I was newly pregnant with our first child and still at my office one day when I received a call from Drew. He suggested swinging by to pick me up and we could grab a quick dinner and go see a movie.

Two months prior I would have jumped at the offer, but I had to tell him that I was just too tired. "You know, with the baby?” He was silent for a moment and then replied apologetically, “I forgot you were pregnant.”

He had the luxury to forget while every waking hour I was fully aware of my condition.

There was a shooting incident at YouTube headquarters on Tuesday.

I watched video of employees walking from the building with arms raised, to wait in line for police to clear and release them from the crime scene. My first reaction was one of outrage that, on probably the worst day of their lives, they should have the personal indignity of being treated like criminals. Of course, it was necessary. Of course, the police were just doing their job, but the image really affected me.

By Wednesday the story was no longer the lead. Interest was waning, only three people injured.

It suddenly struck me. Like my husband those years ago; we have the luxury to forget.

We return to our lives unscathed. We hear the news. We are appalled at yet another “shooter situation.” We sympathize with, not only the victims, but their families. We might pray that the injured recover fully and quickly, but then our own lives take over and we forget.

But, what of all those who marched from the building with hands held high? They might not have the physical scars as reminders of that day of horror, but they must be scarred as well. Hearing gun shots. Hearing screaming. Adrenaline pumping. Running for exits or cover of some kind. Thinking that nowhere was safe. If they had their phone in a pocket, grabbing it; scanning social media for any news of what was happening. Texting family and friends or calling, in whispers, to let them know that for now, they were safe. Thinking of escape but then realizing they had left their car keys in their haste to flee the danger.

What about the families or friends receiving those texts or phone calls? I can only imagine the wave of panic setting in. Are they really safe? Is there something I can do? Maybe I should get in the car; try to reach them.

And, what will “the survivors” tell their children? How to deal with the fear when their little ones plead with them not to go back to work there. How long will it take before they don’t hear the screams, feel the panic; relive the uncertainty and terror in their nightmares?

We have the luxury to forget; lucky us.

Most of us will not give it a second thought until these feelings and fears are again roused when the next mass shooting occurs.

I wonder; how many more shootings will it take before our luck runs out and we are unable to forget?

Wendy J. Levenfeld is a published novelist, playwright and columnist. Send comments to wendylevenfeld@gmail.com. Visit Wendy’s website at www.wendylevenfeld.com.

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