1/20

9:05 a.m. The phone’s blaring rings wake the peacefully dreaming occupants of a picturesque house nestled in a small suburb in north Georgia.

9:10 a.m. The shrieks of the Schroff family fill the vacant halls of their home.

9:13 a.m. The youngest daughter Siya drudges down the stairs to discover the source of the raucous that has awoken her from her blissful Friday morning.

9:16 a.m. Her mother is struggling for the words to explain what has happened. How does she explain why Siya’s father is never coming home?

9:20 a.m. Siya Schroff clutches onto her mother for comfort, but there is no comfort to be given. The tears run down her tan cheeks in a continuous stream. She begs herself to stop, but she can’t. Her father is dead. Shot in the head. He had decided to stop by a bakery to pick up a treat for himself. He never did anything just for himself. He had purchased his croissant. It was hot and freshly buttered. He had just torn of a piece and plopped it into his mouth when a man walked in eager to practice his twisted sense of justice. After using words, Siya didn’t understand, he shot her father. “The Muslim deserved to die,” he had said while standing over her father’s body.

9:27 a.m. “But we aren’t Muslim,” Siya protests through her tears. Her mother respondes, “It doesn’t matter. We’re all the same to them.”

9:32 a.m. Her mother’s words still echoed through her ears. They were all the same. They were all enemies to those filled with hate.

9:45 a.m. Family and friends from nearby begin to pour into the house. Condolences are given. Tears are shed. No one is okay. No one can understand what has happened.

9:53 a.m. Siya is sitting in the lap of her grandfather, who is at a loss for words. Parents are not meant to outlive their children, yet there he was. His son was gone and would never come back.

9:59 a.m. The fear in the atmosphere cannot be quelled. America had once opened her doors for people like them. She had embraced them and given them an opportunity to rise. Now she could only weep as she watched her children burn in the fires of ignorance.

10:05 a.m. It had been an hour since the Schroffs had received the news. It had been an hour since their lives had been changed for the worse. It had been an hour since they knew what America thought of them.

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