And now what.
We move on. A day later, a week later. There are President Donald Trump's tax losses and a million species facing extinction and a presidential race and our own city's violence.
We don't have the luxury of marinating in Tuesday's school shooting, the latest in a weekly series that may as well be titled, "America: You Know The Drill." There are too many other outrages. Another school shooting will bump this one out of the headlines soon enough.
The shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch occurred exactly a week after two students were killed and four more were wounded at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. There, Riley Howell, 21, was shot in the head at point-blank range when he tried to tackle a gunman who opened fire during anthropology class.
During anthropology class.
We moved on.
The survivors are never the same. The children – the ones who dutifully placed their hands on their heads as they marched out of a crime scene, the ones shown sobbing as they're led by law enforcement toward buses that will take them to a parent reunification center, the ones who were learning or daydreaming or giggling moments before springing into action to avoid death, as they've been taught – they're never the same.
The people who knew and loved and raised the 18-year-old STEM student who was killed Tuesday, May 7, they're never the same.
I've stopped expecting one of these shootings to shock us into unity. I've stopped expecting us, as a nation, to witness these horrors and come to roughly the same conclusion about how to prevent them, or at least minimize their frequency.
I've sought out activists and writers whose life's work is pointed toward stanching the flow of blood from our kids.
I've interviewed Shannon Watts, who founded Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. I've interviewed Phil Andrew, who survived a Winnetka, Ill., school shooting 31 years ago and went on to serve as executive director for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and, for 21 years, as an FBI agent and, since last year, director of violence prevention for the Archdiocese of Chicago. I've interviewed Tamar Manasseh, who founded Chicago-based Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings.
I've interviewed Dave Cullen, who has spent 20 years researching and writing about school shootings, beginning with Columbine, which is about 7 miles from STEM, where Tuesday's shooting occurred.
They know change is a marathon, not a sprint. They know a lot of lives are being lost, damaged, forever altered while we wait.
"The Parkland generation was raised on lockdown drills – responding to tragedy by learning to hide better," Cullen writes in "Parkland," his latest book.
He writes about the survivors' faces when he covered Columbine.
"That's why I'm still on the story two decades later: I never wanted to see that look again," he writes. "But what we see today is worse: unsurprised survivors who expected a shooter."
I suppose that describes all of us.
Still, I'm not ready to surrender hope.
"We're better than this," Phil Andrew told me last year. "We're a better country than this. We're better communities than this. We're smarter than this, and we have not made this a priority. I am horrified."
But he also considers the way the country has shifted its approach to gay marriage, a topic that seemed impossible to imagine most Americans embracing a decade or so ago. He talks about how routinely we wear seat belts now and how hard we've cracked down on drunk drivers, neither of which have eliminated traffic fatalities, but both of which have curbed them.
"There are multiple analogies," Andrew told me. "Cigarettes were perfectly acceptable and killing a lot of people, and the science caught up with them. The industry fought the science for a long time, but the tide turned, and it turned rapidly."
Change never feels rapid enough. Certainly when you stare at an image of a girl with her arms up. Certainly when you realize she has to go to bed that night, and every night after, remembering the day her school became a murdering ground. She doesn't get to move on. Not completely.
And maybe when we're tempted to, we can think about her. Or one of the other kids whose lives are punctuated by violence, some of them day in and day out. And we can resolve to keep pushing for change, even if it doesn't come quickly and isn't universally embraced and doesn't eliminate gun violence altogether.
Maybe that can be our now what.
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(Contact Heidi Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter: @heidistevens13.)