Ever have one of those moments when you remember someone from your childhood and think, “Gee, I wonder what ever happened to…”
That was me, last night. I wondered whatever happened to my neighbor Aaron. So I did what EVERYONE does, I Googled him.
Aaron J. Washington* … let’s see what you are up to today…
Back when I knew Aaron I was the noisy little neighbor next door practicing stellar moves on roller skates, singing along to my favorite boy band tape in my knock-off Walkman (DURAN DURAN baby)! Aaron was always tinkering with bikes, listening to heavy metal music. He was the first boy aside from a family member who told me I was cute.
Yes, believe me, he was just being nice.
So, I hop onto Google and I enter the information I know and BAM up comes info on Aaron. Today, he’s Aaron the farmer. A farmer! And boy has he changed. His is successful, and happy, and feeding those in need thanks to a vegetable he’s developed that grows rapidly, is extremely nutritious, and can be planted in areas that are prone to drought.
And there was that face that I remember.
Smiling back at me.
Only thing is I woke up.
I told you a few weeks back that I have always been a dreamer. We are talking vivid dreams that sometimes are so jumbled that they make absolutely no sense (being able to see with my eyes closed). Sometimes they are so real that they wake me right up.
And that’s exactly what happened. Aaron is not a farmer. Aaron never got to grow up and raise a family. We never got to see his success. Aaron never made it past 1990. In fact, December marks the anniversary of his untimely death.
What happened? He was with his friends watching football. Someone else stopped by and was showing off an antique firearm. A petite thing. But a gun is a gun is a gun, and size aside, it went off. And Aaron’s life was cut short in a small town, in the middle of New York State, far away from big cities and major crimes.
Fast forward to yesterday: San Bernardino, Calif.
I couldn’t even bring myself to read past the headline.
Mass shooting. At least 14 dead. And the kicker — it was the 355th mass shooting THIS YEAR!!!
This happened at a place that, although was way out on the West Coast, hit close to home. The shooting happened at an organization that helps families like ours. It was an organization that helped the developmentally disabled.
So what can we do? There is no easy solution. This violence has become such a common place that this issue needs to be attacked on a variety of levels. Although this is a good start, especially the information on page 2.
And we can ALL do this: hold our elected officials accountable.
This HUFF POST article makes it super easy.
Do it today. Do it NOW. Do it for tomorrow.
Until next time…
PS. I think Aaron came to me last night as if to say I needed to speak up. I know he would want me to, and his family would agree. BTW, Aaron is not his real name.