comments Bob. It is such a terrible tragedy.

  3. mommylinda says:

    My family has participated in a number of activities at the Jewish Community Center, even though we are staunch Christians. The action does not even compute in my mind. I have lived in Johnson County all of my life. and I am 67 years old. I just cannot believe that this terrorism is happening here.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment I think Kansas City still remains in shock.

  4. Dr. Ernest Evansx says:

    Dearest Ms. Aimee: Thank you for a most sensitive posting. This is a terrible, terrible tragedy for our city and our nation. I hope that it will give people pause when they say hateful things about others–you never know when someone will hear those words and act on them. May you and all those near and dear to you have a most Blessed Passover season. I am not Jewish, but I have been to Israel twice, and while there I met a number of survivors of the Holocaust. If we are to prevent such a terrible thing from again happening, we must learn that evil must be confronted–it will not go away if we ignore it. Take care and God bless. Sincerely, and Respectfully, Dr. Ernest Evans

    1. Dr. Evans,
      Thank you for your reply to my post. It has been a difficult time for our community. I also have been to Israel and count it one of my favorite places on earth. I think there has been an excellent show of support for our community and I know that justice will be served.

      Warmly,
      Aimee

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