Welcome to the grim club, Dee Margo and Nan Whaley. We feel your heartache, just as we know it could be our own.
These two mayors, of El Paso and Dayton, respectively, did not foresee the way their weekends would go. They awoke Saturday to the workaday problems of running cities.
By the time Sunday morning came, they would welcome every zoning problem, every pothole complaint, every sewer backup, do it with smiles on their faces just to have a do-over, to wake up from the nightmare of dead citizens in public places.
Margo and Whaley would embrace never being mentioned among their mayoral confederates, like William Peduto of Pittsburgh and Christine Hunschofsky of Parkland and Buddy Dyer of Orlando and Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas.
All had to go before microphones and acknowledge that, yes, their cities had joined the sad roster of places where American mass shootings had taken place.
Such is the state of this mayhem, so prevalent have the shootings become, that a column like this lacks space for an inclusive membership register. There are just too many mayors.
But it goes with the gig, this trip before the cameras, the sorrow incalculable but the resolve complete. We have great people, strong people, giving people, each mayor will say, and together we will overcome this tragedy.
And somebody else has to take the next turn. Because there is always a next turn.
If all American mayors attended the same orientation, they would be instructed on this: Have your speech ready. You think you’ll never have to give it, but none of these other mayors thought that.
Run down the checklist and see about the possibilities.
Maybe our young people will be safe from these shootings in schools. Except they weren’t at Stoneman Douglas High and Sandy Hook Elementary, at Columbine and Virginia Tech.
Perhaps an entertainment venue will provide an escape from this trauma. That didn’t work out at the Las Vegas music festival or the Aurora movie theater or a week ago Sunday at the Gilroy Garlic Festival or early Sunday morning outside the Ned Peppers bar.
Surely, no gunman would violate a place of worship. Only they have, at First Baptist in Sutherland Springs and the Tree of Life synagogue and the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Truth be told, any place where people gather gets entered into this massacre lottery.
A big-box retailer. A municipal building. A military base. Nothing appears exempt.
No event of this sort has happened in St. Joseph, and the reason can be summed up in two words.
You might be excused for considering the city as exceptional. Folks should be true to their hometown.
But don’t fool yourself into thinking such a belief provides a collective Kevlar, a shield against the badness playing out elsewhere.
No, these horrors haven’t happened here simply because they haven’t.
We have schools and churches and crowded stores and music festivals.
As Missourians, we also have no laws restricting high-capacity magazines like those used to murderous volumes in Dayton and El Paso. We have no red flag law that would allow a court to remove weapons from the hands of a person proven to be a danger.
We have had luck on our side. So far.
Dots on an American map show the sites of mass shootings, pushpins of misfortune. Not one place wanted this distinction. Not one mayor wanted to comment on this despair.
After the weekend, no American believes this will be the last of our grief.