“An August Day in Austin” Poem by Lou Taylor:
White hot August day
Scorching even for Texas
Summer School offers respite from the inferno
Newlyweds – we are learning
To share a life
I’ll meet you at the car at noon
Let’s not make anyone wait
In this heat
Be there at noon sharp
The door of the Experimental Science
building is blocked by
Cowering in the hallway,
listening to radio
Reports of carnage outside
The back door offers escape
to the parking lot – mustn’t be late
Soft pop pop pop of ricocheting bullets
Make me seek refuge in the cool hallway
Separate me from that August day
Gone is the blink of an eye
It all began with the shooting from the University of Texas tower in August of 1966. It was the first time a person opened fire on a campus and began indiscriminately killing people.
Nowadays, the names of American schools with multiple murders go by in a blur. Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Red Lake, Nickel Mines, Northern Illinois, West Paducah, Craighead County, Santee, and on and on. The list of campuses including universities, elementary schools, and business colleges with active shooters firing multiple shots exceeds 150.
And so it’s this month of August we remember this tragedy and those that followed. We remember the lessons learned. A website for Alamo College instructs students and staff to think, plan, and prepare in order to survive an active shooter. A video, “Surviving an Active Shooter Event,” is worth watching. Run if you can, hide if you can’t get away, fight only if you must.
Get help for anyone who is thinking of harming himself or others. Know what to do in case of an active shooter. Have a safe semester.
Lou Taylor is a native Texan who began writing poetry late in life. She has worked for the Episcopal Church in Louisiana and Texas. Currently she serves as Executive Director of Voices de la Luna: A Quarterly Poetry and Arts Magazine. She lives in San Antonio and has two grown sons and three grandsons.
*Featured/top image: The University of Texas tower. Photo by Flickr user Derek Key.