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If You Can Imagine

August 5, 2019

Christian S. Wilkey is a thoughtful music teacher, band director, working musician in a punk band, music coordinator for a church, camp counselor and lemme save time and summarize: you’d love this United Methodist guy. It’s with his expressed gracious permission that I share these thoughts of his after this weekend’s mass shootings —

My sister Eva is a nurse at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago. She matter-of-factly informed me that nurses in Chicago were put on call all weekend in case there was a mass shooting at Lollapalooza. Can you imagine a world where that wouldn’t be necessary?

My sister Ana and I are public school teachers. Can you imagine a world in which active shooter drills in elementary schools were as outdated and irrelevant as “duck and cover” drills are today?

My sister Heather works for a major computer/software company in Denver, Colorado. She lives in a city where the memory of Columbine and Aurora cast a gloomy tragic shadow that can never be erased. Imagine if no American city ever had to carry that terrible reputation or history.

My brother Ian is about to a freshman at Illinois Wesleyan University. Imagine a world where the precedents of campus shootings such as Virginia Tech, Umpqua, Santa Monica, and Northern Illinois were never set and that risk was not even remotely in the realm of possibility.

When I was in college in Decatur (IL) I was victim of gun violence when a Glock .45 was pressed to my temple and I was mugged for everything I had on me under the cover darkness. I often try to imagine a world where I don’t carry the psychological damage of never again being able to bring myself to walk outside by myself after dark and the occasional night terrors and nightmares where I have to involuntarily relive that.

If you can imagine such a world, what are you going to do to help make it a reality?

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