We must be naive no more ...
That could have been High Street

By Donna Glanzman

It’s over!  Our years of innocence. . . our faith that we are a nation apart from the senseless slaughters seen across the world.  We have been violated and we will never be the same again.  And it didn’t happen in New York or Los Angeles or Miami.  It happened in the midst of people who are the “salt of the earth,” those who choose to live quietly in the peace of Oklahoma City.  Which makes their—and our—nightmare even more appalling.

I guess all of us in America see ourselves atop an impenetrable pedestal.  No matter what our income or social status or age or race or religious beliefs, we are Americans.  We can disagree with our government; we can argue about our justice system, our schools, our right to bear arms.  We can work and live and travel virtually whenever we please.  And we will be safe.

We are above the insanity of a world that blows up babies and schools and homes and work places just to make a political point.  No more.  We have been literally blasted into the madness by a sick act, and it is frightening.

For each of us the feeling is different.  Seven years ago, I accepted a job at a hospital in Oklahoma City, bought a home in Edmond and enrolled my daughters in the schools there.  An unexpected change in plans brought me to Columbus that year instead. 

I think of us here in Columbus and I find myself seeing vivid comparisons with the horrified Oklahoma City residents.  Until Wednesday, April 19, 1995, we were safe because we chose a community where our lives feel controllable, where we can watch the world in the security of our middle American lifestyles.

Will we now look at everyone and everything differently?  Will we live in fear, or will we come together as a community, as a nation with that strength born of outrage?  Won’t our truly American spirit rise up out of the ashes of that federal building in Oklahoma City and say, “We are Americans!  You will not do this to us!  We are a family that will not allow you to terrorize us like you have the rest of the Earth.”

I believe we will never really be the same.  But, I believe—as I look at those I love and at this wonderful community—I do believe we must be naïve no more.  It could have been High Street seen ’round the world.  We pray for those we have probably never met, in a city very much our mirror image, in a country we must keep safe.

Let us all be not weakened and cowered by this act, but strengthened.  Those who died in Oklahoma City will then not have died in vain.