Last week a guy walked into a school in Colorado and sexually assaulted and killed some girls. Yesterday, a guy walked into a school in Pennsylvania and lined some little girls up against a wall and shot them.
I woke up to NPR this morning and the woman reading the news was going on about “the children.” “The children” were tied up. “The children” were killed. And so I woke up thinking “Those were girls and it matters that they were girls because the killer chose them because they were girls. Don’t say ‘children’ like the story is their age.”
It makes me feel unmoored.
I can remember the story of the school in I think it was Saudi Arabia where there was a fire and the girls were shot as they came running out because they weren’t properly covered.
From that, I extrapolated that that kind of thing was happening all the time over there. But you know, I don’t know that. It may be that I remember that story because it was so outrageous that it made the news over here.
Still, it was reported and from that, I felt confident in drawing inferences about Islamic culture.
Do I do the same for our culture? Do I look at the dead girls piled up these two weeks and draw some inference?
On the one hand, I’m not sure there’s any new information to be gleaned. Two disturbed men killed some girls. What can you say about that more than that?
On the other hand, it matters. It matters that they were girls. That they were alive and now they’re not because they were girls.
I keep waiting for the big feminist voices to say something about either incident, but I haven’t seen anything.
And I don’t feel eloquent enough to even begin to know what to say. I don’t understand it. There’s nothing to rally you against because of the deaths of these girls.
There’s just six dead girls in less than a week, dead because they were girls. And I’m left with just this feeling I don’t know how to put into words. Jessica over at tinyluckygenius aka the Unicorn’s tear says
Walking down the street and being out in the world, the fear is always with you, a little, some, that someone will get you. When you get older, the fear become more acute, and “get” becomes “rape”.
But I never feared when I was in school.
I never feared I would be raped and killed in my classroom.
Yeah, I think that’s it. Here’s this one place where we can be fairly safe and free. How many of us are where we are because school was opening up new worlds to us, giving us access to new ideas pointing us towards ways of entering important conversations? How many of us first found what we were good at or something worth loving about ourselves at school?
Educate us and you give us freedoms women in past generations have never had.
You teach us how to nourish our minds. It’s sacred in some non-religious sense, because education is liberation.
Killing us in school is like shitting in the front of church.
It offends me at a soul-deep level.
It feels profane.