Resistance Poetry 2019.8
Even before it became America’s biggest soft target, I’ve done my best to avoid Walmart. I hate the way they treat employees, undermine local businesses and over tax law enforcement, using police in lieu of hiring adequate store security, passing the cost on to you and me. But sometimes in rural America, you just have to cross that threshold. Sometimes there’s nowhere else for what you need (except Amazon, but we won’t get into that).
So it was that, on the evening of August 14th, I found myself in the notions department buying ribbon. The El Paso shooting, just 11 days previous, hung in the air, and I wondered how the migrant farmers sharing the store with me were feeling.
My antennae were tingly when I headed back to my car.
Fumbling for my keys, I noticed a lean, young man with a shaved head and wrap-around shades standing, just standing, next to his open trunk a few spaces down from me. He wasn't putting stuff in. He wasn’t taking stuff out. He just stood there, gazing at the store. Was he waiting for someone? It was impossible to know what he was thinking behind those shades.
I studied him as I pulled out, memorizing his features. Was I a witness?
Driving past his open trunk, I gave it a surreptitious side eye. A dog-food-bag-sized sack of white rice and an open case — containing many smaller boxes, some of them askew — of Winchester ammunition was all I could see over the lip from my low slung seat.
Holy shit! What else was in there?
My heart raced as I drove to the other end of the parking lot and pulled into a space. He was still standing there staring at the store. Should I call the police? Was I being an alarmist? What would I say? A guy, who might be a prepper or might be a mass shooter, was in the Walmart parking lot not doing anything illegal? “Thanks, lady.”
I live in Maine where people mostly shoot their relatives.
I talked myself out of it.
Now I know I shouldn’t have. I should have called it in, embarrassment be damned, and let the police sort it out because, seven days later, this happened at the very same Walmart:
Bill Nemitz: The good news: A mass shooting didn't happen in Maine last week
Looking for a little good news to start off the week? Welcome to the tragedy that wasn't. Thursday evening, police…
Tragedy was averted was because someone called in an on-line threat, and the police took it seriously.
“Was it him?!?!?”
That’s all I could think when the headline jumped off the page at me. No. The mugshot revealed a fleshier face, a rager who lived three miles from me as the crow flies.
See something. Say something.
It’s not just abandoned backpacks on the subway anymore.
Needless to say, gun culture and mass shooting have been on many poets’ minds this month. Here is a gallery of their thoughts (and so much more):