“In the five years since the shooting, which transformed a fairly anonymous Connecticut town into a buzzword in the caustic national debate on gun violence, armed men have killed people at a nightclub, an outdoor music festival, a social services center, movie theaters, a church in South Carolina and a church in Texas.
The displays of grief follow a familiar routine: Candlelight vigils and makeshift memorials. National offerings of thoughts and prayers. Pleas to tighten gun laws, immediately trailed by calls to avoid politicizing a tragedy” (Rojas and Kristin Hussey).
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.