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The Boulder King Soopers Shooting and Our Hope for Change

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We are waking up to another nightmare in Colorado: 10 people were killed yesterday, including one police officer who was the first to respond to the scene at a King Soopers in Boulder.  A store that I, and many of you, have frequented. 

This year-long pandemic has brought about many emotions and fears and deep wounds resurfaced yesterday as yet another shooter targeted our beloved state. We are the birthplace of horror. Columbine. Then Aurora. The list keeps growing. 

It made me think about a few years ago when parents were stunned into silence following the shooting at the  STEM School Highlands Ranch in Littleton, Colorado. Half a million kids did not attend school because of this new threat. Instead, fear, shock and the inability to truly process what this new world means for our families when the enemy is not attacking from outside our borders, but from within. Just as we start to heal, we relapse. 

What is to blame? Mental illness? Too many guns?  The debate rages on.  And yet still no answers. It is as if we’re in a bad dream when an immediate threat lurks and we are paralyzed to inaction. 

On February 19, 2018 in the immediate aftermath of the Parkland shooting, there was a threat written on the walls of one of the bathrooms at Arvada West High School. It shook everyone to the core and manifested all those feelings of fear and panic that so many young students have experienced in this era of public shootings.

Chris Maunu, the school’s choir director, recently shared on his Facebook page that one of his students, Taylor Huntley, wrote a poem in response.  “When she shared it with the choir, it brought the ensemble to tears.” He went on to say that these incredibly emotional words found their way into the hands of composer Andrea Ramsey. “She recognized the real pain, fear and dissolution in Taylor’s words and this powerful composition ensued.”

A Hope for Change
By Taylor Huntley

There is an ache in my chest
from the emotions that swarm
Like a hive of frightened bees.
There are tears in my eyes,
As an imitation for the drops 
Of bloodshed, in hatred.
My head is stuffed with cotton,
With thoughts I cannot comprehend
So instead, I try, to ignore.
I need to protect my family,
I need to protect my friends,
I need to protect my heart.

They say I am safe.
But they cannot guarantee.
They cannot dig the hurt,
The hatred in their souls.
Of those that wish to hurt
For revenge we cannot know.
No matter what we do, 
No matter what is said,
They always find a way.
They are blind towards the future,
The past, and the present.
I hope one day, we will change.

 Arvada West’s Company West will be performing the World Premiere of “A Hive of Frightened Bees” May 10–11 2019. 

Taylor says that it was her English teacher who gave her class an opportunity to express their emotions. “I decided to write my feelings in a poem. Before having this English teacher, I absolutely despised poetry. I did not find it very appealing, but throughout the year and up to this point, I found love towards it. This poem is actually the first real poem I have ever written. It was the perfect way for me to write down what I was feeling.”

Thank you to Taylor and Andrea for bringing this beauty into the world.

We hope one day, we will change. 

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