I’ve been thinking a lot about Nichole Cevario’s parents, what they must have been feeling as they discovered what their daughter had planned for Frederick County’s Catoctin High School — shame and courage and grief and love and fear, heartbreak and so much more.
I’ve been thinking about mental illness, the insurance coverage for it, treatments available, stigma around it, and high school bullying and all of the things that might lead an 18-year-old onto such a destructive path.
I’ve been thinking about the fact that everything she purchased — shotgun, ammunition, fireworks, hardware, explosives, pieces of pipe to construct a bomb — was legal, that the instructions to create her weapon were readily available online.
I’ve been thinking about the police officers, bomb squad, rescue services, firearms department, state’s attorney’s offices who were called upon to quickly sift through limited information and promptly act to protect Nichole, her classmates, her family, our community; how a poor decision could have hurt different people in different ways, but their integrity kept everyone safe.
I’ve been watching our community’s reaction for vilification or judgment or condemnation, fearful of the worst and grateful to not have seen (much of) it.
I’ve been thinking about the students at Catoctin, how scared and vulnerable they must feel to realize that a perceived bubble of safety has been popped, for whom uncommon things have been uncommonly brought to their attention by someone they know, trusted.
I’ve been thinking about the teachers and administrators who once entered this field imagining that they were embarking upon the noble pursuit of educating future generations, instead unknowingly stepping onto a battlefield.
I’ve been thinking about the reactions of the friends and families of these people, aware of the ripples this sends into our community and far beyond it.
Nothing we do or feel or experience is ever without reverberations. This event darkens so many lives. I’ve been sad about all of it, aware that there’s never a simple solution to a complex problem, feeling powerless and small. The platitude, of course, is: “Love your people. Hold them close tonight.” But I think even more important is this: “Love the people who aren’t your people. Love, people. Love them all.
Jessica Feltz is the owner of The Turning Point: Frederick’s Community Acupuncture