Jeff Pearlman

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Please try this …

Sabika Sheikh: An exchange student from Pakistan who died today

Sabika Sheikh: An exchange student from Pakistan who died today

Do me a favor and try this.

Think of a person you love more than life itself. This is preferably someone under the age of, oh, 20. But it doesn’t have to be. Just picture someone in your head who you absolutely, positively live for; someone you would willingly die for. Picture his (or her) hair, smile, nose. Picture the sound of laughter. Picture the smell. Coming out of the bath. Cuddling at night with a book. Picture the greatest of greatest of great moments. The first birthday party. The high school graduation. Driver’s license. First date. First kiss. Try and remember all the stages of your time together.

Please. Close your eyes and commit to the above. Give it five or six minutes.

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That person is dead.

You found out earlier today. An unhinged teenager entered your loved one’s school and fired a bunch of rounds. You first heard on the news. Then you rushed to the scene. Then the police pulled you aside. You cried and cried and cried as you fell into the officer’s arms.

And now … you are here. You are all alone. And the person you would die for—is gone. Forever. You can’t even grasp that in your head. This morning, he existed. And now he doesn’t, and never will again. He is no more alive than the table and the wallpaper, and thought your faith has always been strong, you’re no longer so sure.

You can’t stop shaking and crying. You want to stab yourself. You need to scream and punch. You don’t understand how this happened; you don’t know how to ever go on. You are falling into a deep hole with no bottom. You have gone into your loved one’s room, to smell the clothing; to pick strands of hair from this morning’s brush. You place your mouth against his toothbrush. You smell his jar of cologne. The room feels so normal, and you know it isn’t. Your cherished comrade is no longer of this earth.

That person is dead.

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This is not a pro-gun or anti-NRA post. This is a, “Place yourself in the mindset to ask whether we’re doing enough about gun violence in America post.”

Don’t think of his as an issue; a political chess piece.

Think of the parents in Texas at this moment.

Think of their lives.

Of it all crashing down.

What should we do?

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life