I can’t pretend to have answers. But I also can’t pretend I’m not angry that our nation is still stalemated about how to respond to the massacre of 20 innocent children and their teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School two years ago in Newtown Connecticut. Looking back on that tragedy, I wonder how this lack of legislative movement for gun control is even possible. Not only have there been no advancements, but since December 14th, 20012, there have been close to 100 more school shootings. Yes, school shootings. As a teacher who enters a high school building every day, who “practices” federally mandated lock-downs, I can’t pretend not to be terrified, both for the need for this practice and for what seems to be looming, eventually, for too many more innocent children.
Most Americans are in agreement, “Gun control is a good idea. The assault-weapons ban is a good idea. So are background checks, stricter licensing agreements, and greater efforts to keep guns out of the hands of minors. A prohibitive tax on ammunition? There’s another good idea finally getting attention it deserves, after being suggested by comedian Chris Rock a decade ago”(Smith, Atlantic). In public or in private we all admit something has to shift. Something has to change. Yet, we as a society are spinning our wheels and growing numb by the minute, while our children huddle on their classroom floors waiting for a violent intruder. Lockdowns are now routine practice for our precious 5 year olds to high schoolers. Beyond our classroom door we hear the shuffle of feet and muffled voices, and in the blackened room some student inevitably asks, “Is it for real this time?”
I am not political, in the sense that I attend rallies or drum up votes, but I do support those who are all doing whatever they can to halt the murder of our children. These three groups fill that criteria:
Among the many ways to honor those killed on December 14th, there is this simple proposal for the Sandy Hook anniversary, Guns Down Day. They propose it be the one day we lay our guns down. The day when guns aren’t used for entertainment. The day for guns to stay in their locked cabinet. The day we imagine the end of gun violence. Why? Because our children are depending on us.
On this 2nd anniversary, I urge you to start the conversation about guns, at your dinner table, your work place, your church or synagogue or mosque, at your gym or at your daycare. Join these dedicated organizations who are seeking a way out of our NRA driven gun craze to find sane and responsible gun legislation. We will truly honor the innocent if we take the pledge and face this challenge together.