How to toss a 45

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author: shelbi glover | a & c writer

Credit: Pixabay

 

Just a little over a month ago, in the room where I experienced one of the proudest moments of my teenagedom, two children were brutally murdered.

I learned to toss a one-handed 45 in the commons area of Marshall County High School. I was 16, a junior, and marching band was my entire life; not to mention that I had a great shot at landing color-guard captain the next year. To toss a one-handed 45, you hurl a six-foot pole over your head, so the flag spins at a 45-degree angle; while it’s still in the air, you turn your body to catch it standing backward. The catch is, in itself, totally blind; there’s no way to see the flag while you’re turning, so the toss is a leap of faith.

Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with any more technical details of my marching band career. What I’m getting at is that it’s pretty difficult, so when I finally got it right, I was ecstatic. My joyful shrieks echoed through the empty halls, and I was overwhelmed by the fact that I had done it. I had really, truly done it.

Just a little over a month ago, in the room where I experienced one of the proudest moments of my teenagedom, two children were brutally murdered.

On Jan. 23, 2018, a 15-year-old arrived at my alma mater with a handgun and shot 14 students, killing two: Bailey Holt and Preston Cope, both also 15 years old. Five other students were seriously injured by being trampled while trying to escape.

None of this made national headlines. I sat by the TV, scrolling Facebook and wiping tears, waiting for someone to talk about it. Surely Anderson Cooper would say something about the victims, about the president’s delayed response to the crisis, something. No one ever did. No one even mentioned it. It was as if my small town’s tragedy was nothing to America.

But, maybe, that’s just it. In the long run, my small town’s tragedy was nothing to America. No one is saying the names Bailey Holt and Preston Cope, even in light of the current conversation around gun violence; in fact, no one is talking about the shooting at all, except for those I know from back home.

“This could never happen to us.” We all think this. We see tragedies happening everywhere else, but lightning only strikes so often, doesn’t it? In western Kentucky, it’s struck twice. The Heath High School shooting in 1996 – one of America’s first high school shootings – took place about 30 minutes away from Marshall County. And, still, the community protects its right to the second amendment more than they could dream of protecting their children. Kentucky is already preparing legislation that would allow teachers to carry guns – legislation that can only end in more tragedy.

“That could have been us,” my best friend texted me that day, panicked and shocked all at once. “If it had been three years earlier, it could have been us.”

And it could have been. It has been. If nothing changes, it will be over and over and over again.

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