Are We Safe?

Troubling images flicker across the TV at the Sanders house near downtown Shady Pines. It’s the same in households across the country.

Edna Sanders tries to prepare dinner. But her attention keeps being drawn to the screen on the kitchen counter.

It’s been this way ever since news of the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas was first broadcast. Nineteen elementary students and two teachers gunned down by an 18 year old man with an assault rifle.


“This is horrible,” says Edna. “Those poor little kids. Their parents and families. Those brave teachers. That town. It’s just too much.” Edna buries her face in her hands.

The back door opens and Edna’s husband, Harold arrives with the family’s dog, Boomerang. He took the handsome Australian Shepherd with him to work at his Nut’s ‘N Bolts hardware store. “Honey, we’re home.”

Harold unclicks the leash from Boomer’s collar, hangs it on its hook, and strokes the dog’s head. “I’m proud of you, Boomer. You were a very good boy today.”

Meanwhile, Halley’s Comet has been snoozing on her favorite window seat. The silver streak of a cat is worried. “Why’s mom so emotional? What is she watching on TV that has her in tears?” Once Halley sees Boomer coming through the door, the elegant cat has a complete change of mood.

Offering Comfort

“What on earth could you have done to make dad proud of you?” asks an annoyed Halley.

“Oh, wouldn’t you like to know?” snarls Boomer.

“Not really.”

“I greeted everyone. A lot of them were upset. They petted me and seemed to calm down.”

“That’s surprising. You have the opposite effect on me.” But it got Halley’s attention. “Mom’s been really upset, too.”

Harold takes one look at his wife and rushes to her. “Edna, sweetie, what wrong?”

Edna gets up from sitting at the kitchen table and gives him a hug. “I feel such deep sorrow for everyone in Uvalde. I can’t help wonder, what if that happened here?”

Harold looks at her. “I know what you mean. That’s what everyone is talking about at the store.”

Edna dabs her eyes with a paper napkin. “We like to feel we’re safe in our small Southern town.”

Harold nods. “Yea, except, these mass shootings keep happening at stores, malls, concerts, places where people worship, and again at an elementary school!”

A Loving Family

Boomer crosses the room and plops his favorite rawhide bone at the feet of his parents.

“Why did ya do that?” asks Halley.

“I want them to know I love them.”

With that, Halley wanders over and rubs against her parent’s legs. “Okay, that is actually kinda nice.”

Both Harold and Edna reach down and hug their four-legged children.

“We love you two SO much,” says Edna.

Harold agrees. “And we will do whatever we can to keep you both safe. I just hope it will always be enough.”

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