“The 50-50-90 rule: anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there’s a 90% probability you’ll get it wrong.” ― Andy Rooney
I rarely have nightmares anymore. I don’t watch movies before going to bed. I’m careful to time my medicine. I pull my adventurous imagination back a couple of notches. And then, I don’t sleep that long. I’m blaming that on getting older. Typically, I can go a couple of hours before my body thinks we need to wake up and check the house for mysterious noises. But then, there are weeks like this one where it has rained every night, causing already problematic arthritis to go into hyperdrive, making it impossible to find a comfortable sleeping position for more than 15 minutes or so. The dark circles under my eyes are almost as black as my wardrobe. When one doesn’t sleep, one doesn’t have nightmares. A small consolation.
Then, there are the nine families in Charleston, South Carolina who are living a nightmare. Wednesday night was prayer meeting night. I remember what that was like. Every Wednesday, usually around 6:30 or 7:00 PM, the church doors would open and 15-20 people, on a good night, would trickle into the small sanctuary. We’d sing a song, Poppa would read a few verses of scripture, then would come the prayer requests. Every possible concern of the community would be raised, both personal and public. After about 30 minutes, they’d start praying, pray for another 30 minutes, then go home. Except, for these nine people, they didn’t go home. They were shot dead, right where they prayed, by someone who had sat through the whole service. A living nightmare in every possible sense.
When I opened this file and took another look, though, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the makeup work of Kelly Oswalt. Sara Williams is such a lovely little wisp of a thing in real life and Kelly did an amazing job of creating something a little more terrifying. Even without the accompanying “beauty” piece, this makes for an interesting and striking image. I also had to giggle a bit looking at this, as Sara is now eight-months-plus pregnant, about to deliver her first child any day now. Perhaps Sara can threaten the child when she gets older with something like, “This is what happens to mommy when you don’t take a nap.” Of course, then the baby would have nightmares, and that just doesn’t help anyone, does it?
I wish we lived in a world where all our nightmares were those derived from imagination. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. As long as there is hate there will be nightmares like that of Wednesday night. Such events do not happen in truly civilized societies. In fact, the United States is the only first world country where mass shootings such as this are an issue. Our nightmare has repeated itself far too many times and we fail to even bother looking for a reasonable solution for fear it might keep one person from carrying a gun or somehow diminish the shooter’s rights, despite the fact he’s trampling the rights of others to live peacefully.