Ethics by Elizabeth Slick

For anyone affected by the Colorado shooting or the UNC shooting. And especially in memory of Kendrick Castillo and Riley Howell.

Today I died. I have no qualms about it, I sacrificed myself. That sounds awful, let me back up a bit. You know that ethical question where you could die and save a million people, or you could live while millions die? That was never even a question in my mind.  Why would I let people suffer for me? Don’t get me wrong, I always imagined getting 150 years old with my beautiful wife beside me, my great-grandkids all around me, talking about how I walked 5 miles uphill both ways going to school. But I guess that just wasn’t in the cards for me, so I hope it is for you.

What no one tells you about sacrificing yourself is how no matter what, those millions of people are still going to suffer. No one talks about survivor’s guilt in that ethical question. But if you are reading this, know that I love you, and I wished more than anything in that moment to keep you happy, alive, and safe.

Today I saw a gun. The man behind it aimed it at my head. I tackled him to put him off guard. I tackled him to give you time to run. I tackled him so you would survive. All I remember is a bang and I woke up here. I woke up looking down at you, crying not because I was dead, but because the rest of you survived.

I feel a hand on my shoulder. Looking over, I see an incredibly old man I haven’t seen in years. “Granddad? Is that you?”

“I’m so proud of the man that you have become.”

“But…. How? You are dead?”

“So are you. This is where we go. Don’t be afraid, there are a lot of people who want to see you.”

I begin to walk, holding my grandfather’s hand. Suddenly, I see the ocean of people in front of me. They are your relatives. They all come up to me and thank me for my service. They tell me how much I mean to them, how I will always be a member of their family. They remind me that I am a blessing on this Earth, and that now is the time to rest.

If you are reading this note down on Earth, know that I don’t regret a thing. And then your first dog Rosco is in good hands. Thank you for the years I had, and don’t even think about seeing me soon. You all will accomplish incredible things, and I will always have a front row seat to watch. Remember you are never alone, I will always be in your corner. Never give up.

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