Disease

By Leah Abrams

The metro in Spain sometimes sparks as its pulley system hits across the ceiling. It makes a loud noise and fires off round after round, flashes igniting from the top of the train as it pulls away from the station.

The first time it happened, I got down.

I dropped flat to the floor so fast that I didn’t even have time to process it. While laying stomach down,

“Ok, active shooter on the roof of the train. The rounds are quick so it must be an assault weapon. Stay down until the train passes and you can make an escape.”

Finally, I realized that people were walking by me unperturbed, some of them gawking at the girl covering her head on the floor.

I hesitantly lifted my eyes, looking around. I realized no shots had been fired, and I got up and tried to walk away as nonchalantly as possible.

In my film class, we watched “Elephant.” The professor said he liked the film because instead of oversimplifying the issue like the American left, the film showed the many possible causes of such a shooting.

He liked that it brought up bullying, video games, self esteem. These all played into the motives of the attackers, he said, not just the guns.

But he had never sent his kids to a school where a gun could render them bloody and lifeless in the cafeteria. He had never hid under a desk, waiting for the lockdown to end. He had never called his baby brother’s elementary school, frantic, hoping the shooter had left the premises. To him it was a movie, that’s all.

Video games exist in Spain. Bullying exists in Spain. I have watched teenage boys play at both here. But they can’t round the corner to the local Wal-Mart and buy a pistol.

But of course, I can’t explain this to him. A healthy mind wants to see all the answers, wants to find all the causes of the disease and try to present them rationally.

They can never understand what the sick one feels, what the sick one knows instinctively, what the sick one imagines as she drifts into cold sleep and sees a kid enter her classroom, strapped and emotionless, ripping her from this life to the next.