Imagine you’re sitting at the premier of the biggest blockbuster hit all summer and suddenly the tear gas and the gunfire that was on the screen a moment ago is now four feet away with the barrel in your face. It sounds horrific, like the fodder of another Hollywood hit, but this morning, it was far too real for the twelve now dead and at least another fifty who were injured in the shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
It’s amazing how a tragedy can transform the country in a matter of hours and have repercussions that echo across the world at the speed of light. A red-carpet Paris premier of the movie was cancelled in the wake of the shooting and both Presidential candidates have put a silencer on their doomsday rhetoric. The country stands again as one–one victim, one survivor, a single body supporting its own flailing limbs–united in a way only death can unite us.
It’s been a while since I wrote Maximum Occupancy Approaching. I was hesitant to post it before I got my grade back in case I had miswritten or misrepresented anything in composing the piece. I appreciate facts. I want to make sure I’ve got all of mine in order before I say anything. This is simple in op-eds and fiction. Not so simple in journalism. It’s why I want to be a novelist not a newspaper headliner.
Occupy is still around. It’s still as relevant today as it was then–and perhaps even more so because it’s still there and it’s spread further still. Their position has gotten clearer although their leadership remains sparse, and news reports abound with both the good and the bad. I remember the morning after I submitted my paper I saw a clip on the news about the protests at Wall Street: Not only did they have free yoga classes in the middle of the park, they had a library composed of hundreds of books that Occupants had brought by. There were groups to go around collecting trash and recyclables and there was a breakfast served for everyone there.