I cannot stop thinking about Margaret Anderson. Or more accurately, I should say that I cannot stop thinking about her two children and her husband, all of whom must find a way to deal with the grief of losing her while in some way figuring out how to live their lives without her.


Margaret Anderson is the park ranger who was shot and killed on Sunday at Mount Rainier National Park. I did not know her. But as a former National Park Service (NPS) employee whose husband currently works as an NPS law enforcement ranger, I know many people who did. The NPS family — though spread all around the country — is small. And very connected. So while I did not have the pleasure of knowing Margaret Anderson, I feel her loss as a mother, as a wife, and as an NPS ranger.


On Sunday, instead of being a wife, a mother or an NPS ranger, Margaret Anderson became a statistic. She was the first law enforcement officer, from any agency, killed in the line of duty this year. (Sadly, another officer was also added to this figure on Sunday.) She is also 1 of 698 people already shot this year by guns in the United States. And it's only Jan. 3.


According to the NPS, Ranger Anderson had worked as a park ranger for 11 years. She has been married for the last six years to another park ranger who was also on duty at Mount Rainier at the time of her death. And she has two young children, ages 4 and 2 who now through the tragedy of circumstances must grow up without their mother.


Margaret Anderson, may you rest in peace.


For information about sending condolences to Anderson's family, contact:


Steve Shackelton, associate director for Visitor and Resource Protection


United States Department of the Interior - National Park Service
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

(202) 208-6843

Margaret Anderson: Wife, mother, ranger and tragic statistic
A memorial to the young NPS ranger who lost her life in the line of duty at Mount Rainier.