Today, I write with a broken heart. Today, my life is the same. I am one of the very lucky ones, but 17 more families are dealing with senseless death, yet again.
Up until now, I have made a point to protect my children from news stories like this one. This morning, the news was on, and my kids heard it. As we got in the car to drive to school my 9 year old son announced... "Mom, there was another school shooting yesterday. 17 dead and 14 injured." I sat there a little stunned, he just said it, very matter-of-factly. I responded with deep sadness. The conversation continued and the kids started talking about lockdown drills at school. My son explained what they practice, and why. My 6 year old daughter asked, "Mommy, what if I'm in the bathroom when the shooter comes?" My heart sank. My son quickly responded, "You find the closest classroom and go inside as fast as you can." " But what if the doors are locked?" I didn't really know how to answer, I said "find an adult, if you can't then you hide, or you run and find a safe place." I felt comforted that my son knew what to do, and I felt a deep sadness that this is the reality of my children's lives. When they enter school, they are potentially at risk. They are at risk of death...in school...that is absolutely unacceptable.
This conversation put me over the edge. My children are walking into school today with fear, and uncertainty. I am sending my children to school and I am scared and uncertain. This is NOT OK. I am not ok with the fact that we have had 18 school shootings in 2018 alone. In the first 45 days of 2018, there have been 18 school shootings. We are in the 7th week of 2018, and there have been 18 school shootings. No matter how you look at it, this is absolutely insane. This is unacceptable. My husband is a teacher. My mother is a teacher. My cousin is a teacher. My friends are teachers. I send my two children to school every day. This is a very real and personal issue for me. This is MY reality. It doesn't matter that these shootings happen to other families. It doesn't matter that I don't know any of them personally. I will not sit here and wait for this to happen to us. I will not. And I mourn with these families, and my heart aches for them.
I will be the first to admit that I do not fully understand the need for civilians to carry guns. At all. I realize this is extreme thinking and I appreciate that gun ownership is important to many people. But, I am a person that does not feel safe in the presence of guns. I have no experience with guns, I've never shot one, I've never held one. Guns have never been a part of my life. When a police officer gets on the subway with a visible weapon, I feel unsafe. I want to get off the train and away from the gun. I do not want a civilian to carry a weapon into the grocery store and feel like they are protecting me. I do not feel safer with you and your weapon. I feel less safe. That being said, I know that everyone can't possibly feel this way. I understand and appreciate that it is important to some to be able to own and protect themselves and their families with a weapon. I'm willing to have a discussion about how we can coexist and make this country a place where we both feel safe. I do NOT understand the need for ANY civilian to own a semi-automatic weapon. Why? Why is it not a simple NO? Can we just start there? Can we agree on this?
I will, from this day forward, do whatever I can to encourage and create change. I don't know how, but I will find out, and I will be fully active in my efforts to create change and advocate for better gun laws. This senator from Conneticut speaks words of truth. We are the ONLY country with this insane epidemic of mass shootings. We have plenty of opportunities to learn from other countries that do a better job of keeping their children and their citizens safe from gun violence.
I ask our President to please speak. Not with your thumbs sir, not behind the glowing screen of your smart phone. Speak to the country, the families, the parents. Speak to us and be a HUMAN. Please do not tweet and tell us that we need to do a better job of reporting someone to the authorities who shows signs of violence. It seems VERY clear that there were plenty of people, including law enforcement, that had knowledge of this person being unstable, and absolutely nothing was done to prevent him from devastating 17 families with these unnecessary and preventable deaths. So Mr. President, get off your phone and get something done. I beg you to care about my children, and all children, and do SOMETHING to protect them from this horrific reality that they face.
I will not forget this tomorrow, and I hope you won't either. I will remember how I feel today, even when the news fades from view. There will still be countless families mourning the senseless deaths of their loved ones. And I will still be in fear of the next victims of this insanity. America, as divided as we are, we must learn to come together and make real change. We can NOT wait any longer.