“Don’t listen to anyone who says “Nothing happened after #SandyHook”– WE happened! #GunSense”
As we come upon the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, I find it unfathomable that America is still in a stalled response. In my most right-wing-NRA-toting nightmare I would never have believed that December 14, 2012 would not have been enough for Americans to demand the changes needed to halt our present school shooting epidemic.
As of 2013 there have been approximately 162 school shootings in America. School shootings. Yes, I am only discussing shootings in schools. The place where children go to learn about rivers and stars and algebra and Huck Finn. Where they and their friends eat mac and cheese in a noisy cafeteria, and still stick gum under their desks while being asked to imagine making the world a better place. Where they are encouraged to dream and explore and fail. Yes, dream and explore and even fail because it takes all three to learn sometimes. But as of late, schools are also a place where we are, “frightening our young people by planning for intentional acts of harm,” (Schlozman). A place where we practice lock-downs. Schools are now targets.
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.
Remember where you were on December 14th 2012? Recall the grief you felt hearing that Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown Connecticut had been violently targeted by a single shooter? I can. The emotion is as overpowering and unwanted as a raging arson fire. Within seconds after the shooting we were flooded through every possible media with heartbreaking images, leaving us all to retreat into a place beyond words. December 14th is not a day we want to remember, but I will, for not only were innocent children and their brave educators gunned down that day, but something in all of us shattered.
This morning the radio clicked on at 6:00 am, and as my spouse and I usually do after hearing the morning headlines, we both reached for our iPhones to check emails, texts, Facebook statuses and Twitter feeds. Yes, we like a broad picture of the wide world beyond our valley vista before feet hit the solid ground. What stayed with me was an emotional Facebook status posted by a strong and smart young mother: “Sometimes I lay awake at night and I think about that guy shooting all of those innocent babies in an elementary school…….and there is not a damn thing anyone can do about it, then, now, or ever.” As I laced up to head out for a morning run I wondered how many other mothers feel the same today, in mid-July…feel that crippling powerlessness parents all over our country feel every time they wave goodbye and watch the yellow school bus pull away with their child…