Jessica Ghawi, who was killed early Friday at the Aurora theater shooting, was a sportscaster, a native Texan, and an eloquent writer. And she also appears to have presciently foreseen her own death via social media while reflecting on a June 2nd Toronto shooting that almost cost her her life.
Twenty-four-year-old Ghawi wrote under the pen name "Redfield" on her Twitter feed and her blog. Judging from her posts, she appeared to be an exuberant social media fan, as might befit an aspirant sportscaster.
Her Twitter account is the stuff of a creative young woman's day-to-day-life: according to her Twitter account, she had recently moved out of her first Colorado apartment. She was excited about her work with Denver sports station 104.3 "The Fan." She was especially passionate about hockey. She happily described herself as a "Redheaded Texan spitfire."
Social media allowed the public to read through the last moments of Ghawi's young life. Her July 19th Twitter posts - which end directly before her death - express excitement about the Dark Knight premier, and what appears to be reasonable irritation about the 20-minute long wait before the movie. It's typical fare for a young cellphone toting Millenial.
But Ghawi was also a journalist, and she live-tweeted the June 2nd Eaton Centre shootings in Toronto, where two died and six were struck by bullets.
Ghawi and a friend had entered the food court to look for sushi, and had left to eat at the other side of the mall just prior to the beginning of the violence, according to her Twitter account:
@RampageNate thanks. it happened in the food court right where we almost ate but decided last minute to eat at the other side...crazy— Jessica Redfield (@JessicaRedfield) June 3, 2012
Ghawi remained at the scene, and tweeted the official response. It's a terse, at times emotional account of a horrifying act - and an act that appeared to have, understandably, troubled her:
Just saw a young boy, maybe young teen, rushed out on a stretcher. Face covered. Shirt off. How could someone do this— Jessica Redfield (@JessicaRedfield) June 2, 2012
Thanks for the well wishes. Hoping the victims are ok. You never know when and where it's your time. Really freaked out by this.— Jessica Redfield (@JessicaRedfield) June 3, 2012
On Twitter after the June 2nd incident, she appeared shaken - and found it hard to understand how such a random act of violence could happen.
@_honeygirl thanks. Wasn't something I could have ever imagined experiencing. Hoping the people we saw wheeled out pull through. So scary— Jessica Redfield (@JessicaRedfield) June 3, 2012
But Ghawi's social media life, as the public discovered Friday, went beyond Twitter. Like so many in her generational ilk, she was also a blogger.
In a disturbingly prescient post at her personal website, "A Run On of Thoughts," Ghawi wrote about the close call in a longer format, describing panic, blood, and her own distress over the incident.
"I can’t get this odd feeling out of my chest. This empty, almost sickening feeling won’t go away. I noticed this feeling when I was in the Eaton Center in Toronto just seconds before someone opened fire in the food court."
She describes the bullet holes in the victim's side, how it was "not like the movies." She said she "never imagined I'd experience a violent crime firsthand."
Ghawi also speculated on the fragility of life:
"I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening."
And then Ghawi concluded that "every moment we have to live our life is a blessing," that she felt she now truly understood "how blessed I am for each second I am given."
Finally, as Ghawi watched EMTs tend to victims, as she relates in her blog, these were her thoughts:
"I felt nauseas. Who would go into a mall full of thousands of innocent people and open fire? Is this really the world we live in?"
Apparently, it is.