Momservation: Every day I send my kids to school, assuring them that their school is safe. And then I pray that God doesn’t make a liar and a fool out of me for sending them.
The irony is sickening.
On the national holiday celebrating love, our country marks its 18th school shooting by the 14th of February.
It was another massacre.
The word has become as American as apple pie.
The scenes of panic and bloodshed among automatic shell casings has become our national pastime.
This land of opportunity, freedom and equality bleeds red because we are nation that values gun ownership above all else (Mass Shootings in America are a Serious Problem and These 9 Charts Show Just Why).
The cost? Our children.
The other sick irony? The thing Americans run out to buy to “protect” themselves is the very thing that has created a climate of fear that now makes us have Lockdown Drills along with Fire Drills at our schools (The Myth of a Good Guy With a Gun).
It’s what makes us scan for exits at movie theaters.
It’s what makes us sit in the back pews at church to be near the quickest escape.
It’s what makes us have metal detectors at concerts and other venues that offer some deranged individual with a gun a promise of a high body count.
It is a sad fact, a uniquely American problem, that we cannot separate our citizens from their guns and ammo (Guns in the US: The statistics Behind the Violence). It is a problem with a solution as simple as looking to any other country that is not averaging a school shooting a week since 2013. (This shocking statistic was eerily published a week ago: 291 School Shootings In American Since 2013.)
A friend once advised me, when I worried about adding my voice to polarizing debates such as gun control, that maybe I don’t. Not on Momservations.com anyway, because my followers don’t read my column to get into a political discussion. They stop by Momservations for laughter and commiseration on the joys and challenges of raising a family.
But this latest massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida is a parent’s worst nightmare. No parent should have to be legitimately frightened to send their kids to school. Mass shootings have become an epidemic as deserving of national intervention and immediate action as the current Opioid Crisis and Polio vaccines in the 1950’s.
How does gun violence being the 3rd leading cause of death for children not force people to literally, put their guns down and quit hiding behind the Second Amendment? (Kids and Guns: Shootings Now the Third Leading Cause of Death for U.S. Children)
My mother’s heart aches because every person who has ever lost their life to gun violence has been someone’s child. Someone is weeping and wailing and trying to figure out how to breathe again and move around again and find something, anything to fill that void in their heart while living in a society that wears T-shirts in the face of their lifetime of heartache and despair that says, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
And, sadly, Americans will quickly return to their regularly scheduled program of the 24-hour news cycle (breeding our next deranged killer hungry for infamy) showing shell-shocked, grieving parents saying, “I never thought it could happen here. I never thought it could happen to my child.”
And that’s what’s scary and tragic and horrifying about the increasing frequency of these American massacres (If You Think Mass Shootings are Becoming More Frequent, and Worse — You’re Right ). And why a blog about raising kids is the exactly the place where I am going to stand up and shout my simmering anger at a government that won’t protect its children.
Because at this alarming rate, it is only a matter of time before this horror and heartache lands on our own doorsteps.
I have devastatingly witnessed my children’s faces freeze in fear and look to me for help because of the sound of fireworks outside a movie theater.
I have sadly taught my kids how to search for the nearest exit and how to stay low to the ground in a crowd situation.
I’ve had to assure them far too many times that it is safe for them to go to school, that it won’t happen at their school—and I pray to God that He won’t make me a liar and a fool to have sent them.
And as my heart bled (AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN!) for someone’s babies being shot down in a place once synonymous with off-limits, in the place where we supply our children with the tools to achieve the American Dream, I received this sad message of the times from my children’s school:
“This is Vice Principal Rob Kerr. In consideration of today’s incident in Florida, Rio will be postponing the Lockdown Drill scheduled for tomorrow.”
God Bless America.
#SaveOurChildren #EnoughIsEnough #GunReformNow #Everytown