I picked up a link on one of the blogs on the Internet dealing with the recent massacre at Aurora, Colorado. I say recent, it is reported as the biggest gun crime in the US but it doesn’t take long for its news to fade to give way to more current news, leaving a community to carry its pain alone. The blog I picked up was addressing the general problem of shootings in America. The link in the post led to another blog that got me curios. The blog is or was by a young lady aspiring to be a hockey or sports journalist or sports caster. When I went to the blog I found only two posts. It was the last post that caught me sideways unawares, like that vintage vehicle that intercepted my motor cycle travel – side on – one Saturday that got me on a different ride – in ambulance.
Considered clever, funny and witty, 25-year-old Jessica’s first post showed this side of this young aspiring hockey writer and sports caster. The first post on her blog posted August last year was titled,I Like M y Hocky Like I Like My Men.
She says in the first paragraph of that first post, “I’m fairly new to this kind of dating. I’ve quickly realized there are so many men out there for me to choose from: The Bad Boys, The Party Guys, The Class Clowns, and even The Hot Guy with No Brains, to name a few. I’m having the time of my life going out there and getting to know all these different types of men. I’m starting to figure out what I like and what I don’t like. I have found myself incredibly attracted to some and completely turned off by others. Some that have future potential, and some that just make good friends. Men are like the game of hockey to me, and NHL teams (National Hockey League), are easily compared to a collection of male archetypes that everyone can relate to.” But these are all personified descriptions of the hockey teams that she would be reporting on and be engaged with in reporting on their games.
“Jessica Redfield was going to be a sportscaster, and she was going to be a good one. She was sharp, funny, enthusiastic and had the kind of passion for sports and journalism that makes people succeed,” said her journalist friend, Jesse Spector. “She was opinionated about everything, but in a much less obnoxious way than most of us.”
One can only imagine what interactions there might be between an attractive 25-year-old redhead sports reporter or intern sports caster, and the hunks of handsome masculinity that made up those competing hockey teams.
But then I read her second post dated June this year. What a contrast is this second and last post from June 2011. It’s much more serious and sober. This post is in response to a traumatic experience that few of us experience. It comes back to the kind of situation that took place at Aurora, at around midnight, 20 July (2012). But this took place in the Eaton Shopping Centre in Toronto. A place I visited in 2000 but not associated it with gun crime. The BBC reported that, “Witnesses described scenes of panic after gunfire broke out in the food court of the Eaton Centre.
Jessica Redfield had stopped to eat at the food court in the Eaton Centre just minutes earlier, at the very place where the fatal shooting and others who were injured took place. But for some reason she didn’t know why, she decided she fancied something different to eat which meant moving off outside the food court for her different food purchase. When the gunfire broke she realised she had only just moved out of harm’s way. The last post on her blog is titled, ‘Late Night Thoughts On The Eaton centre Shooting.
Jessica Redfield says that experience was a day that forever changed her life. She said, “It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting.”
“I found out after seeing a map of the scene,” she said, “that minutes later a man was standing in the same spot I just ate at and opened fire in the food court full of people.”
That’s when it really hit me. I felt nauseas. Who would go into a mall full of thousands of innocent people and open fire? Is this really the world we live in?
Then she writes, “I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.”
Her feelings of mortality resonated with me as I have shared elsewhere. Many years later I still sometimes find myself drawing a deep breath, and feeling the privilege of being able to breathe. I couldn’t help reading her blog again, and when I read about her, and you just have to put her name into a search engine, I read that last post in her blog again.
Jessica Redfield found herself in another similar situation six weeks later. On July 20, Jessica was in the Aurora theatre. And there was another senseless shooting. ‘USATODAY’ reported,
“Hours after news broke of a mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., the photographs started circulating – images of a pretty, red-haired woman with a big smile on her face.
“Jessica Redfield, a young sports broadcaster/blogger from Texas who was an intern at a Denver radio station, was one of the 12 people killed in the shooting. Redfield (whose given last name was Ghawi) loved hockey, writing and social media. Her brother, Jordan, confirmed her death on Twitter and his personal blog early Friday morning.”
All right-minded people would share Jessica’s sentiments over he Toronto experience: “That’s when it really hit me. I felt nauseas. Who would go into a mall full of thousands of innocent people and open fire? Is this really the world we live in?” Maybe there will be something in and about Jessica’s ‘last post’ that needs to be kept alive – that it will have some effect of revealing evil to be what it is and perhaps have some restraining influence on those who mindlessly bring pain to our world. But also, Jessica reminds those readers of her blog that there are the important things in life we should not let slip away from us, they are in her ‘last post’.