Tentacles are extensions of the host. In murky water, a squid's tentacle snag prey before the victim sees the predator's mouth. Uvalde has tentacles.
If child and teacher deaths took place at the mouth, 911 operators are caught in a tentacle. Through murky waters of grief, emergency services continue working. A "Due to the Uvalde shooting, we are unable to take your 911 calls for service," recording may not sit well with tax paying citizens. While Robb School occupants were being decimated, 911 operators were expected to cooly purr their greetings as if just emerging from a bath. While you read, they're still taking calls for domestic violence, cats in trees and neighbors with loud music. They had to listen to the chaos all day and night. How much more anxiety is produced when 911 is called and no one picks up? Dispatchers are caught in a tentacle.
Spouses are caught in a tentacle. Nightly news interviews will stop long before grief's grip slackens. A husband has already died of a broken heart. Partners of educators and school resource officers are negotiating hypervigilence and renewed sidearm toting. If a husband wants to carry a weapon to defend his family but does not have time to train with the weapon he's carrying, do loved ones feel more or less safe? A natural response to Uvalde is to make sure we can do whatever we can to prevent the same where we live. Citizens have quietly started carrying a gun this week because they're caught in Uvalde's tentacle.
Every predator understands the strategic value of isolation. The devil knows that if he can separate you from the voices of your support community, he can surround you with the sounds of the world and the flesh. God put us in communities of faith for our protection. There is strength in numbers. ~ Patrick Morley (The Four Voices, pg 162)
Hospital workers are caught in a tentacle. Wounds from assault rifles may be the size of a bullet upon entry, but they're often the size of bowling balls when they exit the body. Moaning children squirm under the care of wound technicians. Wounds make noises when cleaned and unhearing the noise is not an option. If you've prepared chicken or turkey, the creamy suction of flesh might help you imagine, but little things can trigger a worker: smells, colors, textures. Care givers may have never seen the elementary school but in the murky aftermath, a tentacle is fumbles for them.
In an aftermath, there's a cleanup. Bone, skin, muscle and blood have to be removed by a hazardous materials team. Whoever gets the contract is still watching cable news with the rest of us. When the front line workers do suit up and go in to reclaim infrastructure, there may not be as many cameras. Laborers sweating in protective gear, doing the best they can for pay and posterity, may not be a lead story. Who cleaned Sandy Hook? Who cleaned Columbine, Oxford or Olathe East? The workers in the schools are anonymously gasping in a murderous tentacle.
Police records technicians are not supposed to gasp when they see investigators' photos or view body camera footage. They're supposed to dispassionately transcribe audio files for court proceedings. Indifferently cataloging shell casings, the body armor and rifles used to murder is a part of the job. In a cubicle, in a cinder block building, perhaps next to a window, evidence is being organized. Few understand the pressures of the job because of the many hoops to clear before being hired. When no one understands, we can feel alone. Writhing in a tentacle's coil is a lonely feeling.
There is blood in the water; spilled at Uvalde. We are floating in the murk and tentacles hunt. May the Lord Jesus protect from the predator's snare.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most Highwill rest in the shadow of the Almighty.I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,my God, in whom I trust.”Surely he will save youfrom the fowler’s snareand from the deadly pestilence.He will cover you with his feathers,and under his wings you will find refuge;his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.You will not fear the terror of night,nor the arrow that flies by day,nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,nor the plague that destroys at midday.A thousand may fall at your side,ten thousand at your right hand,but it will not come near you.You will only observe with your eyesand see the punishment of the wicked.If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”and you make the Most High your dwelling,no harm will overtake you,no disaster will come near your tent.For he will command his angels concerning youto guard you in all your ways;they will lift you up in their hands,so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.You will tread on the lion and the cobra;you will trample the great lion and the serpent.“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.He will call on me, and I will answer him;I will be with him in trouble,I will deliver him and honor him.With long life I will satisfy himand show him my salvation.” ~ Psalm 91