We were in Buena Vista over Memorial Day Weekend on the first warm day of the year as a party of six –
– four senior adult people, two couples, and our friends’ two dogs. The older dog was a senior chocolate
lab and the other a young black lab and pointer mix. We were all respectfully friendly with the young
and older hikers we met on the trails. They were all extraordinarily outgoing and welcoming to us. It
was remarkable to me, a Canadian living in British Columbia. I admired the outgoing energy of these
beautiful people in their late afternoon activity.
When we all reached the parking lot below, a boy of 8 or 9 was standing near our vehicle holding a
white and red toy assault weapon. He was watching us. He wore an unattractive grin on his face. We
saw the boy raise his plastic AR-15 toy to his shoulder. He fired at the adults first – streams of red light
which landed on us one after the other in a rush. Then he shot the dogs.
I looked around to see if there was a second toy shooter in sight. If there was a second shooter I
couldn’t see him. Perhaps his brother was out of sight. I saw a group of people who might have been
the boy’s parents. I thought of going and speaking with them but instantly knew that would not be the
appropriate thing to do.
Instead, I am writing this piece and thinking of how like the 18 or 19 year old shooters of real AR-15
grown ups’ assault weapons we see in TV footage these days move like this 8 or 9 year old boy.
Auden’s tribute to Herman Melville says:
Evil is unspectacular and always human,
and shares our bed and eats at our table.
I hope that the boy we saw that sunny day will have some experience which will make him want to
work towards peace. I hope he meets people with fire in their hearts about peace. Perhaps peace will
come to him on the wind in the mystery of love.
See my poem titled ‘Peace’ in English and ‘Paz’ in Spanish on pages 80 and 81 in Poems~Poemas.