April 12, 1989- violence comes to Sonoma

This is going to be a more serious, off the operating room topic than I usually do. But with the increase of mass shootings and violence in the news and around the country lately, it has been on my mind. A lot.

I am not sure what has led to the rise of the gun violence in our schools. I have theories.

It brought to mind April 12, 1989, and the violence that shook the small California town I spent some growing up in.

This was not in a school.

This was not guns.

But it was shocking.

And still very much part of my growing up experience.

In the morning, Ramon Salcido took his three young daughters to a quarry that was near the town. And slit their throats. And left them to die. Two of them died; the third survived and was alone with her sisters’ bodies for 36 hours. Until she was discovered and saved.

Next he went to his mother-in-law’s house and killed her and two of her daughters.

And then his wife.

And then his supervisor.

And the town locked itself up tight.

There were news bulletins. The adults talked about the deaths in hushed tones and wouldn’t let their children play outside.

I remember the empty streets.

And, oddly, the empty driveways.

I remember not being allowed to ride my bike.

I remember talking about it in school.

I remember the fear in the town.

It was April and 65 degrees. I remember it being hotter. But that might have been the breathless anticipation of the town as he was searched for and later apprehended in Mexico.

I was 13 and an eighth grader.

It has been 33 years.

And still all of my friends and my sisters remember the day that violence came to Sonoma.

We didn’t live near their neighborhood. We didn’t go to the same schools as the daughters were too young for school. But we were still impacted.

I find it hard to imagine what the other children at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas must be going through. I hope that life will be kind to them. Because they will remember forever when their classmates and teachers were killed. And the aftermath.

Because I remember when senseless violence came to Sonoma.

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