Remembrance and loss

As the tenth anniversary of the Columbine school shootings looms ahead of us, Salon prints a beautifully written, heartbreaking essay by the mother of 15 year-old Daniel Mauser, one of the students killed during the rampage.

Daniel had a certain “shy guy” myopic charm that was slowly starting to attract certain girls.  He hadn’t had any dates yet, but was inexorably moving in that direction.  For some girls he undoubtedly would have been under the radar or maybe even a little nerdy.   Daniel wasn’t by any stretch a typical “man’s man” or in this case a “boy’s boy.”  I think the cross country coach barely knew who he was.  He wasn’t terribly athletic, although he enjoyed running.   His French teacher clearly adored him.  He had a well-developed feminine side which can be  quite appealing to some females.  He was sensitive, and his English teacher wrote that she always appreciated his wit.   He was well mannered and gentle in demeanor.   He would roll his eyes at his sister, a budding thespian, and in an exasperated tone exclaim, “Theater people!  Oh my God!”   I think he prided himself on being a rational sort of fellow, not given to drama of any sort.

Because of Daniel’s interest in debate, he wanted me to buy him a nice suit, which I did shortly before he died.  He wore it once — at Easter — and was buried in it, along with photos of his favorite cat and first pet, Alfred, and Star Wars videos.

As the mother of an eleven year-old, I found myself weeping at the end.  However, you don’t have to be a parent to understand the agony of loving someone more than your own life, only to have them taken away from you in such a cruel, senseless manner.  The next time you hear someone, Glenn Beck or whoever, going into some paranoid rant about how Americans need to stock up on firearms before Obama takes them all away, remember Daniel Mauser’s name, and the essay about him.  There is simply no argument against stiffer gun control laws that compares to a mother writing about the suit in which she buried her child.

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