(Top: Claire, 17 year old senior at Arapahoe high school. Bottom: Arapahoe community coming together at a candle light vigil in honor of Claire) 

This is Claire and as you may have or may have heard, Colorado was struck with yet another terrible tragedy on Friday. A high school in my town was shot up by another student. The gun man went into Arapahoe high school Friday afternoon with the intentions of killing a teacher who he had gotten into an argument with. He carried many weapons and fired multiple shots before eventually taking his own life at the scene. Claire was a victim at the school. The gunman had no intentions of killing her, she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Claire got shot in the head during the open fire. She had no time to react or move before seeing the gunman. She was immediately taken to the hospital and into surgery Friday afternoon however she is still in critical condition and suffering severe head trauma. Claire is the most humble and innocent girl a person could meet. She loves to ride horses, and loves One Direction. The past couple days our strong Colorado community has come together to support Claire and her family along with the many other Arapahoe families. Claire is fighting for her life and Colorado is fighting with her. Help us in supporting Claire by tweeting the hashtag #PrayforClaire and #get1Dtoclaire it only takes 2 seconds, it would mean the world to her and her family. Please please keep Claire and the rest of our Arapahoe community in your thoughts and prayers.

The “good guy, bad guy” argument needs to stop. There is no such thing. Two summers ago, an excellent student with no criminal record walked right into a movie theater and shot and killed twelve people, injuring 70 more, half an hour away from my house. I was out that night at a different theater, watching that same movie. Today a retired police officer shot and killed a man in a movie theater in Florida because of an argument about texting during a movie. Pro-gun rhetoric squeezes all it can out of the word “training,” and the idea that a Good Guy gunman could have helped these situations. Naturally two guns in the same crowded room makes us feel safer than just one, right? Wouldn’t it just have been better if both men had shot each other? That’s justice, right?

To make it a little clearer, let’s grant the fabulous future of Trained Good Guy Gunmen popping out of every cupboard, just for the sake of argument. In this ideal world, one day you go to the grocery store. You’re browsing cereals without a care in the world, when all of a sudden you hear gunshots from the checkout lines. You pull out your gun and your Training and move toward the sound. Surprise! Everyone else had the same idea, and they’re all shooting at one another. Good thing your Training taught you to… recognize Bad Guys? Clearly everyone else has had the same training, so you should all be shooting at the right person. Wait, no, that’s not it. Training taught you how to shoot people. Are you nervous? Probably not reading this. You may still be thinking about cereal. “I wouldn’t be nervous,” you say. “THAT’s what training is for.”

The same summer as the shooting, my family happened to be at my grandmother’s house for brunch at about ten o'clock on a Saturday morning. Halfway through the meal we heard some noises by the front door, and my grandmother went to see what it was. Within a few seconds, she was shouting for us to call 911, and my little sister got up from the table just in time to see a man hit my grandmother over the head with a pipe and run out of the house. I have had self-defense training. I watch plenty of movies. I’m an admittedly neurotic person sometimes when it comes to defending the people I love. Until that day I had, every day, grounded some of my peace of mind in being sure that I could react the right way in unexpected situations, so here’s another moment when I want to be abundantly clear: I feel no shame in having panicked in a horrifying and unexpected situation. I feel regret; I feel pain; I still get overwhelming rushes of fear and adrenaline thinking about that day, and I get up almost every night to check noises that I hear. It’s probably some form of PTSD. I do not feel shame, because this situation happens to everyone. If you are so sure you think you know how you will react when you’re unexpectedly threatened, you are tragically wrong, and it’s something you just have to accept. My grandmother is now fine, and the police caught the man later that day. I don’t wish I had had a gun.

Forgive the language, but the thought that you need a gun to defend yourself as a Good Guy against a Bad Guy is bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. After the Florida theater shooting, apologists argued that the incident proved that the retired police officer had no business owning a firearm, and that it was not the firearm’s fault.
If the sign that someone shouldn’t own a gun is the thoughtless killing of ordinary unarmed people, what is an ordinary unarmed person like me to do about it? What about children?

Is the value of my entire life, or the life of your child, your parent, your sibling, your lover, your friend, really worth the “test” to see whether or not any random person should own machines designed specifically to kill human beings?

“It’s not the gun’s fault” is laughable. Did you raise the stupid thing from a little gun-puppy? Do you sing it to sleep? Does it have sensitive feelings that are hurt by all those nasty gun-control people? Give it a rest. Newsflash: everyone KNOWS guns aren’t sentient. When it comes down to it, gun designers have one thing in mind, and that’s murder. Efficient murder. Efficient, easy murder. Ideally, that’s the murder of the guy breaking into your house. It also happens to be the kind of murder anybody can just walk into a movie theater and perform on anybody’s father.

Here’s my take on guns. As an ordinary citizen taking a walk, when you choose to carry a gun with you, you’re also carrying five degrees of premeditated violence that any other ordinary citizen does not have. First, you get a license and carry permit for your gun – you want have it and be ready to use it. That’s one degree of premeditated violence. Then you buy it. That’s two degrees of premeditated violence. You also buy bullets to load in the gun – the gun won’t work otherwise. That’s three degrees. On any given day, you choose to load the bullets into the gun – the gun won’t be ready to do what it does if you haven’t. Four degrees. You decide to take it with you when you go on your walk – what if you happen to need your gun to do what it does? At the absolute bare minimum, that’s five separate times you’ve been motivated to be ready to do something violent. I certainly don’t have that readiness. Should I?

You are not the Good Guy or the Bad Guy. Neither am I. We are both human beings, and neither of us should be ready to kill.

Guys keep Colorado in your prayers please <3

there have been many evacuations all around Colorado due to the high amounts of rain we have been getting in the last three days. We have received more rain in the last three days then we have received all year Because of this there have been many flash floods, some of which have been deadly. Many towns have been evacuated and will continue being evacuated as more roads are being destroyed and more dams are failing. So please keep us in your prayers.

A photo I took yesterday of the Black Forest Fire in Colorado, around 4:45pm, as we were put on standby notice for pre-evacuation due to our having 10 horses on property.
This morning, we are off of standby. the fire moved south overnight. We are slightly north of it, and I could see the orange glow in the night as I struggled to sleep. We, here in my little haven, are unbelievably lucky.

To put this in perspective… As of today, the fire has burned over 8,000 acres, and is 0% contained. An estimated 100 homes have burned to the ground, with another thousand threatened. 7,358 people have been evacuated. There are 155 firefighters on site, struggling to maintain fire lines with the high winds, scorching heat, and humidity levels under 5%. There are 48 helicopters actively dropping fire-retardant slurry and water throughout the site. National Guard relief teams are being called in, and ground equipment from Ft. Carson is on it’s way. Since Black Forest has no fire hydrant system, the trucks are being forced to refill their water tanks from large cargo tankers outside of the fire lines, costing responders precious minutes…
A call to the Governor has been placed, asking for strike teams to be sent to help contain parts of the blaze, but, sadly, there are 3 other wildfires burning in the state, the next largest being about ½ the size, burning at the Royal Gorge, west of Cañon City. No one wants to admit it, but state recourses are stretched thin.

My heart is breaking. If the fire had moved even a few miles north, we would not be here… But that doesn’t matter. Black Forest is considered part of my home. I, like so many others, have memories there. And… It’s gone. Burned. Ash.
Yet, there are no reports of missing persons, or fire-related injuries. That is the blessing. That is God at work.

We are Colorado. We will rebuild. We will pull together and give. We will carry each other and look to the Rocky Mountains with the same wonder we did before.

God bless those responders…
If you are out of our state and reading this, please pray for us. Pray for those firefighters. Pray, against all odds, for rain.