Last night we were driving home from Aili’s dance class and we were listening to NPR. (My husband makes fun of me because I love Radio Reader and All Things Considered as much as, if not more than, his octogenarian patients from his clinical rounds.) They were running a piece on the tragic Sandy Hook school shooting that happened last year.
I turned the channel to a generic pop music station.
I raised an eyebrow at myself because I normally don’t shelter the kids from the news or current events even when they are scary or serious. So, I had to admit something to myself.
I am still mad and saddened to the core and supremely pissed off because no one else is anymore.
For a hot second after that terrible event, people talked about putting tighter controls on guns, making mental health services easier to access, making sure this never happened again. It was the one silver lining. Things could CHANGE. Our schools and our society could be safer and healthier!
But, instead they decided to put locks on school doors. A sign now stands in front of my sons’ elementary school that instructs you to look in to the camera above the door, press a buzzer,
and swear your loyalty to Dear Leader and state your name and business. The secretary will then buzz you in and you will go directly to the office for your sticker that informs everyone you aren’t packing heat and are just here to drop off the lunchbox your kid forgot on the kitchen counter this morning. This is normal now.
You know what else is the new normal? Lockdown Drills. My kids casually talk to each other about where their class hides during the drill. It’s normal to prepare for someone to come in to your school with guns blazing. Think about that for a moment.
Why is no one else hopping mad about this? Why is it okay for our children to know fear and terror in schools? This isn’t like a tornado drill for us. I get that they are very real for other places, but we don’t have tornadoes in this part of the country. Kids just giggle as they huddle under their desks because this isn’t real for them. But, lockdown IS. This HAPPENS in our schools. And it’s not like it’s just happened once. There have been 46 since 2010 in the US alone. 46! Instead of running offense to stop this from happening, we just tell our kids to hide in the supply closet when it does. Instead of monitoring our at-risk population and getting them the help they need, we bicker and let politicians (who have Cadillac health insurance plans, by the way) convince us we don’t deserve affordable health care. Instead of regulating gun sales and insisting gun owners be responsible and keep their weapons locked up (fact check me – one of the leading causes of death among young people is homicide or suicide with a firearm. Over 15,000 people -again, mostly young people- are injured every year in gun-related accidents.) we lock up our schools.
We don’t need teachers with guns or Big Brother guarding our doors. The school isn’t the problem! The kids aren’t the problem! We are putting a bandage on a skinned knee while ignoring the gaping head wound. We are shooting at a bullet-resistant vest instead of just unloading the gun.
So, yes. I turned away from the story. I am tired of this being real for my children. They should be learning and growing, not hiding and worrying. I am furious that this is how we decided to ignore the memory of the people who died in Sandy Hook Elementary. We can’t erase what happened, but we are smart! We can learn from it and grow. We can do what we tell our children to do when they make a mistake. We can do better next time with practice. We can prevent the mistake instead of get better at cleaning up the mess. Right now, we are being handed a mop to prepare for the next clean up. I am not willing to accept that. You shouldn’t accept it either.
If you are just as mad as I am and are looking to honor the vicitms of past shootings and prevent there from being MORE vicitms in the future, please visit Sandy Hook Promise.
And hug your kids every day.