I have a very dark sense of humor. I can usually make jokes about almost everything, no matter how bad. It is a coping mechanism that I have used since childhood. It is well known that many professional comics have tragic backstories. Humor is some people’s response to awfulness.
I know it is an acquired taste and offends many people. Usually, I keep my jokes between myself and the few people that I know share that type of humor.
It is very rare in my life that I find something that affects me so deeply I cannot joke about it. In the last twenty years, the only event that was so painful I am unable to joke about it was the death of my boyfriend.
Today was the first time I’ve been in a Walmart since the El Paso shooting. The recent string of shootings seems to be hitting me and many other people in the country particularly hard. I’m not sure why we’ve reached our breaking point now considering these shootings have been going on for so long.
Previously, when I’ve talked to my son about safety issues, I’ve kept it rather light. I wanted him to be aware, but not scared. This has changed.
With So Many Random Shootings, How Do We Keep Our Kids Safe?
I used to only give the safety lecture when my son was going somewhere that involved huge crowds, but now I wonder if I…
When I went into Walmart today, I felt different. I scanned the area, as I do everywhere, and nobody seemed out of place. I already know where the major exits are — regular and emergency. I found myself wondering how to access the new one. Last year they remodeled the store in order to accommodate the service where you can order your stuff online and they bring it out to your car. There is a new door on one side adjacent to the parking lot that is used by employees going out to deliver those orders.
Today I was trying to figure out how to get out that door if need be. There are a couple of places where the back of the store can be accessed, and I wanted to know which led to that door and which ones just dead-ended. I did not think I could ask without sounding suspicious. There was a moment when I considered following an employee that I saw filling one of those online orders (they have special carts they shop with) to see where they entered the back room, but I thought that would cross the line into creepy. I don’t want to scare someone else just to make myself feel better.
As we shopped, I kept looking around for spots that would make good hiding places if a psycho with a gun was shooting and there just aren’t any. I understand that the store was likely designed that way. They didn’t want idiots imitating that movie where the girl camped in the Walmart after closing. They also didn’t want to make hidden nooks where criminals could get up to no good. But the open layout makes finding potential safe spots in case of emergency impossible. My sister walks with a cane and is almost always with me when I shop there. Escape is not an option. Apparently hiding is not either.
The worst part came as we were trying to leave the store. Our state is one that has outlawed single-use plastic bags. Some people will not pay a few cents (they are a dime each) extra for bags and just throw their stuff into their carts. That means that there are now employees stationed at the exit who are checking receipts and items in the cart.
Normally there are two and it moves right along. It takes maybe a minute to get through the backup. Today, one had wandered off for something, so it was taking a bit longer, but not an excessive amount of time. When I got to the door, there were three people in front of me.
As the man right in front of me moved up to have his receipt checked the second employee returned and proceeded to help us. The first employee got a really weird look on her face as the man walked away and she moved over to the employee who had returned and was checking our receipt.
She asked if we had heard the man. Then told us he said that this is why bad things are always happening at Walmart.
Yeah — the extra one minute you had to wait is totally a reason to shoot up the fucking store. Asshole.
Look, I’m sure he was just kidding, but this is not the time. I’m not sure if it is just too soon, or if this is just not something to joke about anymore.
People are dying every fucking day because angry men feel entitled to violently lash out in crowded places because of their perceived reasons.
I tried to say something reassuring to the clerk about how he was probably just joking, but my sister and I and the two female employees didn’t feel any safer. As women, we already know that some men feel entitled to violence.