Words to truly describe the loss of our daughters, our mothers, our sisters, our wives, our friends when they are taken too soon. No words to describe the feeling of agony when specifically such a sincere yet powerful creative spirit is stolen from a community. No words to define the internal struggle when the sense of safety is lost forever. No words to describe the pain that has been cast upon Lafayette by such a cowardly act.
But I have to try. Because it’s tearing me open from the inside out.
When acts of violence, domestic terrorism, hate crimes occur in this country, it’s easy to cast it away as if it could never happen to you, your home, your loved ones. This is a feeling Southwest Louisiana can never claim again. The town of Lafayette, recently deemed the “Happiest city in the U.S.” experienced its first of senseless acts of violence last night. A shooting at a movie theater that has since left two women dead, one in intensive care with five gunshot wounds, and six others injured.
All they know of the shooter thus far was that he was a 50 something-year-old drifter who was staying at a nearby hotel. He took his own life.
But I refuse to focus on him. I can’t. Because my heart and soul are mourning the loss of the women. I tried to type “victims” just now, and immediately deleted it. They are not victims. They are human beings. They are creators. They are friends. They are lovers. They are so much more than “victims.”
They were innocent bystanders to this one coward’s rage. They were engaging in the freedom of a good evening with friends, something that we Americans take for granted and never will again. One, treating herself to a funny movie with her best friend for some much-deserved girl time, while her husband and child awaited her return that evening. The other, enjoying a movie with her boyfriend during her summer break from college.
Lafayette is not a huge city, but with the rise of social media, it’s so much smaller than it used to be. I knew of one of the women who lost their lives yesterday. Although I never had the opportunity to meet her in person- she is the sister of an acquaintance and the friend of a cousin- I know of her spirit, her passion, her work, and her beautiful soul, all of which has inspired me more than she could ever know. My heart truly mourns for the loss of these wonderful people, and my prayers go out to their families and friends.
The struggle also exists in the loss of security. Southwest Louisiana, a.k.a Cajun Country, is known for its laissez-faire attitude and its “Laissez les bon temps roulez” approach to life. Many outsiders see it as a little piece of something special, different as compared to the outside world. Good food, good friends, good time. But to many, it is home. And when your home is stripped of its sense of safety, you fear.
The coward who is responsible for this tragedy, he wanted to incite fear and pain into the lives of others. I pray the fear is one day replaced by love. And while today, specifically, that may not be the case, I hope and pray that one day it will be. #PrayforLafayette
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 21:12