How Do We Keep Explaining School Shootings and Why Nothing Changes to Our Kids?
This morning there were cops outside our school so that kids and parents would feel safer separating at drop off. I think I’m still in a place where I believe it couldn’t happen to our community. I mean, how else do you send your kids to school if you let yourself believe otherwise? The fear would be paralyzing.
Last night, after Harlow was asleep, I talked to Mazzy about the shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. I gave her broad strokes. 19 kids, two adults including a teacher. I didn’t give her a lot of details. I didn’t really have them at that point, but I also didn’t really want her visualizing the event. What the classrooms must have looked like, what the teacher was thinking when she gave her own life to protect her students, what the parents felt as they waited to see if their own kids survived. I didn’t want those thoughts and images running through her head like they’ve been running through mine since earlier that afternoon.
I watched Mazzy absorb the news, be saddened by it, but not shocked. After all, she’s been doing active shooter drills at school since kindergarten. Back when they thought they were protecting themselves from a robber or a wild animal. Now they know. School shootings are not a new concept for our kids. I even remember back in 2018 when her grade participated in the National School Walkout, how proud I was of Mazzy and her friends, who all stood up, walked out and demanded gun control that morning. That was after the school shooting in Parkland. 17 people were killed by a 19-year-old with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle.
I remember after Sandy Hook (26 people killed, 20 of them children), along with the shock and horror, there was actually some hope that NOW someone would have to do something. Congress would band together to protect our kids. Laws would change. Better background checks. Ban assault weapons. Mandate gun safety training. Initiate a buyback program.
But they did nothing. At least on the federal level. To date, only two states have banned assault weapons. New York and California.
Did you know that, according to the NY Times, more preschoolers were killed with a firearm last year than cops? Or that only 1.6% of deaths by firearm were victims killing perpetrators in self defense? And yet here we are protecting gun rights and fetuses. As if those two things are more important than the living children who we are bringing up in a world where they can’t even feel safe at school.
It makes no sense.
I listened to Biden last night ask when government was going to have the courage to stand up to the gun lobby. I don’t get it. He’s the President. How has the system become so rigged that he has no real power to put us back on the right track? How are abortion rights and gun control two things that the majority of people in this country stand behind, yet the laws are currently heading further away from what we know the people want? How is that democracy?
I know I am preaching to the choir here. But I have to ask, if there are any pro-life people amongst us, who would like more restrictions around guns, how do you decide which issue is more important and who to give your vote? Because when you tell me that you think abortion is murder, I believe you, even though I don’t agree with you. So I believe that you think protecting life is your top priority and that’s the issue that will sway you, every time. But, from my standpoint, the positions of the Republicans currently in power are incredibly hypocritical. They pretend to care about life so much that they include the unborn, while also clinging to their gun rights regardless of the innocent lives lost. We know that guns kill way more innocent people than they protect. That they are way more likely to be used in a suicide or a homicide than in self defense. So, how do you rationalize this discrepancy in your head when you cast your vote?
I will also say this. I don’t get the people who cling to the words of the bible or the constitution, documents written for a very different world than we are currently living in, and refuse to accept that MAYBE, just maybe, everything has to be adapted and reformed for modern day. You think the founding fathers could have envisioned social media and 3D printing and the power of an AR-15? And even if we are to accept the constitution as gospel, just like with the bible, the wording is very much up for interpretation. The second amendment says:
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Tell me where this says that I, an individual civilian, have the right to open carry a personal machine gun that can obliterate multiple people at once?
Back in 2015, George Abbott, the Governor or Texas, tweeted that he was embarrassed that Texas was #2 in new gun purchases. Embarrassed. He linked to an article that reported Texans buying over one million guns that year and apparently, it wasn’t enough. “Let’s pick up the pace Texans,” he tweeted.
What the actual fuck. The Republicans have lost their minds. FULL STOP.
And just to be clear, I would ban all guns if I could. I don’t have a gun. I don’t know anybody with a gun. And I like that when I walk around my city, I don’t see anyone except trained professionals carrying a gun. But I am actually a pretty moderate Democrat and believe that the way to enact change is not with an all or nothing approach.
I want what most Americans want. Less guns, more rules. The same laws that have already proven effective in other countries, where mass shootings at elementary schools is NOT A THING.
Only in America were parents scared sending their kids to school today. And if you thought explaining to them what happened in Texas yesterday was hard, how are you going to explain to them, as the years pass and more school shootings occur, why nothing changes?
Remember when I mentioned Mazzy participating in the National School Walkout back in 2018? I had to look up what shooting even happened that year that prompted our kids to protest, because there are too many school shootings at this point to keep them all straight in my head.
For instance, did you know that so far in 2022, there have been 27 school shootings? THAT IS JUST THIS YEAR, and it’s not even halfway over.
My heart goes out to all the families in Uvalde whose children didn’t come home from school yesterday. I’m sorry this country failed you in the worst way imaginable. This is not the work of one madman. It is a epidemic that has been going unchecked for over two decades due to many madmen. Madmen that exist in the highest ranks of our government. I’m sorry that even the people in power who want things to change can’t figure out how to do it.
Please feel free to express your anger in the comments.
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