Hometown Essay

Hometown Essay-42
You can’t go home again, I reminded myself as the bus glided across the last stretch of highway and entered the Yakima Valley.All around me was brown earth—the land yawning back to life, hills stretching with relief from the snow packs that weighed them down this long winter.

You can’t go home again, I reminded myself as the bus glided across the last stretch of highway and entered the Yakima Valley.

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I’ve been to all the food shops, including the Potbelly Sandwich restaurant where the gunman had gone immediately before the shooting.

The shooting made for a long work day, but afterward, I could drive home, dine on my wife Vickii’s chicken tortilla soup instead of ordering a late-night room service burger, and then sleep in my own bed — not in a hotel, or in a rental car, on a storm shelter floor, or in the back of an Army truck.

I confirmed that Cincinnati police were responding to an active shooter, turned up the local TV news, and began writing, assisted by AP reporters and editors in Ohio and across the country also gathering information about the breaking news.

Soon we learned the details of the latest mass shooting. He walked into the lobby of the Fifth Third Bank building at Fountain Square, the iconic heart of Cincinnati.

That’s where I walk many afternoons to get a break, stretch my legs, maybe get a snack, and mainly, just see what’s going on.

It could be a concert, dancers, sports on the giant screen, food trucks or T-shirt vendors.

Now my haunting memory is footage of the gunman, striding purposely through the lobby, his right arm held straight to aim and fire his 9 mm handgun over and over and over, not appearing to show any emotion as he pumped rounds into helpless strangers.

Police say they’re investigating the shooter’s motives.

In less than five minutes, the gunman was dead in a hail of bullets and shells fired by four police officers.

Omar Enrique Santa Perez had already killed three civilians and wounded two more, and when it was revealed he had 250 rounds of ammunition including extra-destructive hollow-point bullets, all anyone could say is that it could have been much, much worse.


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