"We Looked Over Our Shoulders And Learned To Run"
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Jim Reese
Josh Haiar

We have a lot to talk about behind the scenes on the "In the Moment" team, and every day seems to offer a fresh angle, a new connundrum.

The days after a mass shooting are no different. We never try to find a "South Dakota connection" simply to have a reason to run with a story. It's simply not what we do. We mostly focus on the question "How do we move this conversation forward?" After weekend mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, we found ourselves huddled around a counter in our office, talking as a team about everything from violent video games to concealed carry legislation to the nuances of community and isolation.

In that moment, we bonded as a community of our own around that counter, and we hope our community will help yours by bringing you thoughtful conversations about topics that are tough to talk about. Tough, but not impossible.

Today we featured author Jim Reese on "In the Moment" as part of an ongoing series we're calling the "Brown Bag Book Club." He read from "Bone Chalk," his forthcoming book of essays. One of the excerpts was about crime in the hometown of his youth, how it shattered innocence and changed how people saw one another.

Here are a few snippets from his extended essay on the violence that stained his childhood: 

"We all reinvented worrying."

"We looked over our shoulders and learned to run ..."

"These were the war zones of my home."

Sound familiar?

As children of the 80s were coming of age with fresh knowledge of crime and evil, often as personal as a face on a milk carton, children today are coming of age amidst a new violence, often as impersonal as sprayed bullets and long lists of victims.

As far as we know, Jim Reese had no intention of commenting on mass shootings when he read today from "Bone Chalk." But we couldn't help standing in awe at the relevance of what he read all the same.

As America grapples for solutions to acts of mass violence, may we offer the words of a South Dakota author who has been looking deep into the world of crime and punishment for a long time, hoping to find a glimmer of hope for lasting solutions, trying to scratch out a few words that resonate as people worry and grieve or look over their shoulders and prepare to run.