I had the pleasure of visiting Charleston, SC last year with my grandparents. Today, my thoughts are with the residents of the city as they go through some of the most unimaginable pain anyone could go through.

I woke up grumpy this morning because I have to edit my husband master’s paper. It’s not a difficult task, and I’m always happy to help him, but this paper for some reason is especially frustrating. However, it’s always amazing how quickly things can be put into perspective.

I never ended up writing about the SPU school shooting that occurred last June. Seattle Pacific is my alma mater, and my sister was a current student at the school when the shooting happened. I remember finding out over Twitter that a gunman (though at the time they were reporting two gunmen) had entered Otto Miller. It was horrifying. It was around finals, and for all I knew my sister was in that building taking her finals. Until it happens to you, there’s really no way to describe that heart-sinking feeling of not knowing whether or not the people you care about are safe. After hearing that my sister was safe, and that my old friends and professors were safe, I broke down. Since that day, mass shootings have taken on a different tone. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve always been a serious matter, but being able to connect on a more emotional level has changed things.

Charleston – you’ll be in my thoughts today. I’m sorry that more hasn’t been done in the past few years to have kept a gun out of that murderer’s hands. I’m sorry that we’ve failed to keep you safe. I’m sorry that a little girl was forced to play dead in order to stay alive. I’m sorry that we fail on a consistent basis to take racism seriously. We aren’t in a post-racial society, and I know people will find a way to excuse his actions and deny that this was a race based hate crime. One day we’ll take racism and gun violence seriously and we’ll take real, tangible actions to help keep people safe. I know you don’t always feel it, but black lives really do matter. They always have, and they always will. I’m sorry this nation keeps failing you.

One rather crass comment from this morning really resonated. A person asked whether the U.S. is a gold coated turd, or a shit covered gold brick. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the most patriotic of military spouses, and more than once I’ve threatened to move overseas to a progressive Scandinavian country and leave this crap behind, but I do think (or hope?) that the U.S. is a shit-covered gold brick. I really do think there are some redeeming qualities in our nation, and we have the opportunity to clean ourselves off and let our gold shine through. But for now we continue to swan dive into the septic tank, and it’s frustrating. It’s about time for a good flush.

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