How are We Doing?

Two days into this search for the mass shooter in Maine, and I’ve had a number of people reach out to see how my family and I are faring. Overall, it’s been fairly surreal, and this is for people who are an hour away from where this happened. You watch these events unfold in other states, and you think you understand how horrific it is, but I’ve already learned that the closer you are to where something like this happened, the more awful it becomes. I’ve got friends in Lewiston, and I see them posting social media updates. They’re now in their second day of “shelter in place.” I’ve got to think it’s got serious pandemic vibes. I feel so bad for them and for all the families and people directly affected by this.

What sort of an impact has it been having on me and mine? Yesterday’s blog post managed to get a fair bit of my frustration out, but that can only go so far. The girls’ school was canceled yesterday and today. They’ve been home trying to make the best of things. Thankfully, the university also canceled classes, so Denisa has been with them. (In an effort to keep things as normal feeling on campus as possible, offices have been open, though all buildings have been shut down to keycard access only, meaning you have to be a university student or staff person to be able to enter them. The library was quite quiet yesterday. Today, it’s practically empty. There was 1 person in here who wasn’t a staff member, last I checked. I think many/most students have gone home for the weekend, or traveled elsewhere.)

The biggest issue is that the attacker still hasn’t been found. He’s an outdoorsman, and there are many places in Maine where it would be easy for a person to disappear. (The North Pond Hermit managed to evade detection for 27 years, stealing from local cabins and remaining a mystery until technology (via motion sensor cameras) caught up with him. He did all this a half hour from my house. He wasn’t a particularly skilled outdoorsman. Just resourceful and committed.) While the search has mainly been focused toward the southern part of the state, if he really wants to stay hidden, he’d be better served going north, to less populated areas. North is where I live. So . . . yeah. Am I actively worried an armed and dangerous mass-murderer might be stalking through the woods around me? Not to the point that I’m huddling under the covers in fear, but definitely to the point that “sending someone out to walk the dog” is something that makes you think twice.

You walk around campus, and you hear many small conversations of people wondering where he might be. That’s a constant mental load that isn’t exactly conducive to a restful mind. That’s the sort of thing that doesn’t really connect with you if you’re farther away from the attack.

Yesterday, MC was in tears, worried about what might happen. Now, she’s more at the “keeps checking to see where they’re searching for the bad guy” level. “Is he coming toward us?” “Have they caught him?” “Are we safe?”

Try talking to your kids about something like that. It’s worse than you’d think.

Generally, we’re doing our best to just live normally. Several Halloween festivities have been canceled. I don’t know what it will actually be like next week. I really hope they find this guy soon, though even if they do, I imagine it’ll take a while for me to stop thinking about it. (Sort of like how you don’t think of car accidents that much until you’re in one. Then when you are, you’re constantly seeing the potential for another accident everywhere you look.)

So how are we doing? On a scale from 1-10, with 10 being super and 1 being terrible, I’d say we’re around a 4 today.

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