The answer is they are all things my school-age kids (and yours too) will participate in as “the norm” in school.
My little one will pick pumpkins at a local farm next week. She’s currently learning to trace the letters in her name, and she’s meeting local police and firefighters in our community this week. She’s four.
My older daughter will attend many school dances. She’ll join the debate team and eat stale pizza in the cafeteria. She’s eleven.
Both girls will also learn how to duck under their desks; follow their teachers to a safe spot or cram every body possible into a makeshift supply closet or restroom. And they will learn – God forbid – to play dead so the shooter will pass by their classroom.
Like you, I am heartbroken to hear of the latest school shooting. And hopefully like you, I am utterly disgusted that there is still no real, meaningful discussion and action to combat the stealth tactics of the highly influential gun lobby. Our priorities in this country are completely backwards. Don’t believe me? Just look at all the wasted time, money and energy spent on trying to overturn gay marriage. Shameful. Or how about Hillary’s email server? Or about Trump’s hair? Or for the love of all that is holy THE FREAKING KARDASHIANS? Perhaps if the Kardashians had an active shooter at their compound or wherever they graze, maybe then the conversation would start heating up.
I remember clearly the 2011 Active Shooter Drill at the community college campus in upstate New York, where I worked. We all knew it was coming. We all knew what we were supposed to do. But certain members of the campus community were pulled aside in advance – unbeknownst to everyone – and told to scream in the hallways, yell, pretend to be dead. Some were given professional makeovers to look like gun-shot victims. We heard shots. They sounded real.
It became painfully obvious to us all that certain “hiding spots” were woefully inadequate. I was to hide in our Marketing Director’s Office, which locked – but only from the outside and with a key. It also had a glass panel along the side of the door. Easy access for a shooter.
Our secretary was basically in a fish bowl, surrounded by glass and windows.
Some doors locked. Others didn’t. Some needed a key to lock. Some only locked from the outside. Too many details and not enough time when you’re under attack.
I’ll be honest, even though it was a simulation? It was still scary because we all knew that this was our new reality.
And of course, we all know what happened at the Oregon community college recently. One professor penned this fantastic letter. She is a writing professor, so of course it’s brilliant, but more than being a brilliant writer, this woman all out nails it.
Lawmakers are too scared to stand up to the gun lobby. I wonder if they realize their trepidation is nothing compared to the fear felt by kids and their parents when a gunman comes to their campus or their elementary school? School shootings have become the norm. THE NORM.
The answer is not more guns.
The answer is also not to take guns away from law-abiding citizens – I am not anti-gun.
I am anti-gun lobby. I am absolutely anti-NRA. And I am “anti-arrogant lawmakers who can’t see past their own money-lined wallets that the safety of our children is being compromised by their willful inaction.”
So what’s the answer? The answer is better regulation. Tighter security. And for goodness sake, the answer is to retro-fit classroom doors if they’re not already equipped to be locked from the inside. This is a simple fix.
An excerpt of the professor’s letter and the direct link to it:
“I could tell (my students) that your thoughts and prayers are with us. I could tell them we have your deepest sympathies. But I am teaching a class on argument, instructing my students on the importance of facts. So instead I will tell them the truth: They have to be prepared to hide out of the line of fire, and to fight for our survival, because you, our lawmakers, haven’t done your jobs. I will tell them that their rights, my rights, the rights of my 5-year-old, to attend school without fear of facing senseless slaughter by machine-gun fire, are not important to you, that we must be prepared to fight tooth and nail, stapler and whiteboard marker, because you refuse to fight the gun lobby in this country.“