I Am Not Okay

I am absolutely not okay.

We all know about the shooting at a Virginia Walmart, how a shift manager walked into the break room and started firing, killing six people. How that same manager turned the weapon on himself, taking the easy way out rather than actually owning up to what he had done. How some died in the store and some died later at the hospital.

I am not okay.

It’s been almost a decade since an associate at my local Walmart–the same Walmart that employed me at that time–brought two semiautomatic pistols and 22 rounds into the store, walked into the Liquor Store to give a fellow associate a break, only to pull out the gun and shoot her coworker point blank in the abdomen.

The victim very nearly died. She had no blood pressure when she arrived at a nearby hospital. It took one hundred units of blood to save her.

I did not see the incident. But I heard everything. I heard the gunshot. I heard the screaming, the wailing. I saw the aftermath. I caught sight of one of our managers, her face ashen, tears streaking her cheeks, a hand pressed over her mouth. I saw police officers, swarming our building. Then the information began to trickle out: there had been a shooting in my Walmart.

The very thing that happened everywhere else happened here.

I remember the day after: I was scheduled off that day. I slept until 13:30. My dreams were suffocating and chaotic. When I awoke, I rolled over and the entire room rolled with me. The dizziness was so bad that I collapsed back on the bed. Suddenly, my stomach cramped so intensely that I nearly drowned in a wave of nausea. I don’t remember eating much of anything that day. While watching a Brewers game, I had to ask Prime to mute the television during a commercial; it was for an outdoor sports supplier and the advertisement used gunshots as emphasis. I couldn’t handle the sound.

I was not okay.

I am still not okay.

I will probably never be okay.

I can’t be near a Walmart if there are any police vehicles in the parking lot. Seeing police officers in a building automatically makes me anxious. Sounds like pops or booms cause me to panic. I’ve had panic attacks hearing children scream: the tone and pitch were similar enough to my coworker’s screams. It’s been nearly ten years and I’m still not okay.

That is what these associates will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

They have survived. Hopefully, they will continue to survive. But they will not be okay. Not for a very long time.

About Silverwynde

I'm a Transformers fan, Pokémon player, Brewers fan and all-out general nerd. I rescue abandoned Golett, collect as many Bumblebee decoys and figures as I can find and I've attended every BotCon--official and non--since 1999. I'm also happily married to a fellow Transfan named Prime and we were both owned by a very intelligent half-Siamese cat, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on June 16, 2018. We still miss him. But we're now the acting staff of a Maine Coon kitty named Lulu, who pretty much rules the house. Not that we're complaining about that.
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