When the text alert came through from her son’s middle school, Kelly wasn’t surprised by the disturbing assumption that her son was the shooter.
Perhaps it was the article 74 School Shootings Since Sandy Hook a fellow mom posted on Facebook that morning that had created that suspicion; the writer had emphasized just how many of the shooters’ parents “didn’t believe their [child] was capable of this kind of brutal massacre.” The depth of her suspicion cramped her stomach and watered her eyes, convincing her an inescapable truth wasn’t far ahead.
Acting still on first instincts, Kelly didn’t dial her husband working in the city. Maybe she knew he wouldn’t pick up—he never answered her calls during business hours—or maybe she was overwhelmed by anger knowing that his constant absence was partially to blame for her son’s anti-social behaviors.
She moved, trance-like but purposeful, to her son’s bedroom. A firm believer in a show-trust-and-get-respect parenting approach, she wouldn’t usually open the door without knocking. Now, her son’s privacy seemed irrelevant.
Once inside, she became a detective: a truth-seeking official concerned solely about finding clues or indications of depravity.
Immediately, everything in the room—the house, for that matter—became suspect. The stacks upon stacks of ultra violent video games. The all-black wardrobe piled in the closet. The open browser with Facebook messages from Nathan to a name and face Kelly didn’t recognize.
I hate all these fucking kids. Sometimes, I just wish they would all die.
“The gun. I need to find the gun.” Kelly moved from her gut and ran to the basement.
The cabinet was unlocked. The cabinet was empty.
Kelly could hear the voice of the Moms Demand Action rep quoted in the article. It was stern, condemning, incontrovertible.
Among those shootings where it was possible to determine the source of the firearm, three-quarters of the shooters obtained their guns from home.
And then another sound. Her cell phone ringing shot through the silence of her maniacal search.
It was her husband.
Kelly choked on the vomit rising as she grabbed her keys and ran to the garage. “Where are you?”
“I’m up north,” he said, crying and panting between words. “Waiting for the police to come. My God,” he managed between sobs, “3 kids are already dead. And the shooter. He’s fucking dead, too.”
Kelly didn’t move. There was some perverse comfort in knowing her son’s father was the parental figure present for this disaster.